It's a strange state of affairs when a four or five-yearly event deciding the leadership of a nation is expected to have no clear result. No one party is predicted to win an overall majority in the 2015 UK General Election a situation that is reflected in the homogeneity of the candidates. David Cameron and Ed Miliband are men of similar age and education, and have both followed uniform political careers. Adding Nick Clegg (remember him?) into the mix reinforces either the lack of real choice, or an increased coherence in British public life, depending on your point of view.
Powerful yogas in David Cameron's chart show how he rose from back-bench obscurity to lead the Conservative Party, and went on to become Prime Minister. Despite his privileged background, he was very much the outsider when the Tories chose their new leader in 2005. In ancient times, it was the individual blessed with the gift of oratory who became tribal leader, and the quality of swaying the masses with words is still gold-dust in politics today. Witness Barack Obama's rise in the USA, based largely on soaring rhetoric.
Cameron's 9th Ruler Venus forms a powerful link with friend Saturn, ruler of the 5th house of statecraft, on his 1st-7th axis. Significantly, he became Prime Minister during his Venus-Saturn period in 2010, as transit Saturn also crossed his ascendant. Venus in lagna's debilitation is doubly cancelled, by a Parivatana yoga with chart ruler Mercury in Libra and also by being in its own Navamsha. Cameron first caught the nation's eye in a televised debate with other Tory contenders, with Mercury in the 2nd giving him a notably smooth and articulate voice.
David Cameron: 9th October 1966, 6am, London.
Venus dasha has done well for Cameron, clearly. He went from his pivotal Venus-Saturn period to Venus-Mercury in February 2011, triggering the karma-dharma adhipati yoga between the 9th and 10th rulers. He came to power with the UK in the grip of an historic recession and started a program of drastic spending cuts. A Labour government might have sold this policy more readily, but the Tories' slogan 'We're all in this together' had a hollow ring, especially with a cabinet stuffed full of old-money Etonians. Yet Cameron was able to govern relatively unchallenged, due largely to his fortunate astrology.
Cameron has ridden an astrological wave, despite being seen as a relatively characterless, identikit posh Tory. Significantly, he has presided over a coalition government in times of austerity, and the UK is now held - by some - to be heading towards financial recovery, even if people are hardly feeling prosperous. With the country going to the polls in May, February 2015 saw Cameron hitting his Sun mahadasha, bringing an altogether different tone.
Sun is Cameron's 12th house ruler, not an auspicious signature for a leader. Placed in 1st house shows his outwardly confident, some would say bullying style, but it may also conceal hidden weaknesses. Surprisingly for one who came to prominence in a televised debate, he has objected to being involved in a similar forum between party leaders ahead of this year's General Election. What is he afraid of? Perhaps exploits from his 'Riot-Club' past at the Bullingdon, but in any case skeletons in his closet will come out during Sun's period, especially with Mars also in the 12th.
Yet even if he triumphs again, his second term will be rockier than his first. Lagna flanked by Mars and Ketu shows delicate health, exacerbated by a direct aspect from Saturn, lord of 6th house of enemies. Saturn also aspects its own enemy, Sun, not promising either for Sun's period. The Tory Party is notoriously ruthless with its leaders, and Cameron's rivals this time are more likely to come from within his own camp - might we finally see a challenge from his ambitious fellow Bullingdon Club old-boy Boris Johnson?
Ed Miliband: 24 November 1969, 2:00am, London.
Despite attending a north London state school rather than Eton, Miliband is hardly a man of the people, coming from a wealthy family, educated at Oxford and Harvard, and a lifelong career politician. His putative birth time also makes a very powerful chart, with 9th and 10th lords Jupiter and Saturn in a Raja Yoga across the 1st-7th, and 4th and 5th lords Sun and Moon also making a Raja Yoga in a Full Moon chart. Like Cameron too, he has a debilitated planet in his first house involved in a parivatana yoga; in Miliband's case, Saturn in mutual signs with Mars in Aquarius in the 11th house. Astrologically, his metoric rise is no surprise.
The defining point in his career so far came in September 2010 when he took on and defeated his elder brother David in the Labour Party leadership contest. David Miliband was perceived to be the cleverer brother, with cabinet experience, and who was also Labour's heir apparent, while amiable Ed was the also-ran expected to step aside. Chart ruler Mars with Rahu in the 11th house of elder siblings shows Ed's real ambition, and significantly it was the Labour Union's block vote (11th house) that swung the leadership election for him. Moon in Ardra in 3rd house shows potential suffering of siblings, and is aspected by his impulsive Saturn - an altogether tough, unsentimental picture.
Despite his dynamic chart, Miliband is perceived to have an image problem: even when his ideas strike a chord, he yet can come across as rather hapless; a typical leftwing nerd from a political family, with little real-world experience. Debilitated Saturn in the 1st is not the most charismatic signature and also suggests a cynicism and lack of judgment. This placement is unlikely to make him a respecter of tradition, and his transformation into Michael Corleone vis-a-vis his brother shocked many people. What else would he not be willing to do to succeed?
Miliband is currently in Mercury dasha, which rules the third house of siblings (!) and the sixth house of enemies. Mercury is his Atma Karaka, vargottama, in the 9th house, a strong but not outstanding planet. He has been underestimated before - has made a career of it - and with the UK still recovering from austerity, he will never have a better chance. Transit Saturn currently opposing itself from his seventh house suggests a political marriage with another party leader, and a crash course in compromise. For sure, whoever ends up holding the balance of power will have to watch his back.