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Alan Milburn: Leader of Labour's election campaign
Alan Milburn is a former member of Tony Blair's Cabinet, and is currently the chairperson of Labour's election strategy committee. He resigned from the Cabinet in June 2003 citing his reason for doing so as wanting to spend more time with his wife and children, however few believed him. Some speculated that because there was a coming rebellion within the Labour party about plans to reform/destroy the NHS, Milburn resigned as Cabinet Secretary of State for Health well before D-day so that he could be spared any damage to his reputation, and thus be resurrected later on in a new role.
Lo and behold, by September 2004 he'd apparently had enough of his family and it was announced that Milburn was returning to Blair's team to help Labour win the coming election. The official statement was that his role would be to supervise the work of the Number 10 policy directorate, the PM's strategy unit, and to co-ordinate the development of policy across government. Though not a Cabinet member, he gained an office in the Cabinet building as well as within 10 Downing Street as part of this new - and controversial - role. Milburn described his responsibilities thus:
"in charge of general election planning, the overall strategy and policy presentation and, crucially, the formulation and development of policies that will eventually lead, through the proper process, to a Labour manifesto in the next general election".Commentators reported that Gordon Brown's nose had been put out of joint; in the previous two elections Gordon had played a similar role to that now being given to Milburn. The authority of one of Gordon Brown's supporters was also reshuffled, with part of it being taken off him and given to Milburn. Although Number 10 denied it, political experts said that there were clearly 'real tensions and big historical issues' involved in these role adjustments.
Alan Milburn's relationship with Tony Blair goes back to the time when he, Blair and Mandelson would regularly travel together from their north east constituency seats to London.
Milburn's time of birth is unknown so we can't be sure of the exact position of his Moon. It could be in Aries or it could be in Taurus. At mid-day it was at 0 degrees of Aries, so the odds are 50/50.
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The blue markers and labels are Blair's planets and points. The pink/magenta ones are Milburn's. A mixture of blue and pink/magenta labels with red markers show a midpoint of one of Blair's planets with one of Milburn's. The orange lines are the aspects: Op = opposition, Tr = trine, Sq = square, Ssq = sesquiquadrate.
The pivotal position of Alan Milburn's Mercury stands out in this diagram. It links with Tony Blair's Sun, Venus, Jupiter, and Uranus. These are all contacts denoting policy, ideology, strategy, and presentation. Milburn can feed information and ideas into Blair in these areas, at the same time as articulating Blair's vision and values in the same areas.
Milburn's Moon conjunct Blair's Mercury shows that they are comfortable communicating with one another, speaking for one another, 'completing one another's sentences'. They understand one another and are on a similar wavelength.
Alan's Sun-Venus conjunction is itself conjunct Tony's Moon; these two identify closely with one another and feel a kinship. These close Moon-Venus contacts are present in a few of Blair's relationships with his 'Blairites', showing a repeating pattern in who Blair chooses to surround himself with and who is drawn to be part of his team.
Alan's Sun trine Tony's Ascendant and Mars again shows how their identities fit together easily. This aspect though shows a dynamism to their interaction. It's an contact denoting that they can support one another in their desire to lead and to win.
Their mutual Uranus/Uranus midpoint close to Blair's Midheaven (MC) suggests that their combined desire to 'modernise' - that favourite Blair word and the essence of the 'new' in 'New Labour' - is channelled directly through Blair's career goals. The MC is also the point of public perception, where a person's status and reputation takes shape. With Uranus/Uranus there Blair's reputation as a reformer and revolutionary is given fresh impetus by this working partnership, but also his autocratic, out of touch, superficial, fickle and negatively disruptive side could be exacerbated leading to a sudden loss of respect.
It's interesting to note that Milburn recently (15th January 2005 in a speech at the Fabian Society) announced that if Labour is re-elected there are more controversial reforms in the offing. Some would argue that the speech was a triumph of the New Labour spirit, others would argue that it was an example of dangerously out of touch and lop-sided ideology that would, if Labour is re-elected, cause more problems than it would solve.
One thing is certain: Alan Milburn has been given a role as a mouthpiece of Labour's intentions for the party's third term, and so it's up to the public to choose what they want: more of the same, or something new.
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