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William James English II (image from June 2018)
Deputy: Harold Lee
Preceded by: Roy Jacobs
Succeeded by: N/A
Deputy: Harold Lee
Preceded by: Roy Jacobs
Succeeded by: Sarah Ellice
Deputy: Harold Lee
Preceded by: Colin Turner
Succeeded by: N/A
Constituency: Norcott Point
Preceded by: Wyatt Raymonds
Succeeded by: N/A
Birth Name: William James English
Birthdate: 17th March 1964 (age 56)
Birthplace: Lake Ellingham, Drongonia
Political Party: National
Spouse(s): Emily English (nee Hale)
Parents: William and Mary English
Alma mater: University of Christchurch
William James English II (born 17 March 1964) is a Drongonian politician for the currently governing National Party, who is currently serving as the Prime Minister of Drongonia. He has been the leader of the National Party since 2010 and also served two terms as the Leader of the Opposition from 2010 - 2016.
A businessman and former combat-trained fighter pilot for the Drongonian Defence Force before entering politics, English was elected to the Drongonian Parliament in 1995 as the National Party's candidate for the Norcott Point electorate. He was assigned the shadow defence portfolio, as National were in opposition under the Second Labour Government when he was elected. English was quickly recognised as an excellent speaker while discussing policy in parliament, and would regularly leave the Defence Minister of the time, Gavin Townley, speechless with no retorts while debating matters of defence policy.
In the 1999 election, where National regained power, he became Defence Minister and was one of the highest-rated ministers in terms of perceived performance and trustworthiness in the eyes of the public. His character, debating skill, excellent use of words and popular policy decisions would see him promoted to National Party deputy, Finance Minister, Leader of the National Party, and then finally elected Prime Minister in 2016.
English is the only child of former Prime Minister William English, and mother Mary (nee Yule) English. He was born after his father retired from politics in 1964. His parents moved from Christchurch, where they were living due to the nature of his father's work, to Lake Ellingham and purchased a lifestyle estate block, where they would live prior to the birth of their son William.
English attended North End School in Lake Ellingham, then boarded at Norcott Point High School in Norcott Point, where he became head boy. He played in the first XI of the school's cricket team and went on to captain the team for two National Under-18 Cricket Championships, one of which they would win in 1981. English then moved to Christchurch and went on to study commerce at the University of Christchurch.
After finishing his studies, English enlisted in the Drongonian Defence Force, where he would become a combat-trained fighter pilot. English was never deployed overseas during his period of service from 1983 - 1990. He was, however, involved in the training of new recruit pilots and the training of pilots from the New Zealand Air Force, during their short joint-training programme in 1988.
English joined the National Party during a defence expo in 1985, where he would become a National Party outreach member inside the defence force, essentially selling the party's policies to personnel and attending party events at Ministry of Defence and Defence Force locations as a representative for the party. During this time, he was often mistaken for a local candidate and a local MP. It was one particular interaction with a member of the public which English cites as being the catalyst for his political career, with an older couple telling him how he "could have sold a strip club to a Nun", implying that he had a way with words.
Opposition (1995 - 1999)
In the 1995 General Election, English was elected as the representative for the electorate seat of Norcott Point, replacing retiring veteran politician, Wyatt Raymonds. Pundits were impressed with the relatively high share of the vote English managed to secure in the electorate, despite being the newest, and one of the youngest, MPs on the National Party list, only being 31 at the time of the election. He won the seat with 55.94% of the vote, handily edging out the other candidates. Voters remarked that having boarded at the area's high school, he knew the area well and made an effort to canvas citizens on what their concerns were, rather than bringing a pre-planned policy to the table.
Due to being elected while the National Party remained in opposition under the second Anna Nolan-led Labour government, English's roles would be limited. However, he was appointed as the National Party's defence spokesman, where he was instrumental in shaping public opinion regarding the languishing defence budget, and the perceived coldness in regards to defence and security relationships with both New Zealand and Australia. As the Labour government proposed removing Drongonia's nuclear weapons capabilities, English famously appeared in a live televised debate with his Labour Party counterpart, where the public and audience were able to give their opinions live as the debate progressed via "The Worm" (referring to a continual line graph at the bottom of the screen) in the audience, online and via phone. This was a first for debates in the country, and would be later used during Prime Ministerial debates as well as debates of other significant public-interest issues. English made the pro-nuclear case and won "The Worm" by 64%, with even the host at the time, Paul Houser, remarking that English may well have won the debate.
