I'm not sure which approach I prefer from our public bodies. You have the special pleading which generally runs along the lines of 'cut *their library* not ours', which is something you'll always come across when you're part of a movement to defend public services. However, often official bodies have to come up with their own unique relationship with the government.
Take education. Ofsted this week helpfully told the government that most of the special needs teaching going on is completely unnecessary. How convenient. How craven. They might as well have said if you're going to cut the education budget take out on the thickos and the poor first.
Of course, their actual line was that you wouldn't need as much special needs provision if the quality of the education system as a whole was better. Seeing as that isn't on the cards though the effect of their position will be that cuts are directed towards the most vulnerable, the most in need of specialist provision.
The police though have taken a different line. One of the country's top police officers, Derek Barnett, has told the government that, because their policies will cause massive unrest it would be foolhardy to cut the police budget just when they are about to need a wall of shields and truncheons to protect them.
He may have a point. When Thatcher came to power in '79 she was very careful to make sure the police were happy and well equipped. After all she knew she was going to be calling on them to fight her political battles for her. It's only after she'd finished with her little wars that she finally started to stop featherbedding the cops, much to their horror. Perhaps Clegg and Cameron need to think about how much they'll need the police in the coming years before they cut the budget.
Just to prove the point, a planned trade union demonstration outside the Lib Dem conference has been banned. See Clegg, the boys in blue have saved you from hearing any nasty people who disagree with you. How damn liberal of them - I wonder how many of the civil liberties Lib Dems will be kicking up a stink about this at conference?
At the end of the day we're being given a whole load of unacceptable choices, perhaps it might be all to the good if the thin blue line was a little bit thinner in the years ahead. It might make the fight for a saner economic policy a little bit less painful.