A few days ago I received a leaflet from my (Labour) local authority inviting views on how "high quality services" can be "delivered differently" in the "tough economic climate", a fairly obvious euphemism for "what should we cut?".
At first glance such open consultations seem all very laudable, but I think there may be more than a touch of cynicism at play here. Many responses will surely come from people urging that everything that doesn't particularly matter to them personally should be slashed, and therefore as a result of the consultation the council will conveniently be able to claim a measure of public support for just about anything they might decide to cut. Rather than seeking political cover in this way, a more meaningful consultation would have been to invite people to defend the services and funding that actually is important to them. The strength of feeling identified could then have informed the councillors as they do what they're actually paid to, ie. make the tough choices themselves and then take the rap for them.