It all comes down to money.
El Gordo has his Plans for the vast sums He will squeeze from the taxpayer. The Military seems Low on His list of priorities.
It does seem he is starting to get the Army out of Blairs Iraq Adventure, however this still leaves him with what seems to be a Very Long Term War in Ganistan.
Peace time armies are exspensive, Wartime and the cost goes through the roof.
So unless Gordo readjusts his Planned expendature and cuts out his beloved Africa I am afraid that Tom will just Bleed, Break and Die
The tried, tested and failed approach of the past will continue. Slippages and reductions in numbers will be used year on year to make the books balance. We shall have more major reviews from time to time to reflect the new strategic reality. Our European allies will be following a similar path towards having no useful military capability - indeed many are a long way down this path already. It may be that this is the chosen route for the UK.
Basically saying that having any real military capacity, that isn't just for show, requires military spending being a top priority in itself. Anything less than that and the armed forces will continually decline. Currently hard to see politicians/parties supporting defence spending as one of the top priorities.
So basically, adequate defence spending requires a government that makes it a top priority. Hard to see that happening unless a political party makes a strong case for it.
The Tories have started to bang on a bit about social cohesion (20 years late but better late than never) they could make a case for the armed forces being a good tool for that, especially when you include cadets and TA. Also voters like the idea of doing good in the world and there's nothing quite as good for engendering a bit of pride and cohesion as your armed forces efficiently duffing up some baddies somewhere.
So I dunno. I think that could be a good plank of Tory policy that might drag the debate over forces spending to somewhere closer to where it needs to be. Otherwise we'll end up as another euro-****** country that relies on the US for everything.