The twelve signs of the Zodiac can be broken up into three groups – cardinal, fixed and mutable. The cardinal signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn, the fixed signs Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius, the mutable signs Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces. One can think of generalizations to describe these three modalities. Cardinal signs are assertive, and very clear about what they want. Fixed signs are stubborn, and once they decide on a course of action it’s difficult to stop them. Mutable signs can be indecisive, as they react to changing events – but on the plus side they can be very flexible.
Boris Johnson, the new Conservative leader, is a Gemini, and his star sign is therefore mutable. The retiring Prime Minister is Theresa May and she’s a Libran. Interestingly, her predecessor, David Cameron, was also a Libran. And his predecessor as leader of the Tories, Michael Howard, was a Cancer. This raises the question of who was the last Conservative leader whose Sun was not in a cardinal sign. The answer is Harold Macmillan, an Aquarius, who stood down as Prime Minister 56 years ago, in 1963. Since then every single leader of the Conservative Party has had a cardinal sun sign:
Alec Douglas-Home (Cancer)
Edward Heath (Cancer)
Margaret Thatcher (Libra)
John Major (Aries)
William Hague (Aries)
Ian Duncan Smith (Aries)
Michael Howard (Cancer)
David Cameron (Libra)
Theresa May (Libra)
It was Alec Douglas-Home who started the run. He was the last Conservative leader who was chosen rather than elected. Before him, there hadn’t been a cardinal leader of the party since Libran Austen Chamberlain, who gave up the leadership in 1922. It might be the case that once party leaders had to be elected by other Conservative members of parliament, the dynamics changed. The assertiveness of the cardinal signs shone through, and there was something definite about the cardinal candidate that people could vote for.
However just because you’re a cardinal sign doesn’t mean you’ll be a success. From 1990 through to 2005 the Conservative Party was lead by three Ariens in a row, John Major, William Hague, and Ian Duncan Smith. John Major fought two general elections as leader, winning the first and losing the second. Hague lost the 2001 election, Duncan Smith didn’t last long enough to fight any election.
The sign Libra is intriguing. Traditionally it is a weak sign for the Sun to be in – Libra tries too hard to make everyone happy. However the Sun is a male planet, and the malefic potential of Sun in Libra is more likely to be felt in male rather than female horoscopes. David Cameron was a Libran, and it was his decision to make his party happy by having a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU that ended his political career. Having said that, he did win the 2010 and 2015 elections.
With Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May, they arguably got their positions by sitting on the fence. Margaret Thatcher, as a cabinet minister, didn’t say much during cabinet meetings, while Theresa May showed very little support for Remain during the EU referendum. If May had been stridently against or in favour of Brexit, she might have found it difficult to emerge as the last candidate standing.
Thatcher probably listened to people more than her enemies made out, but some of her Libran traits were a veneer for the opposite. When she was elected Prime Minster, she paraphrased St. Francis on the steps of Number Ten:”Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope”. These are classic Libran sentiments, particularly about discord and harmony, but in office she ripped the country apart, pitting one group of people against another. Arguably Britain never recovered from her divisiveness.
Looking at the odds, the chances of getting nine party leaders of the same modality in a row are slim. Assuming that people have an equal chance of being born in each star sign, it’s 1 in 6561. But I am not saying that this proves anything – probability always throws up interesting coincidences, and the moment we notice a pattern it often crumbles in front of us. And now the run has come to an end, with mutable Boris Johnson scooping the top job.