Media Medium
17 October 2001


Out of the frying pan, into the fire

Margaret McDonagh is the incoming genereal manager of Express Newspapers.
The stars suggest her new job will present similar challenges to those
she faced at during her time with the Labour party

From the viewpoint of astrology, the definitive mid-life crisis comes with the half-cycle of independent-minded and wilful Uranus. Depending on the person, this works itself out any time from his or her late thirties to the early forties. For Margaret McDonagh, her Uranus half-cycle has been boiling away since its first contact in March this year, and the dust won't settle until its final contact in January 2002. It's a now-or-never phase, "a time for disassembling ourselves and then putting the pieces back together again, but in a different way" (Howard Sasportas, The Gods Of Change).

With Uranus strongly placed in her horoscope (June 26 1961), this is the likely culprit for McDonagh's leap out of Labour's frying pan and into the fire of Richard Desmond's Express. But does this odd move truly answer the Uranus demand for radical change? And what pieces should she put back together again?

In her stint as General Secretary of the Labour Party, McDonagh acquired a formidable reputation as a tough and rather humourless administrator. Her horoscope suggests that this is something of a surface quality, part of her defensive Cancerian shell. In contrast to her persona, we can expect McDonagh to be a private individual, far more sensitive and weepy than she might ever appear to be. Cancer is the archetypal sign of the mother, and in her fourteen years at Millbank, McDonagh no doubt gave the Labour Party some tough mother-love and used her crabby pincers whenever she felt something was for its own 'good'. This impulse is bound up with a strong dose of socialism and idealism, indicated by self-sacrificing Neptune prominent in her horoscope. It may well have been this which cost her the job. She is reported to have staunchly refused to agree to Blair's salary increases for his political staff at No. 10, given the much lower pay rates at Millbank.

The most explosive element in her horoscope is the combination of mid-life crisis Uranus and aggressive Mars in the proud sign of Leo. This can be tyrannical and unreasoning when challenged, so McDonagh may have a problem keeping a sense of balance and priorities. All the indications suggest that, working for Desmond, she could repeat the pattern of the past, especially as The Express and the Labour Party are born within two months of each other, in the same year, and present McDonagh with the same troublesome astrological contacts.

Her position remains volatile and it's 50-50 whether or not she will surprise everyone - including herself - and blow out of her new job in the next year. The focus for her now is really a serious life-style change, and it will probably be the impetus of her personal life, and not her career priorities, which determine whether she stays, or whether she goes.

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