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heavenly are Blair's planets sweet?

November 5th will once more see The Guy burned in effigy, despite recent attempts at his rehabilitation by Antonia Fraser. It will also be Election Day in the United States, as it is on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November every four years. With Clinton's 20-point lead in the polls, Hillary will not be conjuring the spirit of Eleanor Roosevelt to divine the winner.

As to our general election, I can't see what all the fuss is about. Astrologers could replace pollsters altogether, if only they had better spin doctors. Since most pundits now consider May Day the most likely election date, any astrocomputer worth its salt should be able to predict the result: all one needs to do is look at the position in the sky of the planetary messenger Mercury for 2 May to see who gets good news and who bad on the morning after.

Interestingly, that date does throw up some intriguing results, astrally speaking, if Who's Who is correct about the candidates' birthdays. Looking at his planets generally, Blair's stable (if driven and somewhat weird) planetary array shows not a hint of Satanic influence, despite Saatchi's best efforts. And with the Tory leader's Saturn hitting his Mars, Blair probably finds Major something of a wet blanket - even in addition to the obvious reasons.

On 1 May the planet Jupiter - the Great Benefic - kisses Blair's moon, which should bring him all kinds of luck - especially for high political office, one of Jupiter's fields of command. Since Blair's birthday falls on 6 May, it is his time of year anyway. As for newsy little Mercury, it is sitting in the first degree of Taurus on 2 May.

This brings only semi-good news for Major, as far as I can see, with his own Mercury sitting 30 degrees away; perhaps his margin of defeat will be less than polls are predicting. But the planet of communication will be only five degrees off Blair's Mercury, which lies in a late degree of the preceding sign Aries. The good news for Labour is that since Mercury is retrograde at this time, it is actually moving backwards towards their leader's planet. So Blair could be the man of the moment - but only after some delay.

Long ago, Plato identified the phenomenon of retrograde motion - a Planet overtaking the earth's orbit gives the appearance of moving backwards in the sky - as the problem which astronomers needed to solve. Soothsayers always found it highly significant as well. For our purposes, a retrograde Mercury on Election Day threatens to overturn results or confound expectations,

This may sound good for Major, but it is more likely to enhance the possibility of a hung Parliament. And since Ashdown's Mercury was retrograde when he was born, he seems to fit in best with this manifestation, and may just get to sway the balance. The moon on his sun at midnight of Election Day could see a big change in his status, and Jupiter near his Venus could make him everyone's sweetheart. There may not be anything to astrology, but John Major might be well advised to consider calling the election for another day - just in case.