TWENTY-FIVE YEARS in the snake pit, and somehow Locky remains an innocent. The MP kept smiling his spooky smile through decades of derision and scorn. He began his public life as a fuddy-duddy – should school kids be reading the nasty sex scene on page 96 of The Color Purple? – and threatened to end it as a dork. Smith was appalled at the uproar which greeted his remarks during the election campaign about the small hands of Asian vine-pruners. Gosh, he didn’t mean to upset anyone.
National leader John Key made him say sorry, pencilled him out of cabinet, and in due course sent him to the Speaker’s chair. This is a place where parties put senior MPs they don’t know what to do with. The politician, says a parliamentary insider, was “dead and buried”. But Alexander Lockwood Smith, PhD, 61-year-old owner of a fine baritone voice and the best set of abs in parliament, refused to lie quiet in his grave.
Instead he launched a couple of revolutions and turned himself from laughing stock into an odd sort of political leader. He put an end to aeons of skullduggery and secrecy by publishing MPs’ expenses. He turned Question Time in parliament from a tableau of official evasion into a real test of the government’s mettle. He became that rarest of political animals, the celebrity Speaker. The pundits praised the new hero of accountability and openness.
The whole article is a good read.