Today the Cornish branch of the Westminster Liberal Democrats have published their (as Rob Simmons puts it) economic back of a fag packet proposal for a zero rise alternative budget for Cornwall Council.
The coalition partners are falling over themseles to be the party of low taxation during these 'taxing' times - fiddling while Rome burns and Westminster makes massive cuts to local council budgets. Cuts which pass the responsibility and, therefore, blame to hapless local authorities.
Cornwall Council is caught between a rock and a hard place.
On one hand it has less money year on year. This situation is partly of its own making as it has previously accepted 'Pickles' Bribes' in the last few years in return for not increasing their tax base. The effect of which is that it becomes harder and harder to catch up to where we were before.
On the other hand it is expected to provide services, the cost of which increases year on year - due to inflation if nothing else.
Then again the Council can't just increase its tax base because Mr Pickles has already thought of this and made sure that a referendum would be required - and who in their right mind would vote to pay more money right?
So we have the London based parties all trying to square the circle and make the most noise about how each of them is going to save the most money by tinkering around the edges of public finance.
Isn't it time to look at this another way?
We need to do something or face an end to providing services for local communities and the vulnerable people in those societies.
Mebyon Kernow believes that a local income tax would be a more progressive way to finance local services. Better still this could be coupled with a property tax where the property owners aren't paying local income tax in Cornwall. We need to come up with a new way to finance local services and to make sure that the burdens fall on the paople most able to pay.
Alternatively, if the people of Cornwall really don't want a fair and just society, then the people in charge of administering our local services should have the guts to put this to us. Instead of running scared from a local referendum, why not embrace it? Give the people a real and difficult choice. Hold a referendum where the full facts are put before us. Then we could choose if we wanted to pay more in council tax or decide where the Westminster axe should fall. Have three or four options. Do we really care about libraries - or are they simply an anachronistic expense that we could do without. Do we want our roads repaired or should we put up with a few pot holes in order to save our council tax payments.
In short, I believe that it is high time that the long term harm that current central government policies are causing was made absolutely clear instead of pretending that really it's all down to how bad our political opponents (or the poeple further down the food chain) are managing our money.
Worse still is the fact that we are all guilty of complaining about poor service and, at the same time demanding tax cuts. Though Tories would have us believe otheriwse it simply isn't possible to fund a fair and just society on a shoestring budget.
The question is - how much longer will the, seemingly successful and socially acceptable, tactic of appealing to our personal greed prevail against taking responsibility for providing for our children's future and taking care of the sick, the edlerly and those in most need.