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Home -> Current Affairs -> Performing & Reforming: What makes Tony Blair tick?

Performing & Reforming: What makes Tony Blair tick?
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People who have been close to Tony Blair for many years were interviewed about his character, for a newspaper marking his 50th birthday in Spring 2003. Here are excerpts from those interviews, picked out because they are relevant to his astrological transits from 2003 to 2005, as well as comments from a former MP and a political journalist. Some of the main astrological correlations are interpreted in italics beneath each section.

Nick Ryden has been a friend of Tony Blair's since they met at school. Talking of their schooldays at Fettes College in Edinburgh, Nick said:
"It was a place where you had to learn to be self-sufficient. The ethos was that you were there to maintain the empire. There was a fair degree of survival of the fittest. It was very, very old-fashioned. There were prefects and fagging and compulsory sport and compulsory religion. You were cut off from your family, your parents and previous friends. Emotions were a thing stamped out of you at an early stage."

Moon in Aquarius, conventionally unaspected - emotional and familial disconnection, opposite of dependency - separateness, fending for oneself, emotions 'interpreted' and rationalised through the mind rather than directly felt, family connections are based on remoteness and distance, feelings are not ordinarily passionate or intense, more cool and reserved or even aloof and cut off. Difficulty then in forming genuinely warm, heartfelt, lasting intimate relationships with family and friends - fearing being engulfed by 'cloying sentiment'. At worst: unfeeling, cold, calculating, unable to empathise or feel compassion, cutting off from the past and over-valuing the future, yet behaviour motivated by feelings and responses that are poorly understood or which are just not conscious. Caught up in 'head stuff' and intellectual understanding of people, but divorced from shared feelings. Alienated, outsider, misfit, lonely. Moon in Aquarius is septile to Uranus, showing that he is genuinely inspired by reform, freshness, newness, breaking from the past.

"Tony was very keen on debating and acting. If you ask me if there were signs of what he was going to become then I would say no, but there was the acting and debating, skills that are vital for any successful politician. He is sincere and he is genuinely caring but also there is this actor ability. Even if someone was boring the pants off him, he would still appear interested. That is one of the tricks. He was a very good debater, he was able to express himself very articulately."

Mars in Gemini on the Ascendant - forceful communicator who is likely to enjoy the cut and thrust of debate. Sense of potency through talking, thinking, writing, reading, sorting through ideas, making one's mind up, challenging oneself and others mentally, asserting opinions and speaking one's mind without compromise, arguing and winning the argument. Moon in Aquarius on the Jupiter/Neptune (drama+fiction) and Mars/Neptune (action+fiction) midpoints, coupled with Ascendant on the Mercury/Uranus midpoint - able to act, flex the personality and adapt the response to match the audience and environment. Multi-faceted, for good or ill, e.g. able to relate to anyone and everyone as an equal irrespective of background or style of expression......... or, more faces than the town clock. Sun on the Mercury/Mars and Mercury/Ascendant midpoints is a forceful, adaptive person able to express themselves creatively and entertainingly through words and actions. Sun on the Moon/Pluto midpoint is someone tuned in at a gut-level to human behaviour and what will push people's buttons and pull their levers.

"I remember Tony was beaten at the age of 17 - it was for insolence or something quite ludicrous. Beatings were a regular part of school life for all of us. There were various types: there was a thing called a 'school beating', which would be in the main library and every school prefect would have a run at you and hit you with a cane and by tradition you were allowed a day in the sanatorium afterwards. That would be about 12 people [beating you]. And then there was a 'house beating', which was a lesser thing where you would be called upstairs and beaten by all the prefects in the house. It was just part of the world there."

Alice Miller (www.alice-miller.com) has written much on the subject of hitting children and young people and how it affects adults in later life. She argues that it normalises violence. I wonder if Tony has read her work? Alice has published a letter that she once wrote to him. Maybe it's time for another.

Mark Ellen was in a rock band with Tony Blair at Oxford University. They have stayed in touch since then. Ellen on Blair: "How did we start? I had joined this band with a couple of friends and we knew we weren't going to get anywhere without a front man. None of us wanted to step up to the plate or had the charisma or nerve to do it. One of my friends, Adam, said I've seen this guy in a review at St John's [College, Oxford] and he said he was a really remarkable performer, really impressive. And a review had said that this bloke, Tony Blair, was very much the focus of attention."

"We asked him to sing and he was very good. Don't forget, you've got to have a lot of self confidence to be the singer, you can't just hang around at the back behind a curtain of hair."

"He was fantastically confident but without any arrogance or swagger. He had ambition, enormous charm. Our second gig was at St John's and Tony, who was a massive admirer of Mick Jagger, was waiting in the wings. He came screaming on with the classic 'Let's rock!' and went into the first Stones number as if he was Jagger himself, all pointing fingers and pout. At the end? Well, all the women were talking to him, that was for sure."

Mars on Ascendant and Mars on Jupiter/Ascendant midpoint - pushing himself forwards boldly and without hesitation. Asserting himself expansively, confidently, in large and theatrical ways. Born to lead, or at least considering himself so. Sometimes correlates with a quick and/or sudden birth, and so there is a pattern right from the start of decisive, forceful, straight-forward action to move ahead in life on one's own terms, when one is ready, irrespective of the needs or wishes of other people.

