Clarkson's official portrait.
|19th Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Rainier|
3rd October 2009 – 10th September 2017
|Preceded by||Diane Hall|
|Succeeded by||Alexander Llewellyn|
|Constituency||Calgary Heritage (1993-present)|
|Leader of the National Union Party|
27th June 2005 – 25th August 2017
|Preceded by||Gerald Fairbrook|
|Succeeded by||Mary Towers|
|Leader of the Opposition|
27th June 2005 – 3rd October 2009
|Prime Minister||Diane Hall|
|Preceded by||Hywel Price|
|Succeeded by||Samuel Paul|
|Minister of the Treasury|
6th August 2003 – 12th May 2005
|Prime Minister||Gerald Fairbrook|
|Preceded by||Bors Clyde|
|Succeeded by||Eric Kenny|
|Minister of Social Welfare|
26th December 1999 – 12rd September 2003
|Preceded by||Hugh Williams|
|Succeeded by||Julian Bevan|
3rd May 1960 (59)|
|Political party||National Union Party|
|Alma mater||University of Rainier|
Studying at the University of Rainier, Clarkson worked as a corporate lawyer until getting involved in politics in 1993 when he was elected as the National Union MP for Calgary Heritage, and was in 1999 promoted to the position of Minister of Social Welfare. In 2003 he became Minister of the Tresuary, where he promoted neoliberal policies continuing deregulation and privatisations. His term ended when National Union lost the 2005 election to Diane Hall.
Clarkson established himself as one of the most popular National politicians in the country, leading to him to launch a successful leadership bid for the National Union Party leadership in 2005. When Diane Hall announced a election in 2009 Clarkson was able to lead the National Party to victory, winning re-election in 2013. In late 2016 it emerged the NUP had embezzled over £300 million of pubic finances leading to a sharp decline in popularity for the government and for the NUP to suffer a massive defeat to the Labour party in the 2017 election with Clarkson resigning as Prime Minister and NUP leader.
In his term as Prime Minister, Clarkson has implemented a new immigration system, privatising government owned corporations and expanding social programmes. He also approved of Rainian troops intervening in the 2011 Libyan Civil War and supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Clarkson supports economic liberalism and social conservatism and has been called a Thatcherite.
Early life and corporate career
Clarkson was born in Calgary in 1960. His father was a banker of Anglo-Irish descent whilst his mother was the daughter of Jewish refugees from Poland. As a young boy he was interested in sport, and showed aptitude in maths. In his youth she initially supported the Labour party, but following the re-election of Frederick Joseph in 1977 he became a member of the National Union Party, developing an interest in one-nation conservatism.
In 1986 he enrolled in the University of Rainier to study a joint Japanese-law course, becoming the Students Union Deputy President in 1980. In 1982 he graduated from the university with a Bachelor of Laws and two years later a Bachelor of Japanese.
Clarkson joined the Thomas and Fairfax Law firm in Wallowa City after graduating from university, where he specialised in corporate law, in particular mergers and acquisitions. He tried unsuccessfully to be selected as a parliamentary candidate in the 1987 parliamentary election, but succeeded into being elected as councillor for the Wallowa City Council for the NUP, where he became the head of the Wallowa NUP branch, as well as a member of the National Policy Centre, a think-tank with close links to the NUP.
In the 1993 election Clarkson was successfully chosen as the candidate for the Calgary Heritage constituency which he won, despite the NUP losing the election to Carwyn Maddock's Labour party. In 1995 however the NUP got a majority under Gerald Fairbrook.
As a Member of Parliament, Clarkson advocated for lower taxes, economic deregulation and higher spending on social care and education. Clarkson was the co-sponsor of the Social Welfare Act 1996 which cracked down on benefit fraud, which raised his profile within the parliamentary party. Clarkson was subsequently appointed as Vice-Chair of the Committee of Social Welfare in 1996. In late 1999 during a cabinet reshuffle Fairbrook elevated Clarkson to his cabinet in the role of Minister of Social Welfare.
As Minister of Social Welfare Clarkson was responsible for overseeing the implementation of the New Social Contract, a workfare programme which saw the biggest change to the welfare system in decades. The new programme mandated that those on welfare (unless they were disabled, on childcare benefit or past retirement) had to be placed on a temporary work placement programme (TWPP) if they wanted to claim benefits. The system was controversial when first implemented, with the advocacy group the Rainian Centre for Social Research criticising the programme as punitive, with TWPP's being compared to work done on community service.
During his time as Social Welfare Minister he resisted moves by Treasury Minister Michael Heaney to merge all workfare programmes into one based on payments being made on a single, monthly means-tested instalment, on the grounds that if fostered dependency on the state. At the 2002 NUP annual conference in September Clarkson spoke about the NUP moving towards "the creation of a fair society, built upon hard work, entrepreneurship and for the government to support working people".
During the lead up to the invasion of Ba'athist Iraq Clarkson supported the government line, which stated that Iraqi president Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. He voted in favour of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, although Clarkson said in 2006 that if he had known Iraq had not possessed weapons of mass destruction he would not have voted for the war. In the 2005 election he was relected to his seat in Calgary Heritage, although the NUP narrowly lost parliament to a Labour Party-Green-Left Movement coalition with Diane Hall becoming prime minister.
After the 2005 election Clarkson ran for the leadership of the National Union Party, advocating for a more centre-right line. He was elected by the party overwhelmingly. As Leader of the Opposition Clarkson was seen to adeptly criticise the government for its repudiation of workfare programmes that were popular amongst the employed working class (especially the so-called "Fairbrook Labour" voters).
As Leader of the Opposition Minister Clarkson published an alternative budget in 2008 that rejected the fiscal stimulus advocated by the Hall government instead pushing for privatisation of state owned assets and cuts in pubic spending. At a 2008 party conference Clarkson blamed Labour overspending for the financial crisis, and that the Labour party was encouraging Rainians to "live beyond their means".
National Union leadership
Upon coming to power, the Clarkson government announced a series of austerity measures to deal with Rainier's budget deficit. During the previous Labour government's term Rainier had come under pressure from the Conference of American States to reduce its high deficit within CAS rules, with an attempted austerity package in exchange for a bailout from the CAS resulting the fall of the Labour government. Upon coming to power, Clarkson negotiated a bailout with the CAS in return implementing a series of economically liberal policies. In the 2009 summer budget the Clarkson government announced it would privatise several government owned companies including telecommunication and the post office, raise the VAT by 5% in order to increase revenue and oversee substantial cuts to social services, the military, healthcare and education.
The 2009 budget was unpopular with several protests staged with many saying the budget was "too harsh" and would negatively impact on services. In 2014, the Clarkson government announced it would introduce more privatisation into the Health Assistance Programme, but later dismissed reports of full scale privatisation as "fanciful".