David Irving to tour Holocaust sites

Calls to ban revisionist historian from planned trip to Poland.

Anti-racist groups have called for the British historian David Irving to be banned from visiting Poland, where he plans to lead a guided tour of Holocaust sites.

Irving, who has written a number of revisionist histories of the Second World War, and who was convicted of denying the Holocaust by an Austrian court in 2006, plans to hold a guided tour of sites including that of the Nazi death camp at Treblinka. His week-long tour will begin on 21 September in Warsaw and is expected to attract a number of far-right sympathisers from across Europe. Irving told the Daily Mail he was not a Holocaust denier and claimed Treblinka was a real death camp site, as opposed to Auschwitz, which he described as a "Disney-style" tourist attraction.

A joint statement issued by the anti-racist group Searchlight and its Polish counterpart Nigdy Wiecej ("Never Again"), called on the Polish government to ban Irving from visiting the country. However, a spokesman at the Polish embassy in London said that although Irving's movements would be closely monitored by the country's secret services, he could not be stopped from entering Poland, as he is not currently on any countries' wanted lists.

Daniel Trilling is the Editor of New Humanist magazine. He was formerly an Assistant Editor at the New Statesman.

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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.