There is an article in this week's Independent on Sunday which focuses on potential spending cuts and discusses what the Tories and Labour might do.
Here is the section on Defence:
DEFENCETrident has emerged as an obvious candidate for Labour cuts in the present circumstances, but downgrading the nuclear deterrent before an election is politically unpalatable. More likely is an attempt to shave the £76bn bill through amendments to the number and design of submarines, reducing the £4bn-plus aircraft carriers programme and freezing the order for 88 Eurofighters. The Tories have committed themselves to Trident, and have assured the defence community that they would improve equipment and maintain the size of the forces.Verdict Defence is unlikely to escape huge Whitehall cuts, but no leader will be brave enough to include reductions in their manifesto. A review of Trident and the shape of the forces will have to wait until after the election.
So it would appear that it is well know within political circles that defence spending will be cut after the next election but that this is unlikely to appear in the manifestos of either of the two main parties. How the hell are the public supposed to make up their minds about who to vote for if the two biggest parties haven't even got the courage to be honest about what they are planning in an important area of spending like this? If either of these two parties win the next election how can they claim to have a mandate for cuts if they won't tell us in advance where they plan them?
The worst thing is that this coverage just states that they are unlikely to put it in their manifestos. No analysis of how anti-democratic this is or how this undermines any subsequent mandate. It's just accepted that they will not be honest about it.
It is also worth noting that although the Lib Dems aren't mentioned at all in that article, we have already said that we think Trident cannot be afforded. At least we are being honest in this area.