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BBC: The world's largest broadcaster versus the UK government
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The BBC was 'born' just days after the UK's Mercury return; Mercury is in Sagittarius in the 3rd house, exactly as it is in the UK's chart, and thus the 'state broadcaster' is well tuned to the national frequency. Because the BBC was created on the same day of the year and at the same time and place as the United Kingdom itself, it shares the same Ascendant, house cusps, and Sun position - an establishment organisation indeed, particularly as the Sun opposes Pluto across the IC-MC axis, the institution is deeply intertwined with 'the powers that be' who grant its life and existence and thus have the power to remove it. In modern times the concept of the Royal Charter may seem odd and anachronistic, but astrologically the royal power invested in the Prime Minister by proxy is very much part and parcel of the organisation's life.  The BBC's Moon-Saturn conjunction shows that the 'mother' of the organisation is the state, the government. 'The state broadcaster' is very much encapsulated in Moon-Saturn in Sagittarius in the 3rd house.

When placing this chart alongside that of the UK, we find that the Sun-Pluto-node-MC-IC of the BBC links very closely with the UK's MC-IC-Moon-Sun. This surely indicates an extremely establishment company whose existence is utterly dependent on the state. Leaving aside the debate about whether or not that is healthy or unhealthy on a political and social level, these type of astrology connections are known for possessiveness, control, intervention, revenge, and resentment. 

At 6:07am on 29th May 2003 [view chart] the BBC broadcast a news bulletin that went virtually unnoticed in the nation's press, but which the government's Director of Communications (Alastair Campbell) noticed and took action against. This broadcast brought to a head an ongoing dispute between the government and the BBC - although some would say an attack on the BBC by the government - which has rumbled on ever since. At the time of writing it has produced three resignations in the BBC - two at the top and one journalist - and perhaps one in the government, if we include Alastair Campbell's resignation in August 2003. This dispute goes to the heart of the BBC's independence from the government, and tests its capacity to act as a state-funded broadcaster without being a handmaiden to the government. In August/September 2003 transiting Saturn moved into orb of opposing Chiron across the BBC's and the UK's and MC axis, thus both institutions were experiencing tough times in their public standing, facing criticism and being held publicly accountable for their actions.

At the time and place of the broadcast, the transiting Ascendant axis was very closely square Uranus in the BBC's chart. This daily cycle occurred in the context of transiting Uranus squaring the BBC's Moon-Saturn 'mother government' conjunction - Uranus was stationing at the time of the broadcast, symbolising churning turmoil in the normally stable relationship, and breaking or divorcing the 'smothering' connection. The Ascendant was on the midpoint of the BBC's Neptune-Chiron trine, linking into the grand trine with Mercury, and in fact the Descending degree had just passed over Mercury, i.e. Mercury had set in the sky, just slipping beneath the Western horizon.

Just one month before the broadcast transiting Chiron stationed within 1.5 degrees of the BBC's Venus, the BBC's chart ruler, in opposition to the UK's Moon. This Venus-Moon opposition reflects an empathic connection that could nevertheless turn to rivalry and be too close for comfort. At the time of the broadcast it was semi-squaring the Moon-Saturn conjunction and slowly moving back to oppose Pluto. By the time of Alastair Campbell's resignation in August 2003, Chiron had just exactly opposed the BBC's Pluto. This Pluto is on the midpoint of the UK's Moon-MC conjunction - 'mother parliament' - hence blood was spilt in the row about the BBC's relationship with the government. Chiron turned direct and advanced back across the opposition to Pluto, and in January 2004 it exactly conjoined the BBC's Venus on the 10th/11th. Just a couple of weeks later, the Hutton Inquiry report into the death of Dr David Kelly, the UK weapons inspector who was found dead in mid-2003 after being questioned by MPs looking into the circumstances of the UK's decision to undertake military action in Iraq, was published. Days after the publication, the three BBC resignations took place and the row between the government and the BBC entered a new phase. Coincident with this, transiting Uranus had moved away from the square to the Moon-Saturn conjunction., but throughout February 2004 Uranus once again moved into orb of the square. The aspect become exact right at the beginning of March, reflecting more developments pertaining to this 'cutting the ties that bind' theme between the two institutions.

