Ed Miliband receives big boost from Neil Kinnock

Former leader says younger brother has best qualities

When I wrote in the New Statesman in 2008 that Ed Miliband would "come to be regarded as Brown's natural successor", I didn't envisage such a heavyweight endorsement as the one that has come today.

The younger Miliband has received a big boost with these words from the much-loved former Labour leader Neil Kinnock, writing in the Observer:

Ed [Miliband], I think, is very bright, including politically bright. He is hugely energetic. He is fluent. He has got the capacity to inspire people, which we need. And that marks him out as a special kind of young potential leader.

I am certain that he is a modern democratic socialist because he has got strong values and he is very practical. His attitude is that it is no good wandering around with convictions unless you want to put them into practice, and that really is his motivation. And vitally, absolutely vitally, he is comfortable among people of every kind, young and old, men and women, inside and outside the movement.

We really do need a leader who can reach out for the rebuilding of the Labour Party, but particularly to give coherence to our thinking.

 

 

James Macintyre is political correspondent for the New Statesman.
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The big problem for the NHS? Local government cuts

Even a U-Turn on planned cuts to the service itself will still leave the NHS under heavy pressure. 

38Degrees has uncovered a series of grisly plans for the NHS over the coming years. Among the highlights: severe cuts to frontline services at the Midland Metropolitan Hospital, including but limited to the closure of its Accident and Emergency department. Elsewhere, one of three hospitals in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are to be shuttered, while there will be cuts to acute services in Suffolk and North East Essex.

These cuts come despite an additional £8bn annual cash injection into the NHS, characterised as the bare minimum needed by Simon Stevens, the head of NHS England.

The cuts are outlined in draft sustainability and transformation plans (STP) that will be approved in October before kicking off a period of wider consultation.

The problem for the NHS is twofold: although its funding remains ringfenced, healthcare inflation means that in reality, the health service requires above-inflation increases to stand still. But the second, bigger problem aren’t cuts to the NHS but to the rest of government spending, particularly local government cuts.

That has seen more pressure on hospital beds as outpatients who require further non-emergency care have nowhere to go, increasing lifestyle problems as cash-strapped councils either close or increase prices at subsidised local authority gyms, build on green space to make the best out of Britain’s booming property market, and cut other corners to manage the growing backlog of devolved cuts.

All of which means even a bigger supply of cash for the NHS than the £8bn promised at the last election – even the bonanza pledged by Vote Leave in the referendum, in fact – will still find itself disappearing down the cracks left by cuts elsewhere. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.