A nice modest 8% cut in defence spending. Is this a dangerous blow, or not half enough? Two highlights: the decision to buy a new submarine nuclear missile system is put off for 5 years, so it is the problem of the next government. Interestingly there were conservatives today saying the thing should jolly well be bought now, even though effectively nothing much was going to happen for 5 years anyway. By contrast, other conservatives have been moaning at labour for having bought two aircraft carriers which will not be built for 5 years or so but which apparently will have to be paid for irrespective of whether we chose to actually build them or not. So construction will continue. meanwhile however, one aircraft carrier currently in service will be scrapped now rather than in 5 years as planned. Its aircraft will also be scrapped, despite another 15 years service life or so, so when the new carrier arrives it will not have any aircraft. It has been suggested that if there is a war, we might borrow some. Meanwhile the number of small ships is to be cut. Carriers do not float about by themselves. They have to have escort ships. Will there be any? It looks very much like the carrier is utterly useless and will be for sale in 5 years time. The whole thing is probably complicated by the question of shipyards. The tiny rump of the british shipbuilding industry runs on defence contracts. So it may be this decision to build any ships had something to do with that. Meanwhile the magic number is 1/3. 1/3 less, that is, available ships, troops, planes for deployment on the next gung-ho jolly abroad. Pain for the army is deferred for 5 years until the anticipated finish of their current slightly more intimate pain of being shot at abroad. Oh, and the great helicopter shortage saga takes another turn as the extra helicopters which had finally been agreed for the army after 5 years dithering are once more cut. It has been suggested that the reason we had defence cut announcements today and cuts in child benefit for the rich just recently is because the government wished to choose its battle grounds. First be seen to be making cuts which affect its traditional supporters. Tomorrow we await the bloodbath for everyone else. Oh and im no good at typing, which explains the odd title.