Staying with transiting Uranus for the moment, the station of Uranus in June 2003 occurred as Uranus conjoined the UK's Pluto. Uranus' retrograde period then encompassed most of the Hutton Inquiry's time-table. As Uranus comes back to the conjunction with the UK's Pluto we have the 'and now, what's next' phase of the transit, yet this transit will not end until November/December 2004 as Uranus once again stations on the UK's Pluto. This time though the aspect is within minutes of exactitude, so we can expect that this will be the most intense time, when liberation from these dark patterns of power use/abuse can finally be achieved. In a national chart Pluto is the secret services, including the intelligence services, and what goes on in the 'corridors of power'. It represents the nation's darkness, what goes on behind closed doors, what is unspeakable and unmentionable. Transits of Uranus symbolise the time when things are brought to light, examined, challenged, freed up. Thus, in the Hutton Inquiry as well as the two parliamentary select committee inquiries that the UK has undertaken, there are clear astrological correspondences regarding timeliness of the activity.

This is not a time though when politicians are likely to be able to keep a lid on secrets. Uranus' reputation for the truth means that the public are unlikely to have any patience for 'spin' - the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth are demanded, as Pluto's capacity for unflinching scrutiny combines with Uranus' capacity to illuminate. The two together are uncompromising, revolutionary, and care nothing for the status quo. Those who are easily shocked or offended, or who wish to maintain a 'closed shop' are unlikely to fare well at this time in the UK. Interestingly, this transit also coincides with a resurgence of interest in the Princess Diana crash of 1997, and the UK's coroner has just begun the inquiry process that has been delayed for such a ridiculously long period of time.

How might this argument between the government and the BBC end? Only time will tell. As transiting Saturn again conjoins the BBC's and UK's Sun-IC May 2004 there may be more criticism of both, and more people being held publicly accountable for their earlier actions and decisions. In June, transiting Saturn will oppose the BBC's Pluto and so there may well be an attempt to restrict its power during that time. There could also be a change made that allows the BBC to be more self-contained, independent of the government's political whims (the BBC's Pluto is on the UK's Moon/MC midpoint and conjunct them both, symbolising the power of the BBC being dependent on the changing ruling government).

The former BBC Director General, Greg Dyke, has signed a book deal, and the revelations from various sources about both the government and the BBC are still coming thick and fast on a daily basis. Astrologically, the UK's Saturn in Leo in the 11th house conjoins the BBC's Neptune, opposes its Jupiter, and trines its Mercury, thus strongly linking with the BBC's important grand trine. Perhaps this is astrologically where the government tries to 'reign in' (use of the word 'reign', with its royal connotations, is entirely deliberate!) the boundary-less and free BBC. By being in charge of renewing the licence via the Royal Charter process, the government is able to place restrictions on the BBC.

On the day of the controversial BBC report in May 2003 transiting Mars was just a couple of degrees away from opposing the UK's Saturn, thus there was a triggering of this connection at that time. The BBC's Neptune-Jupiter opposition is on the midpoint of the UK's Venus/Pluto, so the UK's national funds and state wealth are funnelled into the BBC's broadcasting (Jupiter is broadcasting, as is Mercury). There is something here about the compulsory nature of the licence fee; there is no freedom to choose to subscribe to main two BBC channels, it is instead compulsory to have a licence and it is assumed by the authorities that each household has a television, irrespective of whether or not that is true. To outsiders (and some insiders) this can seem a somewhat quirky arrangement, to say the least.

Whilst the BBC collects the licence fee from the citizens, it is the government that sets the framework (Saturn) around this, and can alter the BBC's share of those funds from one hundred percent, which is what the BBC receives now, to whatever it chooses. The government has already said that reviewing the percentage received may be part of the changes made when it comes to reviewing the BBC's charter. Although the BBC's current charter does not expire until the end of 2006, the charter review process is starting now. This means that although the government must hold an election by May 2005, there is still time for it to re-set the broadcasting corporation's boundaries. The Uranus transit is therefore a vital one to watch as until January 2005 it will be moving in and out of orb of the square to  the BBC's 'mother government apron strings' Moon-Saturn conjunction, and this period coincides with the government holding meetings with the BBC regarding the arrangements of its next charter.

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