What'll it be, Sir William, Bill or his real first name, Simon?

Whatever, Bill English will get a gong, probably in June, a healthy Parliamentary pension, the use of a limo and airfares when he's doing stuff associated with his former role, but alas he won't get what Jacinda Ardern's in line for - the comfortable Prime Ministerial pension - because he wasn't in the job for two years.

Still, apparently there are plenty of positions on offer for the man who steered the economy through the global financial crisis and the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes, admittedly on the back of a hearty borrowing programme.

Bill English was the chalk to John Key's cheese. There's nothing flashy about this Southland farmer: what you see is generally what you get, although while he's known for his rather gentle, considered side, there's another one that's reserved for those of us who've crossed him on occasion over the past 27 years where he'll let fly with a vitriolic tirade.


That aside, English is realistic, twice having lost the ultimate throne, the first time in a spectacular drubbing, scraping together just 20 per cent of the vote in 2002, and then to the rejection by Winston Peters last election. He knew politics for him had run its course. He was never going to win against Jacinda Ardern with a cute toddler in tow, and for that matter it's unlikely anyone else will either, short of a coalition meltdown.

Still there'll be no shortage of hands going up for what has often been described as the most difficult job in politics. But if National wants to give the Labour-led Government, and in particular Ardern, a run for her money then they've got to make it a prize fight. And that's not going to happen with some of those who've been jockeying for position, like Simon Bridges, Jonathan Coleman or Steven Joyce.

This is a female domain where the gloves have to come off. Paula Bennett would be a technical knockout and Amy Adams would only last a round or two. The fight will be decided by a judge's decision, just like the last election.

The toughest contender would be Judith Crusher Collins, a polarising character in the mould of Muldoon, a bear pit acerbic scrapper who relishes blood on the carpet. The blue blood courses through her veins and the softest part of her is her teeth.

But for her it'll be a matter of convincing her colleagues that her time has come. If she can't, it'll never come again.

The other potential contender is Nikki Kaye, and if the Auckland Central seat is a yardstick, she's publicly popular, ending the left's 90-year stranglehold on the seat in 2008 and twice beating Jacinda Ardern there since.

She's also a social liberal, which could be just what National needs.

And to those social media trolls who said I was making it up about National's leadership rumbling, I hope you're now gulping.