First Governance (1999 - 2011)
In the 1999 General Election, the National Party won the election by a single seat and formed a coalition government with the Libertarian and Conservative parties, securing governance against the left-wing Labour-Green bloc. There was intense debate between the three parties as to who would be the Defence Minister, with English being the preferred choice by National, up against Libertarian MP Norman Kirkwood, who was favoured by both the Libertarian and Conservative parties. The two minor parties threatened to leave the coalition and sit cross-bench over the issue, which would leave neither National nor the Labour-Green bloc unable to form a government, and force a snap election. National leader John Blackwood called a meeting in the Grand Conference Room between the three party leaders, as well as English and Kirkwood to end the disagreement. The meeting lasted for seven hours, and many passing MPs and staff reported hearing intense conversation, swearing, shouting and crashing for a significant portion of the meeting. Afterwards, English was decided on as the Minister of Defence, with Kirkwood being offered, and turning down, the newly-created Associate Minister of Defence portfolio. English was subsequently placed eleventh on the party list, which was seen as slightly unusual for someone with a high-ranking portfolio.
English's first policy as Minister of Defence was a commitment to spending 3% of the GDP on defence annually. This policy was very controversial, as it came at a time where the previous Labour government had been preparing to downscale the nation's defence operations. This led to wide-ranging debate as to where the extra funding would be sourced from. English suggested reducing foreign aid sent to the United Nations to be dispensed worldwide. He also proposed a ban on any foreign aid to nations which were hostile nuclear powers, and any nations which were prominent human rights abusers. This bill passed through parliament on its second reading and was called the Aid Restructuring Act 1999. This act is still in force today and is one of the many laws dictating how foreign aid money is distributed.
During the 2003 General Election, the National Party emerged victorious again, and in amongst a cabinet reshuffle, English kept his Defence portfolio, as well as being assigned as Minister of Intelligence, in charge of the nation's spy agencies, such as the DSSB (Drongonian Security Services Bureau), SIS (Security and Intelligence Service), TCIA (Telecommunications Intelligence Agency) and more. English was promoted to sixth on the party list, a promotion of five places in only his second term serving in government. English was seen as a reliable and intelligent pair of hands handling the nation's security and defence, thus warding off any suggestion of being ill-suited due to his relatively new position in parliament.
As the Internet was becoming more mainstream, English became concerned with the lack of Internet privacy laws in Drongonia. After chairing a Select Committee hearing on cyber-privacy, English drafted and tabled the "Online Data Protection Act 2003" which legislated that all internet and phone traffic, including but not limited to E-Mails and Instant Messaging, as well as data on personal electronic devices is to be treated as private property of the user/owner and may only be accessed with a court-issued order. English also pioneered legislation which would free up funds in parliament to allow for the upgrading and purchase of new Defence Force hardware, including 10 ANZAC-class frigates, 4 destroyers, 10 UH60 Black-Hawk helicopters, and the introduction of brand new AW50 sniper rifles.
In the 2007 General Election, National would form a third-term government with former deputy Colin Turner taking the helm as Prime Minister. Turner subsequently moved English to second on the party list and appointed him deputy leader. English's responsibilities would also be shifted. He was stripped of his Defence and Intelligence portfolios, and was instead given the role of Minister of Finance, while being reassigned as Associate Minister of Intelligence, with the Ministerial role going to party leader, Colin Turner.
Shortly after taking office, the 2008 Financial Crisis hit the world's economy and sent markets tumbling worldwide. English remarked at the time that Drongonia was "very well prepared" and "may well have been the best place to live in 2008... not that it isn't anyway". Drongonia's nine years of previous governance by National meant that the Treasury had the resources for English and the Ministry of Finance to pass the Taxation Relief Act 2008 which lowered income tax and allowed Drongonian-owned companies to apply for tax relief. The government also partook in what English billed as "responsible borrowing" to help fund the economy.
Unemployment hit its highest rate in the 2000s in February 2009, with a reported 6.7% of people unemployed and looking for work. English tabled and passed a Member's Bill which allowed those consistently working up until June 2008 to receive access to increased social welfare support, and government grants to allow them to purchase essential household items and prepare for job interviews.
Strong governmental backing meant that English was propelled upwards in the FUX News Preferred Prime Minister rankings throughout 2010, along with the National Party's popular support rising to above 55% several times. After nearly a dozen sequential polls from polling companies FUX, Curia and B&DSM showed Turner's preferred Prime Ministership slip as low as 20%, with the party support also steadily falling, Turner announced he would be stepping down as leader of the National Party and as Prime Minister before the 2011 general election. After a fierce leadership contest, on September 8 2010, Bill English was announced as the leader of the National Party and Prime Minister of Drongonia. English then went on to campaign in the 2011 General Election, which National lost by 5 seats.
