After the surprising, even shocking results of the UK’s May 2015 general election, culminating in the mandate for a clear Conservative majority government, I thought I should write a follow-up column to my election forecast for May the 7th.
Who, for instance, would have thought that by lunchtime the day after the elections, three party leaders would have resigned and that the Scottish national Party would have gained no less than 50 new MPs? Many forecasters, including myself, were confounded by what happened.
The first hint that the forecasts and opinion surveys may have got it wrong came at around 9pm, when the results of an exit poll, conducted by Ipsos Mori, was announced, stunning everyone because it ran completely contrary to any previous poll or prediction. Despite initial incredulity, as the night unfolded, many people began to realise how accurate it was in terms of mapping out what the final results of the 2015 UK General Election would be.
Clearly, there were some hidden and unforeseen forces at play that none of us had really bargained on – and, as it happened, these ended up playing a major role in the outcome at the polls. So why was this the case?
Firstly, this election proved to be different from any previous election in recent memory for a number of reasons, including:
- The rise of nationalism across the UK, which affected voting in Scotland and saw a swing away from many of the other major parties, including the Lib Dems towards UKIP and the Scottish Nationalist party;
- The obvious influence of social media in reaching and influencing the youth vote;
- The upswing in the UK economy and the desire by the electorate to see this continue;
- A clear resurgence of faith in democracy/re-engagement in politics – voter turnout was the highest since 1997, running at roughly 66%.
From an astrological point of view, I can now see the signature, not only of the spring eclipses, which played out in some rather unexpected ways, but also the strong influence of Pluto, expressed through the brilliant Sun-Pluto trine which took place on May the 6th and its transit through the natal charts of several political leaders, along with its role in the cardinal cross of 2010, culminating in three years of the (thankfully now waning) Uranus-Pluto squares that has been prominent since 2012. [i]
Some of these were not so apparent at the time of my first forecast (and clearly I wasn’t alone in missing them – most of the forecasters were left flabbergasted by what happened.) I suspect this was down to a combination of things, including last minute/out of the blue choices (hello, Uranus!) from those who were undecided and people voting strategically or not being entirely honest with pollsters/canvassers about how they really felt (Pluto).
Still, here is my take on the astrology of what actually went down.
A subtle shift in the balance of power: Sun-Pluto
Given the Sun-Pluto trine (= shift in the balance of power) that took place on May the 6th, just a day before people went to the polls, I think Pluto had quite a big influence on the way people ultimately decided to vote. In general, I think it led to more strategic, as well as punitive voting decisions, with many people voting Conservative to keep out an SNP/Labour coalition or to quash the UKIP campaign, or alternatively, to punish the Lib Dems for not standing up to the Tories on key policy issues, thereby leading them to renege on things they had promised to deliver in their manifesto. This very much expresses the retributive side of Pluto.
However, Pluto is also in Capricorn – a conservative earth sign – which doesn’t make people too keen on change, risk or chaos, while the Sun in Taurus suggests a preference for leaders with a sensible but steady leadership style, which is much more in tune with David Cameron’s way of doing things than Ed Milliband’s call for socialist revolution. As a result, this Sun-Pluto trine would have made voters more inclined to stick to the status quo and with politicians they know, rather than take risks with an unknown, unproven prime minister like Ed Milliband.
As I wrote in my first election forecast, when looking at the eclipse charts in relation to the birth charts of the major party leaders, I noticed that Pluto seemed to make close contact with major points in the charts of several UK party leaders.
What I didn’t always appreciate was what a dramatic role Pluto would have in the resignations of:
- Ed Miliband – who has Pluto currently going over his Midheaven, which seems to have brought about an end to his current position as leader of the Labour Party, and may possibly dramatically transform his future role in politics.
- Nick Clegg – who has Pluto approaching a conjunction with his natal Sun in the second house – a transit that will last for some time, no doubt prompting him to reassess his position within his party (Scorpio rules his 11th house of groups), his personal and political values, and his ability to lead the Lib Dems. His resignation as party leader comes as the Moon in Capricorn moves to join Pluto, thereby activating this potent transit.
