The Covid Inquiry rumbles on, revealing cracks in our democratic system.

The bullying misogynist tirades of Dominic Cummings would have had him excluded if he was in Parliament. The first major crack is between the government, elected to manage the country, and the civil service who run things. The second crack is between government and local councils who manage important services such as Care in the Community.

The hurt, anguish and stress at the start of the Covid crisis is still real for many of us, especially those with relatives in care homes and still grieving. This has generated anger and a wish to establish blame, while the inquiry has become a forum for players to pick on the faults of others. We all have strengths and failings; democracy entitles us to elect fallible people. The clever thing is to align the strengths and disregard the failings. The inquiry result will tell us how to do that, we hope!

People come in different sizes and temperaments. Ability is not easy to measure; Winston Churchill did not do well at school, I think he was held back and taken through the English language course twice. This fitted him for articulating what the country needed to know. He "provided the roar", to use his own words, that the British Lion needed to express. Boris Johnson was no good at science and had difficulty grappling with graphs, as did many politicians. This created a disconnect during Covid between scientific thinking and politicians making decisions.

Bureaucracy is often used as a negative term, but it is the stuff of organised management. The civil service needs people in government departments with calm and regulated temperaments, but it takes excitement and charisma to win elections. So we should not be surprised that elected representatives have a very different mentality from civil servants.

Our permanent civil service should be a point of pride. In contrast, in the USA each elected government appoints friends and cronies into administrative roles. Some of these are real experts, but many are not and there is no continuity. Like so many aspects of the UK, our system has major flaws but it works better than most others!

In East Devon we are spectators to World News, but many lessons are applicable to everyday life. To be well run in a crisis, whether Covid or repairing storm damage, any group needs a mundane organisation, but with its leadership combining cleverness with basic common sense, as usually happens in volunteer teams.

Christmas is the immediate crisis for many of us, with conflicting pressures and maybe not enough money. Good organisers avoid borrowing to fill gaps in planned spending. Original thought can make inexpensive and pleasing meals and gifts rather than fitting conventional norms! Some years back, I proposed a toasted corned beef and pickle sandwich as a Christmas treat - I made one as a test and preferred it to turkey and stuffing! Presents for children can be expensive, but some simple things are cheap and fun - even down to two tins with string between them to make an intercom. The basics of games and the companionship of family and friends are what makes Christmas, not expensive gifts.

We are blest with effective and creative voluntary organisations filling many gaping gaps. The government can stay in Westminster, provided it sends money to the Council for Social Care!