Opposition (2011 - 2016)
After losing the 2011 General Election, there was talk amongst the National Party as to whether English would be the right candidate to lead them into the 2015 elections and beyond. In early 2012, a leadership spill was officially announced and English went up against Defence Minister Michael Garret and his deputy Harold Lee. English won the vote and stayed on as leader.
In the leadup to the 2015 elections, it was announced by the Electoral Commission that Drongonians may have been cheated out of their fair election result. An investigation found significant evidence that Conservative Party leader Todd Emery had stolen ballots filled out with votes for both Labour and National and re-filled them with votes for his own party, and that he had instructed junior party members to fill out blank ballots with the names of deceased individuals. This led to Emery being arrested and the elections being delayed while the investigation continued.
On the night of April 20 2015, English was arrested in an armed raid on his family home while he was eating dinner with his wife and children. He was then arrested on unknown charges and placed in police custody in the West Northcott Police station. He was later charged with Intent to Obstruct Democracy, and Intent to Obstruct Criminal Proceedings, carrying a maximum combined sentence in excess of 10 years jail time. This arrest followed suggestions in parliament that he would table an Act to cancel the election delay and proceed with the 2015 elections as planned. English was later released, but had the majority of his assets frozen with police fearing he would try to leave the country.
English exiled to a one-bedroom home he owned on the northern coast of Blake Island, with the police looking for him for three months under direct instruction from the Prime Minister's office. During this time, he uploaded several videos onto video-sharing site YouTube, and appeared in several live television interviews, rejecting the government's claims. English and his deputy Harold Lee lived out of the small house until January 2016, when Prime Minister Ron Jacobs called off the charges and agreed on a November 4 2016 date for the elections.
In the 2016 General Election, National secured governance via a coalition agreement with the Conservative Party, with an additional confidence and supply agreement with the Libertarian party. This meant that English was elected Prime Minister as the leader of the National Party.
Second Governance and Prime Ministership (2016-)
English's first action as Prime Minister was to bring criminal charges against former Prime Minister Ron Jacobs, something which was totally unprecedented and shocked both the international and local community. Jacobs was charged with several breaches of the Bill of Rights Act, mostly relating to false detention and illegal asset freezing. Jacobs was convicted of these charges, as well as new drug charges, uncovered by a search of his home. Jacobs was sentenced to nine years' jail with a minimum non-parole period of five years, on October 1 2018 and is expected to be released some time after 2023.
Since then, English and the National-Conservative government have been quick to deliver on the promises to voters, as well as repealing some legislation enacted by the previous Labour government. Below is a brief list of some of the policies which the new government have enacted since taking office in late 2016.
Freedom of Speech Act
Ban future hate speech/crime laws and legalise all online and physical speech (with some exceptions such as defamation)
Foreign Spending Reduction Act
Halve all foreign aid funding, cut UN funding by 75%
Nuclear Affirmation Act
Secure nuclear weapons/power usage until at least 2030
International Corporate Tax Act
Add a 10% tax on all goods/services provided within Drongonia from overseas companies (where GST doesn't already apply)
Remove Drongonia's refugee quota, remove some social services from non-citizens, remove non-citizen tax credits
Broadband Infrastructure Act
Deliver fibreoptic Internet and phone service or the capability to attain the service, to every possible dwelling by 2022
Income Tax Management Act
Set a target to keep the average income tax under 25%
Immigration Control Act
Introduce a cap of 50,000 permanent residency or citizenship visas per year
English has a mixture of conservative and socially liberal viewpoints. English has aligned himself as a social conservative, despite not repealing some of Labour's more socially liberal policies such as the Same-Sex Marriage Act 2012. English did, however, vote against this policy while it was being voted on as a conscience vote in parliament. English has since stated that while he is personally against same-sex marriage, he understands the need for freedom of individuals to make their own decisions without government intervention. He also has gone on record supporting several controversial priests who refused to marry same-sex couples, stating that "it is their [the priests] place to make that decision on a personal level".
English is married to his spouse Emily English (nee Hale). They met in 1995 when she was a junior reporter working for the NBS (National Broadcasting Service) state broadcaster, interviewing him upon his election to the Norcott Point electorate. They married in 1998 and had their first child, Christopher, in 2000. English is father to one son and one daughter, Christopher (Chris) and Annaliese. Chris is 19 years old and Annaliese is 17. English also maintains a family home in Norcott Point, where his family live, rather than taking up residence in Premier House in Christchurch.
English has publicly stated that he has no religious affiliation, but has great respect for the churches, and how they have acted as one of the pillars of modern Western society. He has also emphasised his respect for minority religious groups such as Buddhism and Sikhism. English supported the removal of Islam's religious status in Drongonia and has publicly stated on numerous occasions that he believes the religion to be incompatible with civilised Western culture.
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