Newt Gingrich's campaign is dead in the water

The architect of the "Republican revolution" is the run-away leader of this year's "Rudy Giuliani El

Oh dear. A week after his campaign team resigned en masse, there is more bad news for Newt Gingrich in this latest Gallup poll. His positive intensity score has plummeted from a high of 19 in April to just two at the latest count.

Gingrich

To put in context just how mind-numbingly awful this is, take a look at the positive intensity scores of some of the other Republican candidates.

The rest of the pack 

In Gingrich's defence, however, he is not the only candidate suffering from falling positive intensity scores. The widely-tipped Tim Pawlenty's rating has halved, from a peak of 17 to nine. Jon Huntsman's positive intensity rating has gone down too. But neither Pawlenty nor Huntsman have seen drops as remarkable as Gingrich's.

Gingrich seems to be fulfilling the Rudy Giuliani role in this election. Like Giuliani in 2008, Gingrich is a seemingly competent - if a little crazy - candidate, running a truly awful, ill-thought out campaign, marred by poor organisation and strategy. For these reasons, I nominate Newt for the inaugural "Rudy Giuliani Electoral Implosion" award. Well done, Newt. You might win something.

Photo: Getty
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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.