In general, the Sun rules leaders and leadership, while Pluto is associated with dramatic, sometimes irrefutable endings and transformation, so you can see how this transit, although positive, may have played a role in the change of guard we saw in terms of political party heads. Thus, this aspect is literally about a shift in power, and in some cases, heads rolling.
The hand of fate
From the outset, I always felt that the spring eclipses would play an important role in the elections. However, as with all prediction work, I wasn’t always right about how this would unfold.
Here’s what I see now in retrospect is the planets at work in:
- The rather unexpected non-election of Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, despite all the hype and the fact that UKIP still ended up coming third in the election.
- The political comeback of David Cameron and the Conservative Party, despite what looked like a dead cert loss to Labour because of UKIP
- The election of Boris Johnson as an MP, as a I wrote in my eclipse predictions column, this is a man whose star is very much on the rise, and who is being tipped as a contender for the position of Conservative Party leader when Cameron steps down.
- The huge spike in popularity for Nicola Sturgeon – in the wake of Alex’s Salmond’s resignation post Scottish independence elections, and the massive surge in the number of elected SNP MPs, she seems emblematic of both an upswing in Scottish pride and the arrival of a new generation of dynamic female politicians to Parliament where the fairer sex remains sadly under-represented.
- The political demise of Ed Miliband – was choosing to partner with Ed Balls & Yvette Cooper, both Pisceans, a wise move, given that the one did not get re-elected and the other one now seems all happy to put herself forward for election as Ed’s replacement, just moments after Ed resigned?
Let’s look at some of these in closer detail…
Nigel Farage – Not with a Bang, but a whimper
Many people, including myself, were somewhat surprised that after all the publicity and hype surrounding UKIP as well as the pretty strong astrological indicators in the March 2015 solar eclipse chart, that Nigel Farage failed to get elected, losing to the Conservative Party candidate for Thanet by some 3000 votes.
All the signs were there: The Sun & Moon, both in Aries, positioned in his 7th house at the time of the March solar eclipse, indicating a new six month phase for him in terms of public relations, possibly one that included increased popularity and a new public-facing role. Instead, however, his political enemies neutralised his election bid by throwing extra campaigning resources at the constituency where he was standing. And rather than responding positively to his outspoken frankness and fighting spirit, the vast majority of the electorate (the Moon) seem to have rejected his rather abrasive and polarising rhetoric (7th house) – so that, in the end, his Conservative opponent beat him and UKIP only managed to get one seat in the House of Parliament.
This disappointing result for him just reminds us that a Sun-Moon conjunction (solar eclipses always occur during a conjunction of the Sun and Moon) is considered to be neutral by astrologers and can very much go in a number of different ways. Firstly, the eclipse indicated a change for him – just not the one we (or he!) expected – and secondly, the 7th house is also a tricky position – it is the house of partnerships, but also of enemies. In this case, it seems they saw the threat he posed and acted fast to counter it – to their credit – which just goes to show that destiny is very much negotiable! Furthermore, although David Cameron’s Sun happened to be located very close to the eclipsed Moon in the April Lunar Eclipse chart, the Prime Minister was also due to experience his Jupiter return in Leo not long after the elections, so it may well be that this rather fortunate transit saved his political bacon!
This outcome can also be further explained by the opposition between transiting Neptune, ruler of his Descendant, and Farage’s natal Pluto-Uranus conjunction on the AS in Virgo from the 7th house – active on the day of the May elections. Although his party may have gained in popularity, it seems as though Farage himself is not cut out for a life in politics. If anything, his Uranus-Pluto conjunction in Virgo and combative, undiplomatic Aries Sun points to a man who is better off remaining an armchair critic – he is too much of a non-conformist and a rebel to be part of the political establishment and seems to function best as an outsider, using shock and awe tactics to gain press attention and popular support for his message.
