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The five must-read posts from this weekend, on Rod Liddle, banks and career women

1.Clegg has one great policy but he doesn't know how to sell it

Over at Coffee House, James Forsyth praises Nick Clegg's plan to raise the income-tax threshold to £10,000 but says the Lib Dem leader can't find the language to sell it.

2. Do Rod Liddle's human rights trump yours?

Left Foot Forward's Will Straw defends himself against Catherine Bennett's claim that he misrepresented one of Rod Liddle's pieces in order to boost the campaign to stop Liddle becoming editor of the Independent.

3. What Gordon should say to bailed-out banks

LabourList's Alex Smith says that Gordon Brown needs to be as strong as Barack Obama has been and insist that the banks repay every penny they have received from taxpayers.

4. Working mothers resist misogyny amid attacks on "Career Women"

Penny Red looks at how women have responded to attacks on working mothers and suggests that there is little historical precedent for the "traditional" family.

5. Home schooling: what is the liberal approach?

Liberal Democrat Voice's Stephen Tall explores how liberals can strike a balance between the rights of parents and those of children in home schooling.


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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.