Katie Kay has known Tony Blair for 20 years since they were neighbours, and has also worked closely with him during his stint as Prime Minister. Kay on Blair: "Over time we started to go on holiday together, to either Italy or France. The thing that struck you was that Tony was a great reader. He would sit by the pool and devour books. He was a great reader of the Bible and other serious books. He got enjoyment out of the solitude of just sitting quietly and reading. He also loved sitting outside in the courtyard and would talk to everyone who went by, for hours."

Mercury in Aries in 12th opposite Saturn-Neptune - Tony Blair's Christian Socialist outlook is partially signified by this, and it's a configuration showing an energetic mind that is introspective and reflective. Cluster of personal planets in the 12th house show a lot of energy drawing him to solitude and introspection. A rich inner life. Uranus in Cancer in the 3rd house in septile to the Moon in Aquarius indicates eclectic interests and a highly curious mind with a strong hunger for knowledge and truth.

Charlie Falconer met Tony Blair in the 1960s. Blair gave him a peerage and invited him into Government in 1997, where he remains to this day. Charlie on Blair: "The essentials of Tony Blair have not changed since I first met him in 1969 or 1970. He is an incredibly unaggressive social person, so he's never hogging the conversation, never shouting his views. He has always been incredibly persuasive. One of the odd things, for a man who is so unaggressive, is how he reached the top of the pack, so apparently effortlessly, in politics."

"When I'm asked: "Did you realise that this man was going to become Prime Minister?" I say no, it never occurred to me when I first met him. The other slightly contradictory aspect is that he is incredibly impatient. Because he is not aggressive, that is initially a quite disguised personal attribute. He'll spend a lot of time finding out all the facts in relation to it and then when he picks a solution and he's gone through it all, he'll get quite impatient if the solution is not then delivered quickly."

Mars conjunct Ascendant and on Jupiter/Ascendant midpoint with Venus and Mercury in Aries - decisive, impatient, considers himself a born leader, thinks and evaluates quickly. Despite what his friends say, this is a fundamentally aggressive configuration that does not incline to an interest in being subordinate or functioning democratically.

Former Tory MP Matthew Parris, talking about Blair in an interview with Radio 4's Today programme, said: "He has an unhinged belief, firstly in the purity of his own intention, secondly in the fact that his own good intentions can only lead to good results, and thirdly that he's going to win people over, that he's going to persuade people."

"Prime Ministers ought to take a cool view on the balance of calculations. There is this slightly unhinged optimism that comes from a belief in his own intentions."

"In one of Blair's long time past speeches at a conference, and I think with unconscious mimicry, he actually said that Labour activists who supported him should expect to be reviled in public and he went on in the language of "Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and speak all manner of evil against you"."

"I think there is a belief that just by demonstrating his own goodness, just by demonstrating the purity of his intentions he will win or, even if he doesn't, he will have won in the eyes of his Maker."

Neptune transit to Sun/Moon - he is facing issues of redemption and innocence, purity and clarity, lying and treachery, scandals and rumours. He is accused of being inflated (Neptune correlates with expanding the self's boundaries so that the ego knows no limits) and of identifying himself with God (Sun-Neptune). Hence he obeys Godly law, not Earthly jurisdiction or democratic system. Neptune reflects issues around accountability, simply because it transcends all barriers and is therefore hard to grasp, pin down, contain, and structure within conventional parameters.

Andrew Rawnsley, political journalist, speaking about Blair's 'The Big Conversation' initiative: "On Friday, Tony Blair made a boast of not knowing it all. Admitting that he is neither omnipotent nor omniscient, the Prime Minister appeared to be saying that he is no longer going to be marketed as superman. Which, after his heart flutter and tummy troubles, is to make a virtue out of necessity.

Neptune transit to the Sun (heart) and Moon (stomach). But also an opportunity to learn humility, to realise that you are just one of billions of ordinary humans, nothing special, outstanding, or different - Sun-Neptune can link with feeling special and beyond the limits of lesser mortals, but when expressed that way it is usually regarded as self-deceit and even a psychiatric disorder. Sun-Neptune is in essence about commonality, rather than separate distinction. It's about recognising the soul-centredness of everyone, rather than assuming some kind of holy superiority over others, like a saint or a pope - spiritual aristocracy.

"Ministers do not really expect the public, divided and often contradictory as its views will be, to supply detailed policy solutions to the problems of Britain. The underlying purpose is less about learning from the country and more about educating the country in the toughness of the choices. Consider these difficult dilemmas and fiendish challenges, the Prime Minister says to the voters. See how daunting they are. Look at how hard this job is. People: share my burden, feel my pain."

Neptune transit to Sun/Moon - martyrdom (in the fullest sense of the word - the divine saviour takes on the pain of the masses and lifts it from their shoulders so that they are rescued, liberated, made happy and content and restored to God, their soul-sickness healed, their separateness transcended), righteous suffering, glorying in victimhood, empathy, shared feeling, 'we are one', wearing pain as a badge of redemption. The majority of these are considered to be psychological imbalances, rather than healthy personality traits. Even if they're considered healthy, it's debatable whether a politician benefits from operating from such qualities, and more to the point, whether the electorate benefits from the politician operating from them.

(All quotes from the Observer newspaper online.)

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