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The Next British General Election

By Nick Campion

One forecast we can make with fair certainty for British politics in 2001 is that every government action will be greeted as evidence that the Labour Party is positioning itself to announce - and win - a general election. We can never be sure when the next general election will be called, for that is the Prime Minister's prerogative. All we know is that the next election must be held no later than June 2002. However, if the government is doing well in the opinion polls it will prefer to go to the country in 2001, in the spring or autumn depending on when it thinks it has the best chance. If the government is doing badly it will hold on until 2002, a risky strategy because it will leave itself with little room to recover from any unexpected crises. We may pose two questions; 'when will the election be held' and 'who will win?'. I'd like to approach both by reference to existing published theories, those of John Naylor and Esther Arendell.

When?

On 19 February 1979 John Naylor gave a talk at the Astrological Lodge of London entitled 'Sensitive Points in Mundane Astrology'. This aroused considerable interest at the time as the then Labour government was limping towards the final crisis which was to usher in the Thatcherite era. For those who are interested, the lecture was later published in the Quarterly (1). Citing Sepharial's Law of Values in his support, Naylor adapted an established method of working out sensitive zodiac degrees in the absence of reliable horoscopes. Thus, to calculate the relevant astrological factors for cities one would look at series of similar events (such as catastrophic fires for London) and check for the repetition of significant degrees. As Sepharial gave 9 degrees Gemini and 14 degrees Virgo as London's sensitive degrees, Naylor concluded that British general elections tend to be held when there are important planetary alignments at nine or fourteen degrees of Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius or Pisces. Current political wisdom assumes that the government will aim for an election in May 2001, following the anticipated 'give-away' budget in April. It so happens that for the whole of 2001 Pluto hovers between thirteen and fourteen degrees of Sagittarius, suggesting that the entire year is an ,election zone'. The strongest planetary aspects to Pluto are the Mars opposition on March 18, the Jupiter opposition on May 6, and the Saturn oppositions on August 5 and November 2. The Full Moons on June 6, September 2 and November 30 fall at 10 degrees Sagittarius, Virgo and Gemini respectively. The complicating factor is that Saturn also occupies the critical degrees in January, March and May 2002.

However, if we consider non-astrological factors, the government is likely to need the spring (and the budget) to create favourable economic conditions for an autumn election and is unlikely to want to risk leaving the election until 2002 in case it has to deal with the fall out from a bad winter. Thus both astrology and commonsense point to an autumn, perhaps October election. On the other hand, Blair might want to repeat his May 1997 victory and choose May for superstitious reasons, exactly as Thatcher chose June in 1987 after her 1983 victory, but Naylor's rules do not indicate which year - 2001 0r 2002? It's worth noting though, that Naylor's rules were not relevant, at least in terms of planetary transits, to the 1997 election.

Who will win?

The next question concerns the victor. In 1990 Esther Arendell published an article in the Journal arguing that the government is most likely to win an election when Mars is within 5 degrees of either the Sun or Ascendant when the polls open (2). As it happens there is no Sun-Mars conjunction in 2001, nor is there any Sun-Ascendant conjunction at 7 am., when the polls would open. Thus, according to this rule, the Labour Party would lose. In spite of its huge majority, this would be easily achieved: if the Tories win back twenty-nine marginal seats, which is highly likely, and one in five Labour supporters fails to vote, Labour would be denied a majority. In fact there is Mars-Ascendant conjunction within an orb of 5 degrees until 24 April 2001. According to the electional 'Mars Effect' Labour cannot win before then. However, events then rapidly become highly auspicious for the government. On 2 May, the Thursday (elections must be held on Thursdays) closest to the fifth anniversary of Labour's 1997 victory, Naylor's sensitive degrees are occupied by Venus at 7 degrees Gemini, Mars conjunct the Ascendant at 12 degrees Gemini and Saturn at 13 degrees Gemini. On 8 May Mercury will be at 7 degrees Gemini, Saturn at 14 degrees Gemini, Venus at 15 degrees Gemini, Mars at 16 degrees Gemini and the Ascendant at 17 degrees Gemini opposed Pluto. In terms of contest rules (3), the governing party, ruled by the ascendant (some would say the tenth house), is Gemini, signified by Mercury in its own sign while the Moon is applying to sextiles of all the Geminian planets. Mars is still within 5 degrees orb of the Ascendant on 16 May, but only by I minute of arc. According to the rules the last two Thursdays on which the election may legally be held are the 23 and 30 May. It is somewhat unlikely that the government would go to the constitutional limit.

Conclusion:

According to John Naylor's rules the entire period from January 2001 to May 2002 is an election zone; the astrological period actually comes to an end at the same time as the constitutional limit to Labour's term of office. According to Esther Arendell's rules the government cannot win an election before 24 April 2002. Matching both rules then, the only days when the government can both hold and win an election are in 2002: 25 April, 2 May, 9 May and 16 May.

However, the prospect that Labour cannot win challenges my political antennae. I don't vote Labour, yet my perception is that the Labour front bench team is much stronger than the Conservative, and that the latter would probably crumble under the pressure of an election campaign. Yet Esther Arendell's Mars Effect offers an unequivocal prediction. What other ways are there to predict the outcome of elections? Some might pose horary questions, a method I have found unreliable for political matters. Others might examine the leaders' nativities, an approach I find too complicated on the grounds of the sheer amount of information to be considered. Those who wish to do this though, have plenty of time over the coming months and they might well come to different conclusions. I would prefer to examine other mundane charts, such as those for the political parties or the coming into office of the government. It is in this spirit that I reprint the following data all timed from the television.

Data for the 1997 Election:

7.00 am, 1 May - Polls open

3.15 pm, 2 May - Labour secures majority in the House of Commons

11.25 am, 2 May - John Major announces intention to resign as party leader. He arrives at Buckingham palace at 11.30 am and leaves at 12.03 pm

12.30 pm, 2 May - Tony Blair arrives at Palace to be asked to form a government. We can assume that the Quees asked him to form a government at 12.40 pm. From this moment he was prime minister

1.15 pm, 2 May - Blair enters 10 Downing Street

6.00 pm, 3 May - May: meeting of Privy Council at Buckingham Palance at which the Queen gave Blair the seals of office as First Lord of the Treasury (his official title - the prime minister has no formal constitutional existence). Other new cabinet ministers kissed the Queen's hand and were sworn in as Privy Councillors.

References:

1. Naylor, John, ,Sensitive Points in Mundane Astrology', Astrology Quarterly, Vol. 54, no. 1-2, Spring 1980, Summer 1980.

2. Arendell, Esther, 'The Mars Effect', Astrological Journal, Vol. 32 no. 1, Jan/Feb. 1990, pp. 49-52.

3. For the traditional rules of war (which form the basis of contest rules) see Zoller, Robert. 'The Astrologer as Military Adviser in the Middle Ages', Astrology Quarterly, Vol. 62 no 3, Vol. 64 no 1-3.

Biography: Nick Campion is the author of Mundane Astrology (with Michael Baigent and Charles Harvey) and The Book of World Horoscopes. He is developing a web site at www.NickCampion.com, e mail: ncampion@caol.demon.co.uk.

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