Kicking up Dido: Harding goes through with her threat to apply for top NHS England job

Useless: Tory money pit and expertise vacuum Dido Harding. She has applied to run NHS England and privatisation-loving Tories probably think she’s perfect for the job.

North American slang defines “dido” as “a mischievous trick or prank”; here in the UK, if you “kick up dido” then you are creating a fuss or a row.

How appropriate, then, is the given name of Ms Harding – the incompetent who has made disasters of Talk Talk* and the government’s Covid-19 test and trace system – now we know she has applied for the job running the NHS in England?

Dido Harding’s own ability to turn everything she touches into excrement is well-documented. Even the injection of £37 billion couldn’t make her test and trace system work.

She is also the wife of Conservative MP John Penrose, who actively campaigns for the National Health Service to be replaced by a privately-run insurance system.

This connection to a Tory MP should disqualify Harding’s application; there would be a conflict of interest and her appointment to a job that should be apolitical would be seen as politically-biased and corrupt…

But we know that complaints would fall on deaf ears because, remember Mr Penrose? The husband? Not only is he a Tory MP, but is also their anti-corruption tsar.

So if she gets the job, the Tories will merrily say there’s nothing dodgy about the appointment and Penrose will merrily agree, in the knowledge that having his wife in charge of the NHS brings him a huge step closer to destroying it forever.

And her application lives up to both definitions of her name.

All of this information is well-known:

With Harding in charge, the failure of NHS systems seems a foregone conclusion – and of course, such a failure would be used as an excuse to privatise the service:

Nobody in the UK who relies on the NHS should support privatisation.

It changes the service’s priority from improving UK citizens’ health to making a profit for healthcare firms’ shareholders.

*I should add that, post-Harding, Talk Talk has recovered very well (I’m familiar with at least one very happy customer).

So there is a glimmer of hope: even if Harding gets the job, she might be so bad at it that even the Tories have to admit she has to go (anything is possible).

And if she is ousted, then her replacement might actually provide an adequate service.

Hope springs eternal. So, even if this serial inadequate gets the job, she might still – possibly – help the NHS in the long run.

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