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George Osborne: The Invisible Prime Minister
Written: May-June 2013
Published: June 2013
In an article published in June 2010, just after the UK's coalition government was formed, I wrote about the fact that George Osborne - the Chancellor of the Exchequer - has a chart that places him in a pivotal position amongst the government's Cabinet members. In this article I am revisiting George's chart to look at it from a different angle - that of harmonics.
Because the time of George's birth is not known we cannot reckon the exact position of the Moon, and we can neither calculate nor estimate the positions of the house cusps, but by analysing the prominent harmonics on the day George was born we can gain insights into his nature in a way that using only the Sign positions and major aspects of the planets cannot.
First, some background about George Osborne and what we are told of his character and the role he plays in the governing of the country. Since he operates to some extent off the radar of much of the general public, not a great deal is widely known about him so I will set down quite a bit of information; if you already know a lot about him you might prefer to skip this next section and jump straight to the astrology.
Background & character
George Osborne wields a powerful position in the government, more so than is usual for a chancellor. He is reported to spend as much time in No. 10 Downing Street as in his own area. He is also one of the founding members of the project to 'modernise' the Conservative party after its thirteen years in the electoral wilderness. Crucially, George drives government policy, not just the treasury. Furthermore, he has been a key leader of the party's election campaigns for several elections and has held various jobs in the Conservative party, from writing speeches to helping prime ministers prepare for answering questions in Parliament.
George was also the campaign manager for David Cameron when David stood for the leadership of the Conservative party in 2005. It is known that George himself had considered standing, since he has a desire to be prime minister. It is also understood that he does indeed still wish to be prime minister and at the time of writing it is thought that one possibility is that, presuming David Cameron remains prime minister after the next election in May 2015, he will hand over to George in 2018. On the other hand his biographer writes that George sees politics as just one stage in his career, and speculates that if the Conservatives lose in 2015 George may turn to the USA for his next stage as perhaps a political consultant or a teacher of politics.
George has developed a reputation amongst his friends and foes alike for being extremely effective at playing the political game. Fellow Conservative MP and Cabinet-member William Hague is reported to have said that George spends 'enormous energy examining the tactics of colleagues and opponents'. And it is known that he does indeed have enemies as well as allies. He inspires both loyalty and the desire for revenge; other politicians love him or loathe him. By the same token, he reportedly never forgets those who have been loyal to him and looks after them in return.
His biographer says that George has deliberately chosen to remain out of the limelight except for stage-managed set-pieces where he has control and is not required to speak spontaneously. This is apparently because he knows that he does not come across in a way that people find easy to take to or like. At the Paralympics last year he was booed by the crowd but his response was to laugh; perhaps this was an example of the exceptional self-confidence and lack of self-doubt that a former colleague has remarked upon as being characteristic of him.
That same colleague has said that, to George, ideas in politics are important only if they have usefulness, usefulness being defined as the gaining of power. His priority is to win. This sits alongside a ruthless streak, toughness and a lack of sentimentality. We are also told that George is extremely focused, a risk-taker and willing to gamble. Yet a more emotional side was on display at Margaret Thatcher's funeral when something moved him to tears. (Presumably not the suicides of people who have lost their livelihoods or had their disability, sickness or housing benefits unfairly stopped as a result of his policies.)
He comes from a bohemian family, rather than a traditionally Conservative one. As contrasted with David Cameron's rural, 'shire-based' Conservative background, George is a metropolitan Conservative and a born-and-bred Londoner. He attributes his being a Conservative (seemingly from 1992 onwards) to his 'instincts' rather than to any intellectual, social, cultural or financial causes.
From his youth onwards George was interested in politics and became captivated by the Houses of Parliament whilst on a school visit there. He had a poster of Winston Churchill on his bedroom wall and wanted to become prime minister. At school he was not at all sporty. He adopted a dandy-type image, was a fan of Madonna, and later became a member of the now infamous Bullingdon club at Oxford University.
As an adult George has a love of the USA and its top politicians, including some from the notorious Bush era. He is described as being one of the current crop of 'professional politicians', never having had a normal career outside politics, and although many describe him as ideologically-driven his biographer disagrees, saying 'he's an extreme pragmatist, less ideological even than David Cameron' and claims that he is 'almost physically allergic to ideology'.
George has survived some scandals so far - such as parking in spaces reserved for the disabled, allegations of cocaine use, 'Yachtgate' and questionable (mis)use of MPs' expenses - but they have not been sufficient to divert his career path.
