Morning Call: the pick of the papers

The ten must-read comment pieces from this morning's papers.

Michael Gove has made a cruel mess of exam grades. Discuss (Observer)

Andrew Rawnsley argues that the Education Secretary has chosen the wrong way to tackle grade inflation

The bloody truth about Syria's uncivil war (Independent on Sunday)

Robert Fisk assesses the tactics of Syria's rebel forces

The Tories can still wring victory from the coalition (Sunday Telegraph)

Matthew D'Ancona says that reform of party funding could win Lib Dem support for boundary changes 

The privilege of engaging with clever and combative Tony Nicklinson (Observer)

Elizabeth Day writes that the right-to-die campaigner should be honoured by legalising euthanasia

Forget Dave and George. The real story is the two Eds (Independent on Sunday)

John Rentoul argues that divisions in the Labour leadership run deeper than those in the Conservative Party

With every hour that passes, we need the EU less and less (Sunday Telegraph)

According to Daniel Hannan, the public have already given up on the EU project

Breivik was narcissistic and racist... but sane (Independent on Sunday)

Paul Vallely writes that the Norwegian mass murderer was a product of society

Let's party with the politicos (Observer)

Victoria Coren analyses the guest list for 10 Downing Street

Whether you're a politician or a comedian, rape is a seriously unfunny business (Sunday Telegraph)

Jenny McCartney warns of a growing tendency to make light of rape

Parade's End and Wolf Hall show that the page is still the life and soul of the screen (Sunday Telegraph)

Alex Massie explores the novel's continuing importance to scriptwriters

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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.