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Jesse Ventura | Top 10 actors turned politician

Former wrestler and Governor of Minnesota.

Jesse Ventura, born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was briefly a bodyguard for The Rolling Stones before making his debut as a potential wrestler under the name Jesse "The Body" Ventura in 1975. During his pro-wrestling career, he competed for several world titles, and stated that his motto was "Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat!".

His wrestling career came to an end in 1981 due to blood clots in his lungs that he claims were the result of exposure to Agent Orange during his military service in Vietnam. He then went on to become a wrestling commentator for various networks before running for mayor in Brooklyn Park Minnesota in 1990. He defeated the 18 year incumbent and served from 1991 to 1995.

In 1998, he ran for Governor of Minnesota as a Reform Party and later Independent candidate. He narrowly defeated the Democratic and Republican candidates and served as Governor until 2003, when he declined to seek a second term, citing media intrusion on his family's privacy. His tenure was marked by a large number of gubernatorial vetoes, as he did not have a party base in the state legislature, which made it difficult for him to introduce his own bills.

Since his governorship, he has hosted his own television show on MSNBC, but remained active on the stage, publically endorsing John Kerry for President in 2004 and speaking at a 2008 rally for Republican candidate Ron Paul, where he hinted at a possible Presdiential bid in 2012.

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Caroline Crampton is web editor of the New Statesman.

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Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.