..... the more important issue is not what went wrong, but WHY it went wrong.

We have got very used to chronicling these disasters but no-one seems to be getting a handle on why they happen, exactly why the system so consistently fails. There is a refusal to accept that the system did fail, and that also is a fascinating dynamic. It goes to the heart of modern governance, and makes a mockery of the "lessons learned" inquiry.

It won't find anything because it is not looking in the right places. What, therefore, I think we need to do is redirect the searchlight and focus peoples' thinking on what I would suggest is the real issue.

In opposition, political parties are quick to criticise the failures of the administration but, when they take power, their ministers end up just like any others, fronting their corrupt and inept ministries, sucked in by events, eventually being "captured" by them and acting as apologists for their departments.

What is it about MAFF/DEFRA that their ministers seem unable to control them or understand how grossly incompetent they are?

All of this underwrites that central problem. In foot and mouth we did have massive system failures, failures of the mechanics of governance. It is relatively easy to identify (some of) the symptoms of that failure but, as so often, the best that can happen under the current inquiry process is that we put some over-large band-aids on the worst sores.

What everyone so far has consistently failed to do is explore and then try to understand the root cause of failure. But until we start treating the disease rather than the symptoms, we will continue to suffer a procession of "foot and mouths" for ever more.