Looking back I probably hated Keith Locke before I met him. He stood for everything I detested. Famously he had welcomed the USSR “liberation” of Afghanistan. He was basically an avowed communist who openly talked about much better the world would be without the United States.
I still disagree with Keith on almost every issue. His opposition to Police tasers is woefully misguided, and I doubt we would agree on a single economic or foreign policy issue.
However Keith is a great example of someone where you can hate their views, but like the person. Some people can’t do that (and I used to find it harder) but I think it is a healthy thing to be able to do.
Keith is one of the nicest MPs that has been in Parliament. I can’t recall a time where he had made a personal attack on someone. His views, while extreme, are sincere. He is a product of his parents and upbringing.
My views on Keith are not unique to me. Many National MPs have said how much they like him on a personal level, and Keith has attended a fair few National parties and functions.
There are a couple of issues where I have agreed with Keith, such as republicanism, and have enjoyed working with him on those issues.
Keith used to get tormented in the House, especially by Winston Peters and Michael Cullen. Cullen once almost reduced him to tears. While I think it is quite legitimate to use MP’s previous utterances against them, the nature of some of the taunting was over the top.
Keith gave a witty valedictory yesterday, commenting how his SIS file will be very useful to him in writing the history book he is working on. I hope he enjoys his post-parliamentary career.