Good news and hope comes from the great majority of ordinary everyday people responding positively to the mayhem and tragedies in the media.

The grey army needs to be re-activated. Many people stay silent, hoping for a balance between activists and biased reporters. Larry the cat in 10 Downing Street has seen off four Prime Ministers and has the Sunak labrador in hand, while President Biden's dog Commander was retired after biting 11 members of staff.

With a general election coming up, questions shift from pointing out problems to considering who would be best at getting things right. Potholes, sewage, global warming, the NHS, the war in Ukraine and now atrocities in Israel with the need for a peaceful way forward. In our democracy, anyone with answers can step forward, but only the brave will apply and only the stubborn will prevail.

2024 is a year of elections. Vladimir Putin will win in Russia; the media there tells everyone that he is doing a wonderful job. UK media highlights how everything is wrong, and so assume Rishi Sunak will lose. Jo Biden and Donald Trump in the USA both have committed followings, but the decision will be left to undecided voters. Emmanuel Macron is perceived in France as a disaster, but Marie LePen may be a worse bad choice. Germany, as usual, does not give opportunity for humorous comment. The Israeli government has popular support to use overwhelming military might against terrorists, but risks losing the chance of eventual peace along with the lives of millions of civilians.

Activists are only a small minority, but their ideas are amplified by social media, TV and the newspapers. Our tendency to highlight problems is positive, helping us to learn from mistakes and improve things. Activists bring to the surface problems that should not have been buried, which is good, but often have very misguided solutions. "Stop Oil" is my favourite. It is our consumption in travel and heating which causes the problem, not the availability of oil wells.

Meanwhile, many things run really well - including support for the needy in our generally affluent society. Volunteer workers provide help through people pitching in and giving donations, which is excellent. Government support is just the rest of us forced to pitch in through taxes, whether we like it or not. Voluntary organisations are usually quite efficient; they collapse very quickly if they are not! Government programmes are often inefficient, whether local councils or at Westminster.

The larger the organisation the bigger the gap between bosses and the workplace. Top people become confused between getting the job done and the importance of being in charge. In a voluntary organisation, the top person may be only too pleased to find someone else to take over! A society depending on volunteers may be stronger than politicians want. Readiness to work together in a crisis is a particularly British characteristic, happily adopted by most immigrants.

The small childcare team in Devon County Council is just one example. They work with partner agencies to ensure health, education, love and affection for nearly 1,400 children in council care, helping them to realise their dreams, goals and aspirations. This is not politics, it is individual staff and volunteers working with others, at our behest, to help those in need.

This may seem trivial, but is more important to those children than the rest of world affairs.