There has been a bit of a spat between critics of the ‘cuts’ and supporters of ‘savings’ being made in public services. But the focus on the language used is perhaps a distraction for those who lack a political alternative. But what of the substance? The Centre for Social Justice argue that the cuts have proceeded on the basis of ‘hunches’ rather than a considered view of where efficiencies can be made. (The use of PFI is reportedly on the increase.) Too many public services are failing to ‘tackle real problems and improve people’s lives’ say CSJ. Instead, there continues to be a focus on ‘crude outputs’ over outcomes. But its not just cuts to spending that the public sector is faced with, there is also a campaign to cut carbon emissions by a quarter over the next five years. What is missing in all of this is an alternative. Even the likes of Ed Balls who used a mildly critical report from OECD on the government’s economic policy isn’t opposed to the cuts in principle. While he objects to the coalition’s decision to ‘stick with deep and fast cuts and refuse to even consider a plan B’, the opposition don’t really have a plan B themselves. They just want the cuts to be a little shallower and to take a little longer to implement. Its severe pain now, or long drawn out but not quite so bad pain under Labour. Which would you prefer? Despite this Ed Miliband had the audacity to campaign in the local elections as the ‘community’s first line of defence’ against the cuts! Of course, the Liberal Democrats came out the worst in those elections, and wasted no time in blaming their poor showing on the cuts. Clegg even outdid Miliband in bare-faced cheek distancing himself from Cameron’s Tories and its cut-happy supporters who ‘demand it and like it‘.