THE zones have been held up as the Third Way in practice. They show "the Government believes that there is a third way in public services" and it can be developed "not in a dogmatic way, but in a practical way", says Stephen Byers, the School Standards Minister. Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, has told us: "The Third Way starts from the premise that progress in society cannot and should not be the sole responsibility of governments." This is an unremarkable statement: debate tends to be around how much responsibility rests with government. Still, it is a hint that the Third Way means a bigger role for the private sector.
The right-wing Institute of Economic Affairs has hailed the zones as a revolution. "The stark fact," says director Dr James Tooley, "is the Government has accepted that there is no matter of principle that government should be delivering education."