By all accounts his closeness to David Cameron is often overblown, notwithstanding their being godfathers to each other's children (both David and George are religious, but have learnt from the Blair-Bush era to carefully manage the public's perception of their church involvements and religious beliefs); they have been in close contact only since 2001 when they both became MPs and started discussing why the Conservative party wasn't winning elections and what could be done to 'modernise' it in such a way that they would get into power. Come the party's leadership election in 2005 and both David and George had to decide whether or not to stand for the role. The then leader of the party, Michael Howard, encouraged George to stand however after a short period of thinking time he decided not to. Michael Gove (Conservative MP and current Education Secretary) has said "I think there was always an understanding that if one of them stood the other one wouldn't. ... internally between George and Dave it was agreed that there could only be one and it was understood that it was Dave." As the Spectator says, the two have, in effect, shared power ever since. Having won the leadership contest, George - who ran David's campaign - said to David "I can't believe how easily we have taken over the party."
Their careers are now largely inseparable for good or ill and they are, as one commentator put it, joined at the hip. In George's own words: "I begin the day at the Prime Minister's morning meeting, and see him again at his 4pm meeting. I can't think of any time in recent history where the Chancellor was invited to attend the PM's two daily meetings with his staff – and chair the meeting in the PM’s absence." He once expressed the view that the best thing about his role is that "It is an excuse to poke your nose into everything government does". He further explained: "Alongside the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister, the Chancellor these days does a lot of Britain's diplomacy and relations. It is the Chancellor who does the G20, with the Prime Minister. I found all that much more interesting and challenging than I had anticipated."
Now that we have a picture of George Osborne as a person and of the influence he wields we can look at the astrology, starting with his birthchart and then moving on to the particulars of the harmonics.
George Osborne's birthchart
So here is the chart wheel, with the house cusps removed as per my explanation at the head of this article.
23rd May 1971
Time unknown (chart reckoned for midday)
Paddington, London, UK
Two things to confirm about the Moon and the Sun: the Moon was in Taurus for the whole day and the position shown here is reckoned for midday but its actual location could be anywhere between 10 degrees 03 minutes Taurus and 24 degrees 35 minutes Taurus; and the Sun is definitely in Gemini - at the start of the day it was at 1 degree 12 minutes Gemini (by the end of the day it had reached 2 degrees 09 minutes Gemini).
So we know that George Osborne has the Sun in Gemini and the Moon in Taurus, and we know that he has a cluster in that latter Sign of the Zodiac.
Another structural feature of his chart which has probably already leapt to your eye is the chart-straddling see-saw arrangement of the Sun-Saturn conjunction and the Jupiter-Neptune conjunction. In the centre of the chart wheel the glyphs for these planets are joined by red lines running from top to bottom to show the opposition aspects. There is a lot in the symbolism of this grouping of planets to do with growth, debt, cutbacks and financial hardship, and possibly also to do with the psychological dynamics of projection, more on which later.
But having shown the chart 'as is' I want now to show it in a slightly differing form. This time the circle at the centre does not show all the aspects between the planets; instead it shows only the septile family. The lines indicating these have been drawn in purple, and in this particular version of the wheel the thickness of the purple lines indicates how close to exactness the aspect is: the thicker the line, the closer to exactness, with the theory being that closer aspects are stronger in a person's psyche and life:
The only two planets which might not be involved in this configuration are the Moon and Mars, hence their being depicted in a different colour, however since we cannot be certain of the Moon's aspects (because of the aforesaid lack of a birth time) we have to bear in mind that it may or may not be involved in seventh harmonic connections with other planets, including Mars.
In the above chart wheel there is a triangular arrangement of Mercury-Venus, Jupiter-Neptune, and Uranus. The Mercury-Venus conjunction is opposite the midpoint of Jupiter-Neptune and Uranus. This basic configuration remained in place throughout the entire day, with some changes in closeness of orb and planetary involvement. If we momentarily remove all the other planets the triangular pattern and midpoint structure become clearer:
Although Mercury and Venus are less than one degree apart the computer's rendering of the purple aspect lines makes it look at first glance as if Venus is not directly opposite the midpoint of Jupiter-Neptune and Uranus, but it is. In fact, Venus is closer to being exactly configured than Mercury is and stayed within orb of the midpoint for the entire day of George's birth, whereas Mercury started moving out of orb of the midpoint structure around 4:25pm and had moved out of it completely by 6:00pm. Here are the midpoint's exact degrees and minutes reckoned for midday:
We can take this point further. If this structure occurred in a chart that had very little septile resonance, that in itself would be interpretable. By the same principle, if it occurs in a chart with strong septile resonance that is meaningful too. Since George Osborne's chart has a lot of septiles it is the latter that applies.
