My areolae always turn a deeper shade of pink when the latest Old Moore's Almanack dive bombs from the heavens - vox stellarum, no less! I like to steal a march via the mumbo jumbo powers - and the 2008 edition is just out. Published since 1697, its astrological compass is a wide one, conflating predictions on weighty international affairs with pointers to favourable periods for flat-race jockeys. Between these future scopes are ads of much curiosity - the Egyptian goddess Isis promises self-assurance through her incantations, in English. Wonders to behold.
Now, it's easy to mock. I could dwell on the fact that though the eponymous Dr Francis Moore is a master of horoscopic calculation, he thinks Anthony Eden's predicted resignation was in 1937 when he means 1957. But no matter. Where's a decent sub-editor when you need one? I come not to bury Dr Moore but to congratulate him for he got a couple of things right - the departure date of Tony Blair and the flavour of the new capo dei capi's government, Mr Broon.
Last September I noted Moore's certainty - from his vantage point of early autumn 2005 for the 2007 edition - that in July 2007 “The Sun and Moon are on the Midheaven at London pointing to somewhat greater popularity for the government. Radical changes both in policy and personnel are possible, and will be carried out very smoothly.”
Is it not reasonable to suppose that Old Moore's had foreseen Blair's departure date even before the then PM himself had faced up to reality? - and is not the Blair-promised "smooth and orderly transition" (to Brown) anticipated? We could argue over this, so let's say it was a shrewd guess. And Moore is correct about the government's popularity - nine points ahead of the Tories as I write.
For August 2007, national celebrations are foreseen as “old-fashioned values are reasserted” with more and more people getting married ... well, an exaggeration perhaps, but puritan Brown is likely to alter the tax credit rules to favour married couples, and I'm sure that it is this that Moore foresees as the country is enveloped in a stifling dose of Scottish Presbyterianism. Expect happy headlines from the Daily Mail, then.
Labour-haters can take comfort that everything goes pear-shaped from November '07 when scandals renew our healthy and deserved loathing for politicians. Oh dear, the Mail proves characteristically fickle as it did with Blair.
So, all that was in the 2007 edition. What of the 2008? When it was put together Moore would not have been certain - from the vantage point of October 2006 (long deadlines!) - that Brown was a shoo-in for No 10. That doesn't stop him from running an astrological profile of The Gord (along with the likes of Noel Edmonds and Helen Mirren). Brown has not one but four planets in secretive Pisces - so even if I didn't know that the subject was once suspected to be gay or bisexual, I would have to say that this is a man acclimatised to surreptitiousness and the murk-side of Westminster. Valedictories on his political career will feature the word "enigmatic", I predict.
Moore fails emphatically to predict Brown's accession beyond the obvious "Gordon Brown's future lies in the hands of his fellow MPs and they may think his credentials are sound ... " Yes, and the sun may shine yet. But Moore is less convinced that Brown can hold onto power against what he calls the "charisma of Cameron". Improbable now, but events, dear boy, events ...
Moore's map for 2008 is exceedingly depressing for Brown: though it will be a "business-like year" for the UK, rather humdrum due to "slow-moving planets" as Pluto moves into Capricorn, the government will be reviled - I therefore deduce that if Brown does not call a General Election in 2007, he will test his appeal some time after '08. Or Moore is utterly wrong, as no election is hinted at.
For the US however we should congratulate in advance the Democrats on a return to power as President-elect Hillary Clinton beckons in November. Meanwhile, "At Doncaster, the November Handicap races may be won by a 3-year-old carrying 8st 8lb."
Foulsham's Original: Old Moore's Almanack 2008, £1.99