Mercury opinion: Army cuts are sad but inevitable
Many of us will not much like the Government's plans to further cut the Army. For a nation with such a proud military history, it is a bitter pill to swallow.
However, we have to ask the simple question, what is the alternative?
The UK – as we are all only too aware – is up to its eyes in debt.
In fact, we spend more on interest payments on that debt than we do on the entire defence budget.
The big three areas of Government spending are welfare, health and education.
However, they are very difficult to cut without causing widespread public outrage and the possibility of significant harm.
That means that major savings have to be found from the smaller areas of the budget – and one of these is defence.
The total defence budget is around £40 billion, with spending on the Army accounting for some £7.3 billion.
Even now – after many decades of cutbacks – that is still a significant amount.
It is certainly a great deal more than the vast majority of countries spend.
There are good reasons for that. We are a key member of Nato, for instance, and we have, often controversially, tended to punch above our weight in terms of getting involved in international crises.
But even after these cuts, we will still retain a robust Army which numbers 82,000 troops, with the number of reservists doubling to 30,000.
We will still be able to send troops to trouble-spots swiftly and effectively.
We will not, however, be able to maintain long tours of duty, which is probably, given recent history, a good thing.
The reality is that the country has to rein in public spending or it will go the way of Greece. And that means making some hard choices.
It is simply no longer possible to have a large standing Army, as well as the NHS, schools, pensions and all the rest.
The Government's plan is not the death knell of the Army and its long and proud history – as some commentators will claim.
But tough times mean things have to change.