Boris Bounces into Parliament
As I mentioned in my first blog on the subject, Boris Johnson is a politician very much on the rise. After his success as London Mayor, many people are beginning to see him as a potential successor to David Cameron, who has indicated that he does’t intend to remain at the helm of the Conservative Party for a third term whatever happens.
His re-election as an MP (after a spell in the political doghouse for getting involved in a number of sex scandals) does seem, from an astrological point of view, to be the beginning of what could be a very successful period for him career-wise. Looking at Johnson’s transits on transits on election day (May 7th 2015) it seems significant that his chart ruler, Venus, is conjunct his natal Sun in Gemini, the sign of the politician, in the 9th house of the law – a position that seems to reinforce the astrological indicators present in the solar eclipse chart (Boris’ natal Sun-Venus conjunction is rising).
What’s more, both transiting Venus in Gemini and the Sagittarius Moon (ruler of his Midheaven = career status, public standing) are straddling (one could say, activating) Johnson’s nodal axis, suggesting that destiny may be at work in terms of his re-appointment as an Member of Parliament. The hand of fate seems to be further reinforced by the fact that the nodal axis of the transit chart happen to be straddling Johnson’s AS-DS axis.
To add to all the auspicious auguries, Johnson’s natal Jupiter is being aspected by both the transiting Sun and Pluto, which suggests that may may benefit directly from the Sun-Pluto trine we were discussing earlier. In astrological terms, then, he looks good to go! Let’s hope he doesn’t ruin everything by having another affair…
The 2015 election was also a victory for women in politics – the number of female MPs rose by 30%, which I think is symbolised by the prominence of Venus – the ultimate femine symbol – in Gemini – the sign of the orator and politician – which is found on the 7th house cusp of the UK General Election chart.
Nowhere was this better illustrated than by the increase in popularity of Nicola Sturgeon, the former deputy to Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland who took over from him after he resigned amidst disappointing results in the wake of the Scotland Independence vote. Under her stewardship, the Scottish National Party went on to win 56 out of 59 possible seats for Scotland in Parliament – a historical record, especially if you consider that in the previous election, they only manage to win 6!
Of course, the first thing that springs to mind is Margaret Thatcher – the first female prime minister of Britain – and it is rather telling, if a little ironic, that Sturgeon cites her hatred of Margaret Thatcher as one of the main drivers of her political career. In the Daily Mail, she is quoted as saying that:
‘Thatcher was the motivation for my entire political career,’ Sturgeon later recalled. ‘I hated everything she stood for. This was the genesis of my nationalism. I hated the fact that she was able to do what she was doing and yet no one I knew in my entire life had voted for her.’
These days, of course, she is more likely to be compared to Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, who ranks just above her in terms of Facebook popularity with regards to female politicians. From an astrological point of view, the two women have even more in common: both are Sun sign Cancerians with the Moon in cool, level-headed Aquarius. Both also have Venus in no-nonsense, pragmatic Virgo. However, one major difference is that Sturgeon has Scorpio, as opposed to Sagittarius, rising, which may be why journalists and critics often refer to her as ‘merciless’, ‘dangerous’ and earlier on in her career, ‘spiky’. No doubt she and Hilary Clinton, a Sun Scorpio, could swap a few anecdotes about these rather sexist labels.
Aside from the rise of what the Scotsman newspaper has dubbed the ‘Cult of Nicola,’ and what she means for girl power, a more pressing question for the UK is what the SNP election results may mean for the union with regards to future devolution and Scottish independence, and tied in with this, the political fate of Alex Salmond.
Scotland’s First Minister shares some interesting synastry with the astrology of her homeland (I am using the Aries ingress chart of 842 AD for this study, as advocated by Nicholas Campion in his book, The Book of World Horoscopes).
- Firstly, Nicola’s natal Venus is conjunct the Ascendant and Jupiter of the Scotland chart, suggesting that her values and the beliefs/political ideals of her countrymen are very much in alignment.
