Labour aims to turn the NHS crisis into Cameron's tuition fees moment

The party's new attack video shows how it will maximise the damage for the PM by reminding voters how he promised in 2010 to protect the health service.

To date, David Cameron has avoided his own version of Nick Clegg's tuition fees moment: a profound breach of trust that inflicts permanent damage on his party. But with increasing evidence of an unprecedented A&E crisis, the NHS could provide it. 

After Ed Miliband challenged him on the subject at yesterday's PMQs, Labour has released a new attack video, set to a Jaws-esque soundtrack, reminding voters just how much emphasis Cameron put on protecting the health service before the election. Noting that the public rank the NHS as the most important policy area after the economy and immigration, one senior figure told me yesterday that the party intended to put the issue "back at the top of the agenda". 

Despite a concerted attempt by the Tories to pin the blame for the Mid-Staffs scandal on the opposition (including a lengthy section in Cameron's conference speech) , Labour retains a double-digit lead on health. One party source told me that focus groups reacted "particularly strongly" when they were reminded of Cameron's past pledges on the NHS. 

If not the "split-screen moment" that No. 10 has long sought to avoid (when footage of a politician saying one thing is run alongside footage of them saying the reverse), the video is the closest Cameron has come to suffering this wound. 

The Tories will seek to avoid the blame for the A&E crisis by arguing that the NHS has long-standing problems that afflict all governments, aiming to scrape a messy draw with Labour. But their decision to impose Andrew Lansley's reorganisation on the service (for which they had no mandate) makes that task significantly harder. 

If the bad news on the economy appears to have passed, the danger for the Tories is that the bad news on the health service is just beginning.

David Cameron makes a speech on NHS reforms at University College Hospital in London on June, 7, 2011. Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Donald Trump vs Barack Obama: How the inauguration speeches compared

We compared the two presidents on trade, foreign affairs and climate change – so you (really, really) don't have to.

After watching Donald Trump's inaugural address, what better way to get rid of the last few dregs of hope than by comparing what he said with Barack Obama's address from 2009? 

Both thanked the previous President, with Trump calling the Obamas "magnificent", and pledged to reform Washington, but the comparison ended there. 

Here is what each of them said: 

On American jobs

Obama:

The state of our economy calls for action, bold and swift.  And we will act, not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.  We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.  We'll restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost.  We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.  And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.

Trump:

For many decades we've enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military.

One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind.

Obama had a plan for growth. Trump just blames the rest of the world...

On global warming

Obama:

With old friends and former foes, we'll work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet.

Trump:

On the Middle East:

Obama:

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. 

Trump:

We will re-enforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.

On “greatness”

Obama:

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned.

Trump:

America will start winning again, winning like never before.

 

On trade

Obama:

This is the journey we continue today.  We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth.  Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began.  Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week, or last month, or last year.  Our capacity remains undiminished.  

Trump:

We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our product, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.

Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body, and I will never ever let you down.

Stephanie Boland is digital assistant at the New Statesman. She tweets at @stephanieboland