I had known for some time that Steve Morphew - who, like him or loath him, has put his heart and soul into Norwich politics for a long time time now - was planning to step down. I like Steve a lot; he's a decent guy, easy to do business with and has the City stamped through his heart. We've clashed, a lot, in the council chamber and he is a great advocate for the Labour cause and for Norwich. Ultimately he is wrong (on nearly everything, naturally) but credit where it is due - he dragged the City back from the financial abyss left the LibDems and has run a hung council with remarkable stability. In the end, Morphew could have quit over a number of issues - the Connaught collapse, the million pound unitary fiasco, Greyhound Opening ... but in a funny way I am glad he has gone in his own way and in his own time. I always praise genuine public service, and Steve Morphew has been one of the City's fine public servants. Like Brian Watkins before him, public life in the City will be poorer when he has gone.
My gripe, if I am allowed one, is that Cllr Morphew will lead Labour into the 2011 City poll and then a new leader will be elected afterwards. This means that when people vote they will not know who will be the next Labour Leader or, potentially, the next City Council Leader. This seems unfair on local people and not very democratic. So I am urging Steve to step down earlier to allow Labour a leader by the time of the poll. I think local people deserve that.
So good luck Steve; enjoy life with the family and actually trying to earn a living. Being City Council Leader is a full time job on a part-time salary and we all appreciate the sacrifices you make in public office (none more so than those of us who have done it). Enjoy the (brief) retirement, and then - who knows ...?