Towards the end of March, we experienced a challenging Sun-Pluto square in cardinal signs. In the UK, this coincided with a petrol shortage scare which sent thousands of people rushing to the pumps to fill up with fuel for fear that a proposed fuel haulage drivers’ strike over the Easter holidays would lead to a scarcity of fuel.
The situation was exacerbated by mixed messages from government officials, some of whom advised people to stock up on extra fuel by filling spare jerry cans in case service stations in their area ran out. Many of these were then countered by the fire department as well as the Prime Minister, who told people not to panic because talks with the haulage unions were still in progress and strike action was not a dead cert. And in fact, several days later, the union back down, saying its members would not strike over Easter but reserved the right to strike after that, should talks with fuel supply companies break down. Not only did this lead to traffic jams as cars queued to fill up, as well as an enormous surge in petrol consumption, but it also resulted in some very serious accidents, with one woman in Yorkshire suffering third degree burns when she tried to decant petrol into a separate container in her kitchen with the gas stove switched on. At the time, Mercury was retrograde in Pisces – the sign of its fall – which may partially explain some of these additional complications, including the string of conflicting public announcement fiasco’s.
Astrologically, this situation unfolded at the same time as a Sun-Pluto square was in play (27-29 March). Occurring in the signs of Aries, which rules self interest, and Capricorn, which rules government and society, it symbolically represented the conflict of interest people felt between looking after their own welfare and their social duty to be considerate to others. It also seemed to signify a period during which voters’ survival instincts were used for political ends and to sway public support away from the trade unions that back the opposition party. Leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband, in turn, used the occasion to criticise the government for inducing the panic in the first place and for trying to divert attention away from scandalous revelations in the press that large party donations could buy you the ear of (or at least a seat at the dinner table) with the Prime Minister and other key members of parliament – an allegation that bears more than a whiff of corruption about it.
Political commentator, Nick Robinson, wrote on his blog1 that, like the Thatcher government did in the 1980’s in order to break the coal miners’ strikes that brought the whole country to a halt2, the Conservative government deliberately set out to encourage people to stock up on fuel in order to avert the effects of a potential strike. However, although not in itself a huge political stumbling block for the ruling Conservative government, on the macro-economic level, the matter of petrol’s role in the economy does continue to be a worry:
- “All this, of course, is what happens to governments. It’s why we used to speak of governments having mid-term blues. These moments pass.What should, perhaps, worry them more is the signs – far from definitive – that the economy is flatlining.With or without a tanker drivers strike, petrol could turn into one of the key stories of the year. Fears of an Israeli conflict with Iran could drive up oil prices, prices at the pump and end hopes of an economic recovery.Now that really would be something to panic about.”
Given that Pluto has long ruled oil; and the Sun, leaders of all kinds, it may well be that when these two planets next clash (they are due to oppose each other on the 29th of June 2012 and again on the 29th of September) we could see this issue get raised again, especially in the context of the impact that petrol prices (and other government policies, including duties and taxes) have on household costs across the board; and how this, in turn, can affect people’s support of government institutions and political parties. Of course, in between these two difficult events are two trines (exact on the 29th of this month and 30th of August 2012) which offer opportunities for economic improvement via tweaking institutional reforms and making changes to duties and taxes.
 See Wikipedia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UK_miners’_strike_(1984%E2%80%931985)