Thinker's Corner

British Constitutional Revolution: challenges for the English regions (Centre for Reform, Dean Bradley House, 52 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 2AF, 0171-222 5121, £5). The Lib Dem peer Dick Newby offers his solution to the West Lothian question. Devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the election of a London mayor will leave the English regions disadvantaged at Westminister and within the EU. However, the establishment of an English Parliament as a counter-force will damage the fabric of the UK if it creates a situation where the "English first minister jostles for power with the UK PM". Newby presents the economic and political arguments for "harnessing the English regions to save the UK" and views Regional Development Agencies as the first step towards the establishment of regional government with powers similar to the Welsh Assembly. This is a well-considered contribution to the debate over the UK's changing constitution.

Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night . . . Say no to the euro (Labour Euro-Safeguards Committee, 72 Albert Street, London NW1 7NR, 0171-388 2259, £1). Richard Heffer's critique of the euro is a disappointment. It is intended as a rallying call for Labour resistance to EMU, and this influences its style. Entering the euro is equated with admitting a relative into an old people's home and unilateral nuclear disarmament. It will commit the government to eliminating "everything that makes our economy different from those of the rest of the EU . . . the coverage of our taxes, our healthcare system, pensions, welfare and social security". This pamphlet does contain some important points about the difficulties with the construction of the euro. There is nothing here, however, that has not been said before. Whether Britain likes it or not, the euro will go ahead on 1 January 1999. What we need is constructive debate, not emotional posturing.

This article first appeared in the 18 December 1998 issue of the New Statesman, A time for unadulterated tradition