The pace of politics is quickening in the run up to the vitally important Comprehensive Spending Review. This week we have the TUC Congress and this will be followed by the Liberal Democrats, suddenly a more significant event on the political calendar.
On the radio this morning one public sector trade union leader said that not one public sector job should go. This shows a complete disconnect with reality. Even under a Labour Government there would have been public sector job cuts.
According to the June budget, we are already spending £44 billion on debt interest. This is more than we spend on defence (£40bn) or public order (£35bn). It represents a substantial opportunity cost. If the deficit was not cut, interest rates would go up, the UK's credit rating would decline and we would be spending even more on interest.
The BBC's Nick Robinson made a journey down the A1 last week in which he talked to members of the public about spending cuts. People found it far easier to say what they wouldn't cut than what they would. Overseas aid was mentioned, but this is a small proportion of the total budget.
Another popular candidate was 'welfare' and this is certainly a big ticket item. Child benefit may be stopped at 16 and the age at which people become eligible for the winter fuel allowance may be raised. In this way some dent may be made in the £194bn spent on 'social protection'.