Morning Call: pick of the papers

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

1. We’ve left it too late to save Syria – this conflict can never be won (Daily Telegraph)

It would be madness to arm the rebels in what has become a brutal religious war, says Boris Johnson.

2. Iran has changed course. Now the US must do the same (Guardian)

Hassan Rouhani's election victory can help ease tension in the Middle East and with the United States, writes Jonathan Steele.

3. Iran's new leader offers hope for the region (Daily Telegraph)

Hassan Rowhani is politically astute, and has a vision for a more moderate regime , writes Jack Straw.

4. The best way to fight the EDL's anti-Muslim bigotry is by showing solidarity on the streets (Independent)

This racist group has been indulged by Britain's mainstream media, writes Owen Jones. We need to drown them out.

5. Boris the bold can be the Tories’ salvation (Times)

The Mayor is no standard-issue Conservative, says Tim Montgomerie. He has an Olympic-sized belief in the positive power of a strong state.

6. The red lines over Syria have not been crossed (Guardian)

The country is already awash with weapons, which are at the limit of what can be safely given to the rebels, writes Alastair Crooke.

7. West must be cautious over Iran election (Financial Times)

Embracing Hassan Rohani too warmly could hinder nuclear negotiations, writes Martin Indyk.

8. The Treasury must come clean over Lloyds (Times)

A failed Co-op bid that looked odd from the start raises suspicions of ministerial interference, writes David Davis.

9. The whistleblowers are the new generation of American patriots (Guardian)

The violation of civil liberties in the name of security has had a profound impact on those who came of age after 9/11, says Gary Younge. 

10. Obama needs to embrace the promise of the US city (Financial Times)

The US president could do a great deal more to embrace the city as the chief magnet and incubator of the intellectual capital his country needs, writes Edward Luce.

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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.