Who's the biggest loser in this week's historic ruling by the Competition Appeals Tribunal (see p5)? Tesco's rivals? UK shoppers? Or chief commissioner Peter 'Gordon' Freeman and his sidekicks at the Competition Commission?

At least the winner is easy. It's a huge boost for Tesco, and a surprisingly rare one of late. But it just goes to show you should never bet against the Cheshunt crew. When it switched its focus to international expansion, there was an implicit admission that it was reaching close to saturation point in the UK in terms of market share and regulatory sleight of hand.

But if any grocery retailer based its strategy on Tesco's loss of ambition in the UK, or its resignation to an expansion straitjacket based on favours from the law, it was madness

The irony is that many felt the figure of 60% market share, proposed for the competition test, was too generous, with a fair amount of wiggle room even in the so-called Tesco Towns dotted from Exmouth to Inverness.

But Tesco challenged the ruling. And won.

Of course, this may not be the end of the competition test. The CAT didn't quibble with the need for a remedy. It quibbled with what it clearly considered sloppy thinking, and would prefer the Commission to provide a different remedy rather than no remedy at all. But having spent so much time and money investigating the market, and using not just a generous percentage, but the best legal advice, to devise its test, what chance is there that the Competition Commission has a workable alternative remedy up its sleeve?

It made one recommendation, and within six months, it's in tatters. And with politicians and the press now focusing their attention on even bigger issues, this is a fight now between bureaucrats - set, surely, to go straight to DVD.