It was the best of times, it was the worst of times - for some - in late 2006. There were the two cities of Norwich in Norfolk and Exeter in Devon, and the town of Ipswich in Suffolk. Their councils felt oppressed by the shackles imposed by their respective counties. They aspired to break free and pursue their own distinct ambitions. So they went to the Secretary of State to ask for Unitary Status.
The Secretary of State heard them and praised them for their spirit but judged they were not yet strong enough to make their way in the wide world. So she asked her advisors, the Boundary Committee, to see if they could find a way to help them.
The Boundary Committee did their work and consulted with the people. The years passed by and there was a new Secretary of State, and the Boundary Committee advised him, "We have looked at Exeter in Devon and Norwich in Norfolk, and the cities still wish to be granted Unitary Status but the counties do not. And we have looked at Ipswich in Suffolk, where the town and the county and the people generally have a strong appetite for unitary Status, but will not accept our advice on how they might make their way in the world."
So the Secretary of State thanked the Boundary Committee for their work. Then he turned to Norwich and Exeter and said, "You are yet young and, in my view, still not strong enough to achieve your aspirations; yet you are very ambitious and we need spirited and innovative communities such as yours to develop our prosperity. So you shall have Unitary Status." And there was great joy in the Look East studio.
Then he turned to Ipswich and Suffolk and said, "You too should have Unitary Status but you have rejected the wisdom of my advisors, so it must be brought about in a manner of your own choosing and to which you must all agree. I will tell you how you must go about it, and you will go away and agree how it will be."
And Look East reported that "Home Rule for Ipswich" had been rejected.
To be continued?