Media Medium
14 December 2000


Is Chris Smith out of his element?

He is creative and likeable, but the subtleties of culture,
media and the arts may elude him when regulating UK media.

In astrology, each element - fire, earth, air, water - represents a particular orientation, and the world of art and culture belongs primarily to air, element of communication and human interaction. Alarmingly, Chris Smith, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, does not have one breath of air amongst his personal planets, and Norman Lebrecht in the Daily Telegraph has suggested that the arts are "fatally asphyxiated" by Chris Smith's New Labour, politically correct, social engineering approach. If he is not in his element, clarity and a light touch will elude him, especially when it comes to regulating media.

Despite his bland public persona Chris Smith is a fiery Leo (July 24 1951) with Mercury, planet of communication, also in this creative sign, giving him such personally warm and likeable qualities that, it is said, "nobody has it in for him". Astrologer Alan Leo gives an upbeat analysis of the Leo lion: "A determined, governing, organising and controlling mind, with power to take large and extensive views, coupled with a somewhat dogmatic tendency: there is much positive assurance, and a high degree of faith and conviction in noble ideals. It denotes a confident, ambitious, persistent and at the same time intuitive intellect".

The most striking feature in his horoscope is the opposition of expansive Jupiter and Neptune, with the Moon also part of this configuration. The remaining planets fall on one side of this opposition, which therefore cuts the chart in half to create a one-sided pattern known as a 'bowl'. Negatively Neptune and the Moon give a potential threat of scandal, but there is no obvious indication of this breaking in the next few years. More positively, Jupiter and Neptune suggest a religious attitude, tinged with socialism and a care for the underdog. Brought up as an Anglican, Chris Smith continues as a practising Christian whose beliefs inform his politics. Mars, the action planet, connects with these religious leanings and pushes them into worldly expression, and he has the potential to be more radical than his current job allows.

Leo is a byword for loyalty, and his personal commitment to Tony Blair should safely ensconce him in the next Labour cabinet. With Cancer-Virgo influences, he would be competent in his former shadow posts in health or environment, but the same Jupiter which represents his religious belief also signifies travel and foreign affairs. Foreign Secretary appears to be out of his reach but he could do surprisingly well in a Euro post, and a beefed-up role as Minister for Europe is worth a flutter. Apart from hiccups in March next year, the coming period looks smooth enough. His boats won't rock until early 2008 when Jupiter hits a square of Uranus, and if he is weary of politics by then, a new calling could await him.

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