Media Medium
19 November 2001

JOHN SIMPSON

The lion king

John Simpson - the self-proclaimed 'liberator of Kabul' - has all
the virtues of a Leo, as well as most of its vices

John Simpson's single-handed taking of Kabul was a beautifully staged piece of theatre, which is nothing less than we have come to expect from this top-dog, fire-sign Leo (August 9 1944). In true Leo style, the BBC's World Affairs Editor can't help being the centre of the story even when he's reporting it. He shows all the virtues of the Leo Lion - courage, loyalty, talent, integrity - alongside a fair whack of its vices - singularity, arrogance and self-promotion. People everywhere appear to warm to this leader of the pack. In over 101 countries, "120 emperors, monarchs, presidents, dictators, prime ministers and other assorted rulers" must no doubt feel that it is a real honour to have been interviewed by him.

His horoscope is completely lop-sided, stacked out with dashing fire, including an impulsive Aries Moon, but it is toned down by a group of earthy Virgo planets. His reports are well served by this pragmatic, analytical sign, with its eye for detail and precision, and it gives him a quiet assurance of reason, authority and credibility. However, he is far more compulsive and driven than he seems. As a breed, war correspondents are suspected of harbouring a death wish, and with his Sun placed next to lone-wolf Pluto, Lord of Hades and the Underworld, Simpson excels in pushing himself to the edge of the abyss. Driven by this obsessive planet, he won't give up until he gets what he is looking for: "nothing disgusts this planet... (it) has a lot to do with research because it digs deeply ...(it) is unafraid of muck and gunge" (Debbie Kempton-Smith, Secrets From A Stargazer's Notebook). This is a quality he needs to face the hell and human suffering of a job on the front line.

Yet mysterious Pluto, with his helmet of invisibility, bestows a curious power on an individual: "These people often have a very powerful presence and can sometimes exert an extraordinary magnetic hold over people, whilst at the same time remaining essentially impenetrable themselves, letting little in and still less out" (Sue Tompkins, Aspects In Astrology).

As Simpson matures like a good port, his horoscope shows him getting more and more relaxed. This is all about a laid-back, poetic Libran dimension which has come into play for him over the last few years, although more immediately, he is unlikely to be heading for home or musing over his beloved Chinese poetry. Next year is even more action-packed than this, with provocative and independent-minded Uranus indicating that beneath the calm front, Simpson will continue being his own man and speaking his own mind. With this influence, life is too short to kow-tow to the powers that be, and he could be rocking boats, regardless of whether or not his stance suits public opinion, the tabloids or the government. He's sure to enjoy it, and so will his large following. There is an opinionated streak in every Leo, but with John Simpson those opinions are more informed than most, and always worth listening to.

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