Patricia Hewitt Mrs Doubtfire
I once had a meeting with Nanny Hewitt in her office. I was early. Her PPS probably wishes I hadn’t been. The office wasn’t very big, but did contain a sofa, which was adorned with a duvet and pillows. The sofa was in fact, an Emin-esque unmade bed.
When Nanny Hewitt arrived for the meeting, she sat and ate a packet of sandwiches as she talked, literally. You would think all good nannies would know not to talk with their mouth full wouldn’t you?
She was obviously overstressed and overworked.
It takes some effort to bring about the almost complete collapse of the NHS. Making 17,000 redundancies, ensuring there are no jobs for junior doctors, extending waiting lists, emptying the bank accounts of all the PCTs , cancelling operations, closing down new hospitals – just as they are about to open the doors. This is a lot for one woman to do; she obviously doesn’t have time for sleep.
Another thing a nanny will do is always make you say sorry when you are in the wrong.
Patricia Hewitt must go down in history as the worst Secretary of State for the NHS. It isn’t just what she has done to the NHS, what makes it so much worse is that voice.
It’s the combination of the voice, the actions, the inability to appear anything other than android, and to come across as probably the most uncaring woman on the planet, that has made her job so untenable.If she just said a little sorry, like nanny would make you do, or just showed a little human womanly kindness, she would be in an entirely different position. After all, we can all forgive someone who makes mistakes, to err is human – and there of course is the point.
Nadine Dorries is MP for Mid Bedfordshire