I had to laugh when I heard on Friday last week that former Prime Minister Boris Johnson tried to go and vote without photo ID.  I understand that he thought he could use a magazine cover with his picture on.  Of course, he was the one that introduced the new legislation that made photo id compulsory. 

Locally we held the election of the Police and Crime Commissioner and had a by-election in Ashburton and Buckfastleigh for the district council seat left vacant by the late Cllr Huw Cox.  Lib Dem Jack Major was elected with a majority of nearly 200 to fill the seat with an increased vote share. 

The last time we voted for the Police and Crime Commissioner, we had a first and a second preference vote, this time it was first-past-the-post. 

I do wonder if we would have got the same result using the second preference system.  There were three candidates and the Conservative won with 131,000 votes and the Labour and Lib Dem candidates received 174,000 votes between them.  We will never know how it might have gone using the old system, but I do suspect it may have been different… 

Like many, I have long held that the Office of the Police and Crime commissioner should not be an elected politician but that we should go back to a police panel to monitor our local police force.  The current system is expensive and considered unnecessary by many of us. 

Meanwhile Devon and Torbay last week agreed to move forward on the Devon Devolution deal.   

I’m all in favour of Devolution and local people having a bigger say on local issues. This deal lacks detail and carries too many ties to central government to be described as local control.  Without that freedom it simply adds another expensive and unnecessary layer of bureaucracy.  Devolution should be all about having decisions made closer to the people that they impact.    

The Devon Devolution deal creates a new council body, a Combined County Authority.  The Government will provide £1million to set it up – but nothing to keep it running afterwards. 

The deal will do nothing to help with critical issues like the state of the roads and the potholes.  The government sweetener of £16M capital fund is subject to government strings and has already made different parts of Devon bid against each other for the money. 

We see every day that the County Council already struggles with potholes in its road network, children’s care and adult social care.  I would have thought that more powers without significant and continued funding to support their administration would be the last thing that will help the residents of Devon. 

This Devon Devolution deal is set out without any clear details of how the new layer of government will work, and how it will be funded after it has burnt through the initial £1M, and like the office of the PCC, sadly looks very much like yet another unnecessary and expensive gimmick.