- Furthermore, her natal Mercury feeds into the Grand Cross present in the Scotland chart involving the nodes, a Moon-Uranus conjunction, Saturn in Capricorn and Mars in Cancer – a configuration that suggests defensiveness and a desire to break away from a financial dependency on England in much the same way as a teenage boy seeks autonomy from his mother, and yet remains very much financially and emotionally dependent on her/the status quo, signified by Saturn in Capricorn in the 5th house of children. Thus, we can expect Sturgeon to vocalise this via her Mercury and in terms of her financial proposals in relation to Westminster. However, given the almost karmic aspect of this configuration, it does seem unlikely that this will be achieved quickly or with ease.
- That said, her natal Pluto in Virgo, if placed onto a composite chart with that of the 1801 United Kingdom chart and that of Scotland itself, sits directly on the Virgo Moon of the Union chart and Part of Fortune in the first house of the Scotland chart. From this, I would deduce that she will push Alex Salmond’s devolution agenda and could end up being being a key agent of change for Scotland, possibly even helping it to achieve greater independence from Westminster. However, this seems unlikely to be a political devolution, but rather a financial one, if Sturgeon’s natal Uranus in Libra is anything to go by – it sits int he second house of the Scotland chart (money/income/finances) where it opposes the Uranus in Aries of the 1801 chart, located in the 8th house of the Scotland chart.
Of course, this analysis could end up becoming very detailed, and I don’t think this is the place for that. I shall save further analysis for a future blog.
People Power & Political Re-Engagement – Uranus
Overall, then when it come to this election, it seems clear that the fallout from the recent Uranus-Pluto squares, which finally came to an end in April 2015 after nearly three years of upheavel and chaos, also seem to have changed the political landscape for good.
One BBC commentator called this a highly ‘modern’ election (which sounds terribly Uranian) and indeed, in many ways, it was. The (up until now) untested role of social media and the internet (again, Uranus rules technology) seem to have set a precedent for how political campaigns will be conducted in the future, and will no doubt continue to play a major role in reaching young voters.
The effect of social forces (people power, anyone?) and the youth vote – all very apt for Uranus in Aries – seems to have led to a resurgence of engagement with the political process (aptly symbolised by Pluto in Capricorn). As I mentioned earlier, voter turnout was the highest its been for nearly 20 years!
I suspect that Uranus in Aries seems to have played a role in reviving the very 60’s idea that the individual (Aries) can make a difference if they team up with other like-minded people (Uranus) and challenge the status quo (Pluto in Capricorn) – something we’ve seen a lot of in recent years, as we have seen from the Arab Spring.
Furthermore, many of the more progressive political parties have done a lot of fundraising online via crowdfunding platforms – the green Party in particular was very successful at this. And I suspect that this will be a trend that will continue for some time – certainly as long as Uranus is in Aries.
The only sad thing for me about this election was how badly the Liberal Democrats were affected – I do think that the newspaper journalist, James Kirkup, was right when he said that history will treat Nick Clegg and his party much more kindly than the voters did in this election. I noticed that the Conservatives took a lot of credit for coalition policies that were actually proposed by the Lib Dems, including the raising of the non-taxable threshold, more money for diasbled children in schools (pupil premium), reform of the banks, same-sex marriage and defending civil liberties such as internet privacy and reforming the libel laws to protect people from criticising academics and firms who publish research, amongst other things. (See these info-graphics for some summaries)
With the Liberal Democrats recently announcing the appointment of their new leader, Tim Farron, it is interesting to me that Lib Dem membership has risen by over 18,000 since the General Election. In his first speech as leader, he said,
All political philosophies rest on a view of human nature. The Liberal view is an optimistic one… When afforded the freedom, dignity and respect that is due to all individuals, people generally show an enormous capacity to use their talents for good.
My first core value, therefore, is liberty – the right of people to make the most of their lives: free to develop their talents, to say what they think and to protest against what they dislike according to their own values, free of a controlling, intrusive state and of a stifling conformity, and free to choose their own occupation or to set up their own business. A diverse society is a stronger society.
Obviously fairness and liberalism are not about to vanish overnight, and as a Libran, I am gladdened by this.