Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. We know a lot about Labour policy already (Independent)

The ideas Balls and Miliband have brought to this conference are distinctive, potentially vote-winning and far more important than their own personalities, says Steve Richards.

2. Romney must prove he is no John Kerry (Financial Times)

The Republican should lay out bold policies in this week’s debate, writes Stanley Greenberg.

3. Miliband and Balls do have a plan, but they needn't reveal all yet (Guardian)

There is no way to duck all cuts, nor is it wise to decide too much ahead of the election, writes Polly Toynbee. The two Eds will not be bullied into it.

4. Miliband needs to give Labour a shock (Financial Times)

Nothing threatens the party more than the perception that it cannot take tough decisions, writes Janan Ganesh.

5. First Labour must shake off its defeat-deniers (Times) (£)

Ed Miliband’s party will not prosper until it stops blaming the voters and accepts why it was rejected in 2010, argues Rachel Sylvester.

6. A rightwing insurrection is usurping our democracy (Guardian)

For 30 years big business, neoliberal thinktanks and the media have colluded to capture our political system, says George Monbiot. They're winning.

7. We are constantly told how clever Ed Balls is, so why can't he give us clear answers? (Daily Mail)

If the shadow chancellor understands the need to cut spending further, because Britain is still spending far too much, he should clearly say so, writes Simon Heffer.

8. Blame the great men for Europe’s crisis (Financial Times)

Answering ‘who is at fault?’ will be important in fixing the mess, says Gideon Rachman.

9. Would any jury have convicted Jimmy Savile? (Independent)

Is the cover-up - if there was one - really so incomprehensible, asks Mary Dejevsky.

10. Zen and the art of slowing everything down (Daily Telegraph)

Returning from a trip to Japan, it seems that in Britain we're always rushing to be where we are not, says Joan Bakewell.

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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.