Monday 23 November 2015

Oldham By-Election

THE OLDHAM BY-ELECTION taking place on 3 Dec 2015:  a prediction (finalised on 15 November). 

By Richard Burch

On 21 October, the long-standing Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton, Michael Meacher, died at the age of 75. Meacher was one of a small number of MPs both to nominate and vote for Jeremy Corbyn in the recent leadership contest. Both men had been followers of Tony Benn in his day. The writ for this by-election was moved quickly by Labour - before Meacher was even laid to rest - in order to stop UKIP building up momentum among voters.


In the Start of Poll Chart (above), Mars, ruler of the first (representing the tenant of the seat - Labour) is very weak in terms of essential dignities. It rates minus 10 and peregrine, the lowest by far of all seven traditional planets. In the Close Chart (below) Labour is ruled by the Sun, but it too is weak - minus 5 and peregrine. The primary opposition, UKIP (shown first by Venus then by Saturn in the two charts) scores 5 and 3 points respectively. 

In the Start Chart, Mars cannot make any aspect with Mercury (10th ruler, the office of MP), the sextile having occurred 7 degrees earlier (measuring to 7 weeks previously, to Meacher's last days as MP). Nor is the Moon of any help as co-ruler of the 10th, as she makes no major aspect to Mars. (Moon cannot co-rule the 1st as then she would also have to co-rule the 7th in this contest between equals.) The Moon symbolises the electorate and shows that goodwill towards Labour can’t be relied on to survive post-Meacher. The Mercury-Jupiter mutual reception cannot be switched around to any advantage. But nor can Venus (for the opposition) perfect any aspect with Mercury either (Venus leaves its sign first). However, Venus is trine Fortuna (votes) and this may aid UKIP a little.

In the Close Chart, the same thing applies for Labour as before - the Sun cannot make any aspect with Venus (10th ruler), and the Moon as 10th co-ruler is too far forward in its sign to be of any help. For the opposition, Saturn can't aspect Venus, and yet again the Moon can't help. Saturn is square Neptune, the meaning of which is uncertain here.


Judged purely on the relative strengths of the significators in both charts, it seems the opposition party, UKIP, will take the seat.

However, if the Moon is allowed to be ascendant co-ruler then Labour may well win, though by a reduced majority (Moon in the Start Chart immediately squares Sun, then on to square Mercury). But I'm far from convinced this rule applies.

Mulling it over, I decided on 9 November to ask a horary question - 'Will Labour win Oldham?' I thought it would probably be inconclusive - but I drew up the chart.


The Labour candidate I'm concerned with - Jim McMahon, leader of the local council - is an undesignated person to me, so shown this time by the seventh house (ruler Venus). The tenth from the seventh (i.e. the fourth) is ruled by Jupiter, with secondary ruler Neptune on the cusp. There is no Venus-Jupiter aspect, nor a Venus-Neptune one. Allowing the Moon (19 LIB 52) to co-rule the seventh is equally fruitless. She is void of course - nothing will come of it. Labour will not win. The principal opponent (John Bickley for UKIP) is shown by Mars. There is no aspect to Mercury (his tenth house ruler), so he is not shown positively to win. But on the strengths of the main significations, Mars rates 7 and Venus 5 - just enough to give UKIP the edge.

But of course Serpentis rises, just one minute from the exact New Moon degree this Wednesday (19 SCO 01). Maybe it's showing my judgement to be faulty. Or there will be some disastrous upset at this election, for one party or another.

Serpentis primarily affects the principal opposition party (shown by the first), UKIP. It also happens to be the Tory Party’s Ascendant - but they're barely in the running this time. They came just third at the general election (Lab 55%, UKIP 20%, Con 19%), and it would be an extraordinary result if they won now. But times are rather extraordinary…

So after some days, on 15 November, I decided to put the question again, slightly differently, as ‘Who will win Oldham? This is the chart:

WHO WILL WIN OLDHAM? (Second Horary)

Labour is seen here as nominal tenant of the seat until or unless displaced - hence shown by the ascendant (ruled by Jupiter). UKIP is shown by the descendant (Mercury), and the office of MP by the tenth (Venus). The Moon (electorate) is in the first, and will rise in 16 degrees (day's) time, just before the election, seemingly to support Labour. But she is weak in Capricorn, and it's an intercepted sign, so the electorate will barely manage to 'do their duty' by Labour. Fortuna (most votes) is also in the first, on Corbyn's natal Jupiter, but a long way from the horizon in a third sign.

The Moon acts to translate the light from Venus (by square) to Jupiter (by trine). But she must make a conjunction with Pluto first, and this may seriously affect the outcome in terms of missing votes. (Pluto, along with Saturn, is a ‘natural’ ruler of the Conservatives.) Additionally she also then squares Uranus, perhaps with further unexpected result. This just possibly suggests a Tory victory!

For UKIP (Mercury), the obvious conclusion is that the imminent combustion with the Sun spells disaster (along with the presence of Serpentis rising in the first Horary). It could hardly be worse. Expectations within the party have run very high, so the fall will be all the more painful. Yes, the light of Venus is eventually translated by the Moon by sextile to Mercury - but it's far too late. It's gone to Jupiter already. Taken together with the unpromising start- & close-of-poll charts, I've arrived at this judgement: 


Neither side will do very well, but Labour will hold the seat with a much reduced majority - perhaps only just. It will be a disappointment for Corbyn and his circle, and will not subdue his critics for long. His position as party leader will come under even more pressure.

For UKIP, already fractured, it will be seen as a massive disappointment, particularly as their candidate recently came so close to winning the neighbouring seat of Heywood in the general election. They may even come third behind the Tories. Farage's position as party leader will come under yet more pressure, and he may finally quit in order to concentrate wholly on his own EU referendum campaign.

This explains the presence of Serpentis as 'a plague on both houses', but bearing more heavily upon UKIP (i.e. the ascendant).


A week after the by-election, the New Moon (19 SAG 03) falls exactly on the second horary chart's ascendant. Confirmation of a new start for Labour, perhaps …but in what sense? In horary tradition the New Moon is regarded as highly malefic…