Thinker's Corner

Democratising England by David Marquand and John Tomaney (Regional Policy Forum, PO Box 3380, London SW1P 4WJ, £10) argues for regional devolution in England. The authors focus on the "English Question": the injustice of Scottish and Welsh MPs voting on English issues while devolution has excluded English MPs from voting on Scottish and Welsh issues. They argue that the present centralised policy is often ill-suited to diverse regional conditions. It would be more efficient, economically as well as politically, to devolve power to a level where decisions can be tailored to regional needs.

Marquand and Tomaney offer some compelling arguments in support of regional government, but it is difficult to see why they take the "English Question" as their starting point when, by their own admission, the English are not bothered by (or even aware of) the issue. The case made here is for economic and political efficiency, and it has little to do with an attempt to "rebalance" the constitution.

Peoplism: enterprise learning by Matthew Horne (Demos, The Mezzanine, Elizabeth House, 39 York Road, London SE1 7NQ, £10) looks at the new economy and the increasing "fluidity" of the skills needed to thrive within it. Horne examines the concept of "Peoplism" where "individuals own and carry round with them the most important factor of production: brainpower".

Horne provides practical advice on how the government could help to shape this brainpower into a flexible tool. He advocates an approach that will equip individuals with the "entrepreneurial spirit" needed to survive in an increasingly unpredictable workplace. "Enterprise learning" is about how you learn, not what you learn.

This pamphlet offers an interesting, "Americanised" approach to education, but Horne's system is so preoccupied with the style of teaching that it is in danger of neglecting the basics.