Charlie Wilson, one of the last of the old-style Scottish newspapermen has died. One of his successors at the Times, which he edited, described him as “one of the toughest, sharpest and most all-round newspaper men in London, maybe the world”. He started his career at 16 as a copy runner in Fleet Street and progressed to the editorship of seven newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic.
Born 18 August 1935 at 3.20am Glasgow, he was known to Private Eye as “Gorbals” Wilson and he leant on his background to convey an image as a hard-nosed, ruthless and irascible tabloid news editor. His father was a miner turned steelworker, occasionally violent, and his mother left the marriage taking him away from a working-class grammar school to London when he was 16, disrupting his hopes of going to university. He moved up the ladder from office boy into a job at the Daily Mail where he met and married Anne Robinson, eventually divorcing her as her drinking got out of control giving him sole custody of their daughter.
He was eventually enticed to The Times by Rupert Murdoch to improve its circulation and broaden its appeal, as well as steering it through a vicious battle with the print unions at Wapping. During his time there he fired Boris Johnson for making up a quote. After a couple more moves to Chicago and back he ended up overseeing The Sporting Life which appealed to his enthusiasm for racing. He married twice more, once to magazine editor Sally O’Sullivan and finally to Rachel Pitkeathley with whom he established a National Hunt Stud in Leicestershire, breeding horses.
Two things are intriguing about his chart. One is a volatile, explosive 4th house Mars in Scorpio opposition a 10th house Uranus in Taurus which would make him uncompromising and impatient. Which sat side by side with a kinder, sentimental Neptune opposition Saturn. But more than that he had a Yod of a 3rd house Neptune sextile Mars Jupiter inconjunct a 10th house Moon. A 10th house Moon would fit him for a public career, since the Moon rules the masses. And while at an emotional level an apex Moon can be disorganised, it clearly gave him a ‘nose’ for public trends, indispensable for a newspaper editor.
Individuals with Yods in their chart tend to feel they do not fit into their environment initially but when the Yod clicks into place they get onto their own unique track to live out their special talent. When he was 16 and hauled away from home and education tr Jupiter in Aries was opposition to Neptune in Libra square Uranus in Cancer – all impacting on his Yod focal point Moon pointing him in the direction he was designed to go.
Andrew Neil, another working-class Scot who edited the Sunday Times, at the time Charlie Wilson was heading The Times, also has a Moon apex yod – of Pluto sextile Neptune inconjunct a Pisces Moon. 21 May 1949 9.45am Paisley, Scotland. Both had a stubborn Mars in a Fixed sign, in Neil’s case in Taurus square Pluto; and in Wilson’s case in Scorpio opposition Uranus. Both had Pluto on the Ascendant or in their 1st so heavyweight personalities. Both had Mercury in the sign of its rulership, Wilson in Virgo and Neil in Gemini.
This is fairly self-indulgent since I knew him but interesting astrologically about the lunar yod. Of his wives – Anne Robinson is a strong-minded Libra and the next two were more than capable Leos which was his own sun sign – so he enjoyed the company of lively women.
Pic: JULIAN HERBERT