Saturn delivers a low blow to the Prime Minister: Do astrologers rather than political pundits hold the key to John Major's destiny? Simon Midgley asks the oracles

SIMPLY not up to it or just plain unlucky? Time and again in the past two years John Major has attempted to regain the political high ground - only for it all to go horribly wrong.

On Friday, the Prime Minister made a keynote speech attempting to reaffirm his 'back to basics' crusade at precisely the moment that details started to leak of a newspaper interview in which Norman Lamont, his former Chancellor, was said to regard him as 'weak and hopeless.'

So what is the problem? Chance's hapless victim? Or is fate or perhaps more worryingly the movement of the stars shaping his political destiny?

Majorie Orr, the Daily Express's astrologer, is in no doubt. 'Saturn was in the wrong position when he became PM - it was below the horizon. Saturn moves round the chart in a 29-year cycle and determines your highs and lows.

'Poor John Major ended up as Prime Minister in a low period. There is a time in life to be successful and a time to go away and play.'

Saturn offers self-discipline, the ability to handle responsibility and to structure one's life.

Up until becoming Prime Minister, she said, Mr Major had been very lucky. Jupiter is in a strong position in his chart - Mr Major is an Aries ram born around 3am on 29 March 1943 - and conferred luck in his career. It did not however grant discipline.

But Meredith Belbin, a Cambridge management psychologist, said that the problem was that Mr Major was adopting the wrong leadership style. He is trying to emulate his predecessor and play the role of Strong Leader with Vision.

However the public sees him more as a conscientious (branch) bank manager. Mr Major, Dr Belbin said, should adopt a low-profile style more in keeping with his true self.

Derek Appleby, a Hemel Hempstead astrologer who specialises in mundane (political) astrology, said that Major's moon is rising in Capricorn which, deep down, makes him very insecure. Also at his birth, he added, ominously, the Sun was in opposition to a dark and watery

Neptune.

'At its best this can give him enormous psychic insights. At worst it's quite treacherous, slippery and could get him into all kinds of situations, fighting off deceit, plots . . .'

Most worryingly a progressed ascendant is rising to exacerbate this tricky opposition into a potent force for the worse.

This happens only once or twice in a lifetime, said Mr Appleby. John Major may not survive the next 12 months, he predicted.

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