When City Hall originally bid for unitary status, a lot of Conservatives out there in the yonder didn't take the threat seriously - generally because it was, and still is, simply ridiculous that the areas worst performing council should apply more more powers. A lot of such Tories thus stuck their heads in the sand and hoped that the treasury / boundary commission / government would do their jobs for them and kill the unitary bird stone dead. I have to say that I believe the stalled start for the anti-unitary campaigners is one of the reasons why this has got as far as it has. Anyway ...
Today I read in the local press that David Cameron has declared that if unitary has not passed before a general election then the party will scrap it altogether. (Read here, and note that the comments are attributed to Shadow Local Government Minister Bob Neill rather than Cameron himself, but hey-ho). This is significant because it is the first time that the party has come out specifically against the plans in this way. At heart I'm sure a lot of Tories are pro-unitary, but most of us don't want to pay £100m for the priviledge.
This move by Cameron / Neill will worry Labour - they know their only chance of stopping the "One County" bid is via flame-haired Communities Secretary Hazel Blears blocking it, but many Tories now know the only chance to block unitary full stop is by winning that general election.
I hope that all these anti-unitary Tory Councillors sitting on their big fat majorities remember this and get campaigning in key Norfolk marginals to ensure we win those seats then - wouldn't it be ironic if they won by a country mile in their own seats only for us not to win the key seats and for Labour's bonkers plans to progress.
So given all this, the continued spending of taxpayers cash makes my blood boil. Too much has been wasted by all sides on this now; Labour will be praying for this to move quickly, the Tories will try and block and then pray for that election. All this time, we all know who the biggest losers are.
Council tax payers.