This surreally dreary British election campaign is apparently the closest-run in a generation. The opinion polls bounce back and forth between Labour and Conservative.
From the public discourse, you might not suspect that there are serious issues to be resolved. There’s little talk of security, the global economy, Britain’s future in a changing world, climate change or — perhaps most pressingly of all — inequality.
There is much talk of opinion polls, spin doctors and politician’s spouses. Fluff.
The rise in inequality in this country has been striking over the past 10-15 years, and it has accelerated dramatically over the last five: inequality between high-earners and the rest, between generations, and between regions. The well-off have circled the wagons it seems and are determined to keep out late entrants, including their own grandchildren.
For the past half century, two opposing forces have kept Britain’s economy in a kind of balance: socialism and free-market capitalism, represented by the two biggest parties, Labour and the Conservatives respectively.
The Conservatives have historically gotten rid of restrictions and allowed the free flow of capital. Inevitably this system, as Thomas Piketty has pointed out, if left unchecked, ends up with a tiny minority — the one percent — owning everything and the rest of the population working as wage slaves or less. You could argue that for much of history, that’s what the world has been like.
So to redress the balance, it’s useful to have systems of wealth redistribution — for example a national health service, minimum wage, pensions, trade unions, corporation tax, in short all the tools we recognise in modern democracies that make life a little fairer and a lot less scary. Traditionally, this was the job of the Labour party.
But socialism if left unfettered, ends up with the state controlling everything from housing to food to what you can read. You end up wrapped in red-tape and with a demoralising lack of personal freedom.
That is a highly simplified version, of course.
The switching back and forth between Labour and Conservatives since WW2 has maintained a kind sliding balance(ish). You can see this in the UK natal chart with Libra, the sign of balance, rising and the nodal axis across Libra/Aries.
Astrologically, unrestrained capitalism is Jupiter power. Jupiter, the planet of expansion, speculation, optimism and increase, requires the restraint of Saturn, who makes rules and regulations. Conversely, total state control is Saturnian.
These are the two kings of the ancient astrologers. Clearly, even in Babylon a few thousand years ago, a good state was run using a balance of Jupiter and Saturn power. In the UK chart, these kings are both in the royal sign of Leo — this has served Britain reasonably well over the last 200 years. Jupiter is in the house of the rulers, and Saturn in the house of parliament. The excesses of the rulers checked by democratic institutions.
Yet over the past five years this Conservative-Liberal coalition government has been exercising austerity, and surely that is Saturnian. The cutting of jobs, taxes and social benefits, the tightening of the national belt: that is all Saturn with his sharp scythe: first in Libra (we’re all in this together), then in Scorpio (let’s pay down the debt). Restrictive Saturn has gone through the first house of identity and the second house of money during this parliament.
But some of the results of this austerity programme have been strangely Jupiterian. Jupiter has been riding rampant across southern England, inflating house prices, importing oligarchs, overpaying bankers and managers.
Another face of Jupiter is compassion and of Saturn, punishment.
In fact, the austerity programme has been a form of punishment — although not, as it turns out, for the people who created the recession, but for easy scapegoats. Saturn in Scorpio and Libra thirty years ago saw exactly the same Saturnian behaviour from a Conservative government, most memorably in the crushing of the miners’ strike and an “austerity budget” from then-Chancellor Geoffrey Howe.
So you might associate unrestrained compassion with the nanny state, and punishment with Conservative attitudes to the workers (in the broadest sense of that word). In fact then, both ends of the political spectrum must balance elements of Jupiter and Saturn.
Take a look at what’s happening to the UK chart on the day of the election. I’m using the one for 1801, which is consistently accurate for economics and politics.
The transiting North Node is just 2° from the UK Ascendant. What is more, the recent eclipse on April 4 was on the UK North Node. A door is opening for the nation, and a door is slamming shut.
The North Node can signify future direction, and a transit is a turning point, the turning of a corner. Because of how the nodes work in this chart, there will be rebalancing of partnerships within the UK and outside.
The North Node was exactly conjunct the UK Midheaven 9° Cancer at the significant 1945 election which ushered in sweeping social changes in this country, including the creation of the National Health Service.
On the day of the election, the nodal axis will be exactly squaring UK’s Midheaven — and in the opposite direction, 1° from the UK Sun. This puts a critical angle and a most crucial planet on the bendings, a significant point in any chart, but maybe especially so now, since it is this same area of the ecliptic that has been assaulted by Uranus-Pluto for three years.
So this is an important election no matter what the outcome. It’s a turning point.
Back in May 2010 at the last election, Jupiter and Saturn were opposing each other across Pisces and Virgo, hope and practical problem solving — and theoretically the Liberal Party balanced out the Tories in coalition. As soon as Saturn went into Libra — boom — we got the austerity budget. While Jupiter was in Pisces, its own sign, we heard about “Compassionate Conservatism”; when Jupiter moved into Aries, the silence was deafening.
But now the kings have moved on, and on the day of the election they will be trining each other by sign. This shows a willingness to work together, but it’s fleeting as Saturn soon moves back into Scorpio and a harsh angle to Jupiter by sign.
Jupiter may initially empower the rulers, by which we could assume the Westminster cabals of either Conservative or Labour, but within a few weeks it may become clear that parliament holds the whip hand during this term. Indeed, it’ll be interesting to see if that trJupiter opposition to the UK Venus helps those strong women, Scottish nationalist leader Nicola Sturgeon and Welsh nationalist leader Leanne Wood. Teamwork is going to be absolutely essential for the first year.
Meanwhile, trSaturn, the enforcer, will demand restraint in the following areas: immigration, transport, education, and relations with our closest neighbours — within and without the UK. Last time Saturn was in Sagittarius (1986-88), Uranus, the liberator, was there too, so it was an unusual transit. However, for much of his journey through Sagittarius in the coming two years, Saturn will be supported by Uranus in Aries, the sign of the individual. We may see personal privacy legislation and restrictions on the internet.
Looking at Cameron’s chart his best tactic is to strike fear into the heart of the public. In contrast, Miliband needs to get out of Westminster and talk directly to the people. He ought to borrow John Major’s soapbox.