I am not going to go into automatic gloating mode; I don't think this decision is the end and a lot could change - oddly enough the same warning I gave Labour after the previous unitary announcement, so I'm going to take my own advice.
But on the face of it, thinks look very bad for Morphew and his Green / LibDem allies on this, as the Boundary Commission says its preferred option is a full county unitary (including Lowestoft) that effectivly abolishes Norwich City Council.
City Hall have invested a lot of time and money into this; often in the face of strong opposition from us Tories, the wider public, parish councils and fellow authorities. If it all falls by the wayside - or worse, produces a result that is the opposite to the original unitary theory of an urban focus - then heads will roll at the council and rightly so. Already tonight what is clear is that Councillors from all parties are at each other's throats - again. But whilst the Tory split on the issue has been clear for some time, the vicious manner in which Labour and the LibDems have turned on each other has surprised even me.
The media have also taken a hit; the EDP has been running a pretty consistent anti-unitary line (it sells well in the county) but the Evening News will have to choose its editorial line pretty carefully tomorrow to avoid looking rather outdated and simplistic. It has been running an almost minute-by-minute response today and the EEN should be congratulated for their depth of coverage.
Also the question being asked is if City Hall can stop the leakage of support; Cllr Ramsay pointed out tonight that the Chamber of Commerce have backed away from supporting a greater Norwich and now believes that "bigger is better" and we ought to have a "Norfolk wide lobby". Many groups will back the winning side; City Hall have I think just days to stop this leakage.
We had a Councillor briefing tonight and the feelings amongst my colleagues in other parties was still utter surprise; I think that the searching for a reason "why" will start tomorrow. One source said to me that they don't know how Norwich managed to throw it away from this position; I think that when we re-read the BC report in the light of tomorrow morning, we may once again be left with more questions than answers.