Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. The unions' no-cuts agenda is delusional (Guardian)

Some on the left inhabit a fantasy utopia, writes Alan Johnson. But this week Labour showed it is a credible alternative.

2. Expel Germany, not Greece, to save the euro (Times) (£)

The truth is slowly dawning about Europe's real odd-man-out, writes Anatole Kaletsky. France, Italy and Spain should form their own club.

3. Canada's cautionary tale for Scottish secessionists (Financial Times)

Scotland must negotiate, not dictate a divorce, writes Michael Ignatieff.

4. How will the Coalition cope with a year of living fractiously? (Daily Telegraph)

Cameron and Clegg are discovering how little they actually have in common, writes Benedict Brogan.

5. Ed Miliband, welcome to the coalition - but don't stay too long (Guardian)

The Labour leader's sanity on cuts is what the economy needs, says Simon Jenkins. But long term, a healthy democracy needs real opposition.

6. Why the super-Marios need help (Financial Times)

The costs of failure are so large that the possibility of domestic and eurozone reform must be kept alive, says Martin Wolf.

7. And still the banks' vandalism goes on... (Daily Mail)

In the case of RBS, the politicians are custodians of our shares. So when will they practise what they preach, asks a Daily Mail editorial.

8. China's success challenges a failed economic consensus (Guardian)

It's public ownership that has allowed Beijing to ride out the west's crisis, says Seumas Milne. Without it, recovery will be harder everywhere.

9. David Cameron going overboard for fatcat friends (Daily Mirror)

The PM's revealed his priority is the cushiest 1%, with the other 99% condemned to sink or swim on their own, says Kevin Maguire.

10. SOPA unites the internet in protest (Daily Telegraph)

The Stop Online Piracy Act is the modern-day equivalent of smashing the Gutenberg press, writes Adrian Hon.

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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.