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Alastair Campbell: 'New Labour's spin doctor & election strategist
Alastair Campbell was Tony Blair's right hand man from at least the point when he became Blair's official spokesperson in 1994 (when Blair became leader of the Labour Party, three years before being elected in the 1997 election) up until his resignation in August 2003. After a few years being the Prime Minister's Official Spokesperson, Campbell moved on, becoming the lofty-sounding Director of Communications and Strategy. In real terms, this translated into 'Chief Spin Doctor'.
His impact in this role prompted some to tag him the most famous Downing Street press officer of all time, and the second most powerful man in government. In May 2004 Campbell made the breathtaking statement that the media, and not politicians, is responsible for 90% of the spin and that it is therefore the media that must change. That was his response to the official ministerial report that concluded that under Labour, special advisers (of which Campbell was one, and effectively still is one) have used more "aggressive" methods and that this has led to a more adversarial approach from the media.
Campbell's resignation came hot on the heels of the controversial Hutton Inquiry into the death of government official Dr David Kelly, amidst the row between the government and the BBC about whether or not Alastair Campbell had presided over the 'sexing up' of the UK government's 'dodgy dossier' on Iraq in order to convince the public that war against Iraq was necessary to protect them and their interests from Saddam Hussein.
In October 2004 Campbell told the BBC:
"I said on the day that I resigned from the job I did that I will always be Labour and come a general election I will be doing something. What it is is up to the prime minister and his colleagues."
In December 2004 it was officially announced that Campbell was indeed returning to the Labour team to play a part in the election campaign. It was reported that Alastair had written a campaign blueprint to get Labour re-elected but Downing Street gave no comment. In the same announcement, however, Alan Milburn confirmed that the style of the campaign will abandon the methods of the past. One newspaper reported:
"In a strategy driven by his former spin chief Alastair Campbell, Mr Blair will set out to meet as many voters as possible in an effort which will leave national papers and broadcasters largely sidelined. The Prime Minister would be put forward for a "grilling" by members of the public as Labour tries to distance itself from its association with formal photo-opportunities, press conferences and the other trappings of spin." - Scotsman newspaper (21/12/04)
As a side note, it's funny how political resignations never seem to mean the end of influence. See also the sections on Peter Mandelson and Alan Milburn, as just two examples of many, where a resignation doesn't seem to mean what it says.
Cambell's time of birth is unknown so we can't be sure of the exact position of his Moon, however the links with Tony Blair's chart and the charts of other 'New Labour' MPs who are close to Tony show a strong emphasis around 13-15 degrees of Aries, suggesting that his Moon is likely to not be far from that degree area.
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The lighter blue markers and labels are Blair's planets and points. The darker blue ones are Campbell's. A mixture of light blue and dark blue labels with red markers show a midpoint of one of Blair's planets with one of Mandelson's. The orange lines are the aspects: Tr = trine, Sq = square, Q = quintile, Sx = sextile, Ssx = semisextile.
Alastair Campbell and Tony Blair's planets form a tightly woven symmetrical formation across four signs, Aries to Cancer, with planets in each sign. This shows their joint mutually reinforcing focus on the intensely personal signs of the zodiac. These signs are concerned with 'I, me, mine' and their consciousness revolves around 'me, myself and I'. They are not the signs of impartial public interest, broader perspectives, or wholistic ideas. Instead, these signs focus on the establishment of the individual ego, and are therefore preoccupied with 'what I want, what I need, what I have to say, what I feel.' It does not mean that they are unable to be good politicians, but it does mean that the manner, style, and tactics of this pair will reflect these in-built priorities.
Campbell's Mercury conjoins Blair's Sun, symbolically portraying his role as Blair's herald. This is backed up by Blair's Mercury in quintile to Campbell's Jupiter. The planet Jupiter is literally made up of 'hot air' in the sense of gas, and is linked with spin. It is also linked with honesty. The fact that the halfway point between Blair's Neptune and Campbell's Neptune is in exactly the same place as Blair's Mercury, emphasises the input of 'imagination' to Blair's speeches and writing, rather than the 'honesty' approach. Which way it goes depends on the morality and self-development of the people involved, not on the astrology; it's up to Blair and Campbell what they do with it.
With his Sun conjunct Blair's Ascendant and Mars, Alastair Campbell is someone who shares a strong sense of identity with Blair, and vice versa. This is an aspect that shows how the two of them egg each other on to win, be first, shine the brightest, get ahead, and get the show on the road. When these two operate together, second best is not good enough. There could be competition for the limelight though.
The Moon-Venus conjunction is something that crops up in Alan Milburn's connections with Blair as well as Peter Mandelson's, both key 'Blairites' promoting the 'New Labour' agenda. In this case though there is also a Moon trine Venus aspect, so we have a doubling up of Moon-Venus themes, but it doesn't stop there. Blair's Sun is on Campbell's Moon-Venus midpoint, and also on their joint Venus/Venus midpoint, so all this is actually multiplied several times over. This configuration indicates a depth of loyalty and closeness that is more appropriate to good friends and marriage partners. With these aspects there is a bondedness that is not easily relinquished, and so a resignation ends up being nothing of the sort. Putting one's personal relationships ahead of the constitutional principles that are the foundation of the public servants' relationship with electorate is plainly damaging to democracy and a subversion of correct and ethical protocol. 'Thick as thieves' springs to mind with this set of planetary interconnections.
The conjunction between Cambell's Mars and Blair's Uranus shows that these two mix in such a way as to increase the desire to behave in risky, bold, controversial, and radical activities. Tony Blair and George Bush share a similar aspect, unsurprisingly. In this aspect there is no regard for laws, and there is often a thrill-seekers addiction to deliberately upping the ante, thumbing one's nose at authorities, and tearing up the rulebooks. Positively, this combination of planets symbolises the ability to be truly innovative in taking actions that solve problems, putting a wholistic and democratic view into effect. It's also good for team-work. But negatively it symbolises all hell breaking loose, with a wild, uncontrollable, provocative, 'go on, I dare you to oppose me, bring it on' arrogance and autocracy.
Blair's Midheaven (MC) with the joint Uranus/Uranus midpoint is also echoed in Alan Milburn's contacts with Blair. It suggests that their combined desire to 'modernise' - that favourite Blair word and the essence of the 'new' in 'New Labour' - and reform 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. Because Campbell was in charge of the PR side of the outfit, his capacity to utilise his and Blair's joint Uranian energies to alter Blair's reputation is reflected here. Adding to this is the fact that the halfway point between Campbell's Jupiter and Blair's Jupiter falls where Blair's MC is. Remember that Jupiter is the planet of both honesty and spin, as well as being associated with broadcasting, publishing selling, and spreading 'the gospel' far and wide.
Last but by no means least, the midpoint of Blair and Campbell's respective Saturn's is placed in the same degree as Blair's Sun. This reflects a channelling of their joint ambition through Blair's sense of purpose and his capacity to attract and hold publicity. It combines with the joint Venus/Venus midpoint, Venus representing the desire to charm and please other people. This then is their shared desire to present Blair (it's his Sun, after all, not Campbell's) as positively as they can. Need we say more?
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