Morning call: pick of the comment

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

1. The Greeks must be rueing the day they whacked the drachma (Daily Telegraph)

Boris Johnson says that Greece relinquished its independence when it joined the euro. When the EU steps in to help, we will see a further erosion of democracy.

2. Compared to Europe, the US can at least make a pretence of democracy (Guardian)

Gary Younge agrees that nation states have been superseded by greater forces. The people of Greece are now seeing the naked disregard for their will, as their leaders are dictated to on economic policy by unelected officials and foreign leaders.

3. The political constraints of the eurozone (Financial Times)

Over at the FT, Wolfgang Münchau is certain that Germany will show solidarity with eurozone members if they are subject to attack -- but not much more, due to past rulings by the German constitutional court.

4. A match made in heaven will end an unholy rift (Times)

Methodism's merger with Anglicanism is inevitable, says Roy Hattersley. It would have John Wesley's blessing: he sought reform, not schism.

5. Ms Tymoshenko's unwise move (Independent)

The leading article argues that Ukraine's prime minister and disappointed presidential run-off candidate, Yulia Tymoshenko, is wrong to challenge the result of the election in court.

6. Mandarins in the margins (Guardian)

The Chilcot inquiry has shown that the advice of worldly, well-educated Foreign Office diplomats is simply being ignored, says Peter Preston.

7. A new watchdog would guard us from debt (Times)

The economists Tim Besley and Andrew Scott argue that, with the Budget deficit soaring, an independent committee should test government credibility.

8. Gordon Brown deserves our sympathy, not our vote (Daily Telegraph)

Matthew d'Ancona discusses Gordon Brown's TV interview with Piers Morgan, concluding that the pain he expressed is real, but Brown makes for a rather desperate romantic.

9. A true apology to Aboriginal people means action as well (Guardian)

Australia's prime minister was right to say sorry, says Kate Grenville, but, two years on, little has changed for the better in indigenous communities.

10. We ignore the lessons of history at our peril (Times)

William Rees-Mogg criticises Sussex University's decision to shrink its history faculty, saying it is dangerous to use such a sacrifice as a bargaining tool over swingeing education cuts.

Follow the New Statesman team on Twitter.

Photo: Getty
Show Hide image

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.