The fact is that George was born at a point in the year when there was a peak in septile aspects. This applies irrespective of the Moon's position so the time of birth doesn't come into it. Here is a diagram for 1971 showing the forming of resonances in the seventh, fourteenth, twenty-first and twenty-eighth harmonics:
The topmost level shows a stand-out peak in May. Here is the same diagram but zoomed in so that we can see the month's peaks and troughs:
Zooming in to the week:
And finally to the day itself so that the peaks and troughs over the hours become seeable:
Since we don't know what time George was born we are left with a whole day to work with, so we have to isolate what was in effect for the full 24 hours and stick to that. The central message of this article is that 'sevenness' is a major part of this particular day in 1971 and therefore it forms a major part of George's character and life. To understand George Osborne, we must understand his chart's sevenness.
One of the key words for this harmonic is 'inspiration'. On a collective level George does not have a reputation of being an inspirational figure, however to those who work closely with him he does seem to have a more charismatic presence than David Cameron. But I think that the clearest manifestation of this harmonic is in the pivotal role George has played in the rehabilitation of the Conservative party.
It was George Osborne who realised much earlier than David Cameron that the Conservative party had to 'modernise'. In fact, from their charts I would go as far as to say that the very idea would light up George and engage his whole being on many levels, whereas David is more likely to have accepted it as a matter of persuasion from a PR point of view (and from what we know of David Cameron's conversion to the 'modernisation agenda' this appears to be a reasonable view). It was George who masterminded much of that 'modernising' process, and who drew on Tony Blair's and New Labour's examples for inspiration, using them almost as a guidebook. It was George who ran David Cameron's campaign to become leader of the Conservative party, who was heavily involved in the Conservatives' election campaigns, and who handled Boris Johnson's campaign to become mayor of London. It was George who styled himself as a dandy, who put up a poster of Winston Churchill on his wall, who became captivated on a visit to the Houses of Parliament, and who nurtured a dream of becoming Prime Minister. And it was George who cried at the funeral of Margaret Thatcher.
The Sun being very closely opposed to the Jupiter-Neptune conjunction in Sagittarius clearly plays a large part in George's style as a dandy, his reputation for having an entertaining sense of humour, his sensitivity at the funeral and his search for inspirational models, however that conjunction is a corner of the 'sevenness triangle' and the midpoint structure involving Venus and probably Mercury. George's values, his relationships, his thoughts and his ego-identity are all connected with this desire to be inspired. I think it is highly likely that George also wants to be seen as someone who is inspiring, and perhaps this is part of his ambitions for a career in the USA - a country which George is inspired by. (It's noticeable that he never seems to be inspired by his own country, but for 'career politicians' with an international or transatlantic focus the UK is just a means to an end.)
Seventh harmonic aspects are about seeing the world and events through a filter of emotion and imagination. Obviously there are risks as well as benefits to doing that. For someone whose job is to dream up a re-branding exercise for the party or who is trying to captivate the public's imagination these types of aspects could be a useful thing to have, but for someone whose job is to be the head of the nation's Treasury and to sort out an almighty financial mess the risk is that ideology outweighs facts and that hope prevails over good, solid strategy. If one looks at the facts primarily or solely as a means of stimulating one's imaginative and romantic sensibility, then the real world is relegated to being a poor second at best, or downright boring at worst. The world and its problems and troubles can be dreadfully unexciting, and a drag on or distraction from one's lofty visions. A politician of this type could begin to see himself as colourful in a colourless world, and subsequently head in the direction of greater detachment from his surroundings.
There is a wonderful paragraph from an interview with the Guardian newspaper dating from September 2007 which illustrates the pitfalls of seeing societies as how you want to see them, rather than as they actually are:
"Osborne thinks his fee-paying, selective boys' school, St Paul's, was "incredibly liberal. It didn't matter who your parents were. Your mother could be the head of a giant corporation - or a solicitor in Kew" as if this encompassed the full imaginable spectrum of socioeconomic status. At the party conference last year, someone pointed out that he had no working experience of the real world outside Westminster. "Well, it depends what you mean by the real world," he retorted - and, to demonstrate his intimacy with it, offered: "I have plenty of friends who work in law, in the City, in government agencies.""
This is clearly the kind of answer which many self-interested, self-promoting people give to awkward questions, however 'it depends what you mean by the real world' hits the sevenness nail squarely on the head.
