“I’m sorry, but you were given the wrong information. Your Sagem Modem is not compatible with Windows Vista,” the Tiscali troubleshooter told me. This was me trying to get my laptop connected to a modem again, after a year of a troubled wireless connection. I’m the awkward one that’s trying to step back into the Dark Ages. “How do you know it’s not you that’s wrong rather than your colleague?” I replied.
We went round in circles for a while, each repeating our positions, with the Tiscali operator occasionally offering me a free wireless router. Eventually she gave in and offered to try and help me connect to the internet, in order to prove her point. Within 2 minutes I was connected. I was roaring with laughter, and she seemed a bit nonplussed. But it shows what you can achieve under Mercury Retrograde.
Gordon Brown has been going up in my estimation recently. I still think he’s a crap leader and always will be. Having half your planets, including Sun and Mars, in 12th House Pisces, does not lend itself to having a strong public presence, which a leader needs these days. Personally I don’t mind that too much if I think the Prime Minister is able to make the right decisions and get them through Parliament.
Gordon Brown got his first Brownie points for bringing his arch-enemy Peter Mandelson, the so-called 'Prince of Darkness', back into the cabinet. Admittedly it came out of desperation, with his leadership under serious threat and the banking system collapsing (we need a name for what’s happening now, like we have ‘9/11’, or ‘11/9’ in English English. Any suggestions?) Mandelson, with his Scorpio Mercury square to Pluto, may bring his old poison back with him. Already there are reports that a few weeks ago he gave George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, a detailed account of Gordon Brown’s faults. So it may not work, but credit to Gordon Brown for not being his old divisive self.
Gordon Brown also gets Brownie points for the £500bn bailout of the UK banking system. It is larger than the US bailout, and in an economy 1/10 the size. So it is hugely bold compared to what the Americans have done. I think it probably won’t work, because there is an avalanche on the way that can’t be stopped. But governments still need to try and save the thing.
Brown’s other Brownie points are for threatening to use anti-terrorist legislation to freeze Iceland’s assets in the UK, in response to the Iceland government allowing £4.5bn of British savers' money to disappear along with some of its major banks.
Brown has Mars at 22 Pisces, which Uranus is conjoining by transit. And he is showing a surprising (Uranus) boldness (Mars).
Someone who has not impressed me lately is David Cameron, leader of the Opposition, and an apparent shoo-in as PM at the next election. He was filmed doing the rounds, visiting 'ordinary' people and discussing their concerns. He has this constipated expression which says 'I'm serious and I really am trying and I really am listening to you', and the effect it has is to make you feel he is shallow. His interest in social reform does appear to be genuine and longstanding. But the only policy intention he came out with in this programme was his desire to give married couples a tax break, which seems to me like a nasty right-wing thing to do.
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Cameron shares with Margaret Thatcher Sun in Libra and Moon in Leo. So there is some kind of strong and basic resonance there, even though it's not yet clear what that might be. Popularity in a politician is governed by Venus, which Cameron has at 7.32 Libra. This is interesting, because at the next election, probably in 2010, Pluto will be 2 degrees off a square to Cameron's Venus, and then exact the following year. This suggests that even though he may be the next PM, it will not be a shoo-in, there will be major issues emerging that he has to address to become electable. Barack Obama has Venus at 1 Cancer, which Pluto has been opposing this year. As Pluto began its first crossing, the Rev Wright issue blew up, and Obama was able to successfully deal with its threat to his electability. This was also, in my opinion, at the cost of a certain amount of integrity, for there was raw truth in some of what Rev Wright had to say. So the challenge is: to what extent do you sacrifice unwelcome truth (Pluto) in order to maintain your political popularity (Venus)? This may well be Cameron's challenge as well. And with Mercury in Scorpio square to his regal Moon-Jupiter, I expect to see him compromise the truth to some extent.