A wide-ranging scrutiny committee report into £140 million-worth of Birmingham regeneration projects is couched in the reasoned terms necessary to obtain crossparty support.
Even so, the committee pulls no punches in confirming what has been suspected for some time: pouring money into inner city wards does not by itself improve people's life chances.
In the vital challenge to drive up academic achievement and training among school-leavers the results of the Aston Pride, Kings Norton and SRB6 North-west Birmingham regeneration schemes have been patchy to say the least. There is no evidence so far to indicate any significant improvement in the performance of the most atrisk groups, particularly Afro-Caribbean boys and white boys.
Nor is there evidence to suggest any real attempt to target resources on the most disadvantaged schools and communities. A scattergun approach seems to be preferred instead, presumably on the assumption that by throwing a large amount of money around some of it must make a difference to someone.
It was left yesterday to Councillor Jon Hunt, who chaired the inquiry, to give a flavour of what the report hinted at but never quite got around to saying.
Describing the regeneration boards as "glorified parish councils" spending most of their money on easy-to-deliver environmental improvement schemes, Coun Hunt went on to warn that no attempt was being made to deal with the issues of young people lacking the skills necessary to obtain employment in the modern market place.
The figures, to quote Coun Hunt, are stark. Out of 40 Afro-Caribbean boys in Aston, only one managed to obtain a single A-level or equivalent. The performance by white boys in the SRB6 zone was equally poor.
The scrutiny report will confirm the perception among Birmingham's most disadvantaged communities that regeneration funding is making little discernable difference at the sharp end. As the report puts it, money is being spent but people cannot see what has changed as a result.
On top of that, the procedures necessary to obtain funding are viewed as unclear, inflexible and bureaucratic by the very groups that might benefit from regeneration cash if only they knew how to tap into the system.
The conclusion has to be that the high-profile regeneration schemes favoured by the Government may be good at delivering new park benches or cleaning the pavements, but they are failing to tackle the far bigger issues of economic and social deprivation.
As I was saying
Some politicians love to complain about tough interviewers such as Jeremy Paxman or John Humphrys.
They don't seem to appreciate that being challenged on their answers is what makes an interview different to a party political broadcast.
But even some journalistic colleagues have wondered at times whether Mr Paxman doesn't sometimes go over the top.
Probing questions and bad manners do not have to go together.
Now a local MP has complained that the Paxman style is becoming fashionable on the doorstep.
Caroline Spelman, MP for Meriden, was surprised at the level of hostility and rudeness she encountered during the General Election campaign.
It may be that politicians are held in lower esteem than ever before.
But then again, John Major hardly commanded the respect of the nation, even if he seemed to be pleasant enough.
Perhaps the difference was that the Tories were falling out of favour just as Labour was getting its act together.
Voters - even many traditional Conservative supporters - felt there was at least one party they could place their hopes in.
But the country has now fallen out of love with Tony Blair - with little in the way of a credible alternative.
This may have encouraged a level of cynicism about politics in general.
And, as Mrs Spelman points out, both the major parties took up the cry of "weapons of mass destruction" in the run up to the Iraq war, only for surveys to conclude those weapons never actually existed.
But there could be another factor as well. Perhaps we, as a country, have simply become ruder.
It seems strange, but eight years of nominally socialist government seems to have produced a nation more atomised and lacking in concern for one's fellow man than ever before.
The gowns are off
The sight of junior barristers across the country laying down their wigs and gowns in a dispute over a pay claim is surreal. It must be the most unlikely work-to-rule in the history of industrial relations.
Neither side is likely to attract much public sympathy. Certainly not the Government, which has promoted an eight-year freeze of legal aid rates in criminal trials.
As for M'learned friends, is there really such a thing as a poor barrister?