The Jupiter septile Uranus aspect in George's chart is also present in David Cameron's. To this I link the fact that they paired up to run the project to 'modernise' the party. I also suspect that it has relevance to their free market, USA-centric ideas. The difference between the two is that in David's chart it does not form part of a complex web of sevenness, although it does have Mars on its midpoint which perhaps shows David taking the open leadership in these Jupiter-7-Uranus matters. In George's chart the Jupiter-Uranus link forms the base of the 'sevenness triangle', which focuses at the apex formed by his Venus-Mercury conjunction, and consequently it has a flavour which differs from David's. For George it comes out not through direct leadership but through image- and policy-making and strategising. It also shows a connection with studying, teaching and relationships, and if he does go on to be a USA-based political consultant or lecturer in politics he will arguably be living out this aspect structure.
But we need to look further than this, because it is not just pure sevenness resonating in George's chart. There is an involvement with the twoness series of aspects, which includes things like oppositions and squares. It is by twoness and a mingling of twoness with sevenness that George's chart comes together in a whole configuration. From this we can derive the interpretation that there is a division or even a divisiveness inherent in George's personality which is strongly rooted in his views of himself and of life in general, and which therefore is relevant in forming his ideology, and from there his policies. It is likely that he seems himself as fighting something or standing against something, and that this inspires him greatly. Perhaps it also harks back to his past when, we are told, he was an outsider at school who stood apart from his classmates in certain respects, but later wanted to be accepted into the Etonian-dominated Bullingdon club, yet having been granted membership he continued to retain his sense of himself as separate from it.
On a mundane level we can see this in his love of argument and of going head-to-head with interviewers and political opponents - although that is also traceable to his chart having Mercury square Mars, and in keeping with that aspect he is known to be good at putting other people down with cutting remarks. The issue really is one of projection. We all project, of course, but politicians are in a position where they can attempt to deal with their projected material through their policies, playing out their psychological dynamics domestically and/or internationally. The twoness harmonics combined with the sevenness ones seem to me to be particularly relevant to this, and for George this may well be his defining issue in his political life. If he can deal with the pitfalls of the seventh harmonic and its links with the twoness in his chart, and bring their usefulness out through his policies then the country could benefit, however I have not yet seen any evidence of his intention to go in this direction. I therefore think it likely that the reputation he will end up with in the long term will bear the hallmarks of the downsides of his chart's harmonic structures.
In summary, I see these harmonics as showing someone more complex and more driven by subtle ideas in his psyche than the visible Prime Minister, David Cameron. Since the 'modernisation' of the Conservative party had a substantial share of its roots in and was at least partially driven by George and his personality, we can expect to find these twoness and sevenness chart structures being expressed through that project. And as long as George remains the invisible Prime Minister we can expect the country to have to deal with the outcomes of his policies and the ideological and psychological content they spring from, symbolised in these harmonic patterns. Finally, whatever next step he takes in his career can be expected to express a further unfolding of these harmonics.
References & Related links:
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Articles on this website:
UK Cabinet profile with section on George Osborne's chart
Biography of George Osborne
'George Osborne: The Austerity Chancellor' by Janan Ganesh
Guardian newspaper article: "George Osborne: from the Bullingdon club to the heart of government" - 1st Oct 2011
Telegraph newspaper article: "George Osborne: The Austerity Chancellor by Janan Ganesh: review" - 22nd Oct 2012
Guardian newspaper article: "The real George Osborne" - 28th Nov 2011
Guardian newspaper article:
"George Osborne – the man who would be prime minister" - 27th Nov 2011
ConservativeHome blog entry: "George Osborne, the gambler let loose in the Treasury" - 29th June 2010
ConservativeHome blog entry: "Rather than seek to move the voters rightwards, Cameron and Osborne are moving themselves leftwards, into the centre of British politics" - 13th May 2010
ConservativeHome blog entry: "George Osborne: I'm no uber-moderniser" - 26th Sept 2007
Daily Mail newspaper article: "George Osborne 'owed' Andy Coulson
after NotW editor 'downplayed' sex and drugs scandal coverage,
claims lawyer acting for escort girl" - 12th Sept 2011
ConservativeHome blog entry: "George Osborne's four laws of political success... as chosen by William Hague" - 24th June 2011
Guardian newspaper article: "Kind of blue" - 29th Sept 2007
Politics.co.uk article: "Profile: George Osborne - 22nd Oct 2008"
Spectator article: "The Spectator’s Christmas interview with George Osborne" - 15th Dec 2010
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