Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. Ed Miliband is a man with the makings of a brave and visionary leader (Guardian)

Bagging mansion tax and the 10p rate for Labour was good politics, but the scale of his economic ambition was better still, says Polly Toynbee.

2. Slavery, not horse meat, is the real scandal (Daily Telegraph)

Long business supply chains are corruptible and can hide a multitude of crimes, says Fraser Nelson.

3. A dark morning in Pretoria has shattered the faith of a nation (Independent)

This Paralympic champion was a hero when South Africa needed one, a sex symbol and celebrity at the same time, but now a different Oscar is beginning to emerge, writes Ivan Fallon.

4. Not such a distinctive Labour vision, after all (Independent)

Ed Miliband's "working people"  sound very much like the Tories' "strivers", notes an Independent editorial.

5. Leave London and you'll find fantasy island (Times) (£)

Labour’s vision of a banker-free economy already exists, writes Philip Collins. It’s in the regions, it’s poorer and it’s not the future.

6. On the teaching of history, Michael Gove is right (Guardian)

Why do critics feel obliged to defend a status quo that so many teachers, parents and pupils agree is indefensible, asks Niall Ferguson. 

7. Transatlantic pact promises bigger prize (Financial Times)

The real reward of a US-EU free trade area would be geopolitical, writes Philip Stephens.

8. A new press regulator (Daily Telegraph)

The Conservatives' ideas for control of the press offer the least worst option, says a Telegraph editorial.

9. Iran’s intransigence (Financial Times)

There is time for a nuclear deal – but Tehran must budge, says an FT editorial.  

10. Why should Harold have to pipe down? (Daily Mail)

For the Labour prime minister's pipe to be downplayed in last night's BBC special on his life is more than just an over-reach of delicate sensibilities, writes Martin Samuel.

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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.