Jill Segger's blog

Iraq, Parliament and the public interest

Iraq, Parliament and the public interest

The recall of Parliament during a recess is a signifier that grave matters are afoot. As the debating forum of a democracy, it does more than make decisions – it expresses itself in full view of the electorate it is there to represent.

PR, a deficit of statesmanship and the centenary of WW1

PR, a deficit of statesmanship and the centenary of WW1

Last week, the Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury did something which should cause us concern, wherever our political allegiances may lie. I give David Cameron his full title in order to place firmly in the frame the constitutional duties and responsibilities of the head of government in a democratic state.

Assisted dying and the journey of discernment

Assisted dying and the journey of discernment

“Make your mind up”. “You're sitting on the fence”. The culture tends to rebuke us for uncertainty. We are supposed to know where we stand, particularly on important moral issues. But to admit that one is still on a journey and that the destination is as yet over the horizon can be difficult.

Fred Kite is dead: long live cooperation and solidarity

Fred Kite is dead: long live cooperation and solidarity

The hundreds of thousands of public sector workers who joined marches, pickets lines and rallies across England and Wales on 10 July have cast into sharp relief the attitudes of those who would divide us, those who cannot see past their own narrow interests and those who have – to varying degrees – an awareness of the qualities of interrelation, solidarity and the common good which are integral to the civilised functioning of complex modern societies.

Armed Forces Day: a diversion from the reality and consequences of war

Armed Forces Day: a diversion from the reality and consequences of war

The rainstorm of almost tropical ferocity which swept across West Suffolk yesterday afternoon (28 June) was dying down as we assembled for a silent Peace Vigil to mark Armed Forces Day. But the distant thundery grumbles seemed – at the risk of being mocked for the use of Pathetic Fallacy – to be a reminder of the persistence and ubiquity of strife.

Bruised reeds and punitive policies

Bruised reeds and punitive policies

Many years ago, I lived in a flat in a run-down area of an industrial city. The woman in the rooms directly above me was working as a prostitute.

Juan Carlos Bourbon, Elizabeth Windsor and the people's future

Juan Carlos Bourbon, Elizabeth Windsor and the people's future

The response to the abdication of Juan Carlos and the comic-opera events which took place yesterday (4 June) in the palace of Westminster illustrate both the absurdity and the emotional pull of monarchy.

A sense of place and nationalism resisted

A sense of place and nationalism resisted

On the eve of the European elections, patriotism – or at least politicians' appropriation of that condition – is much in the air. I shall refrain from any temptation to refer to scoundrelly tendencies and consider instead, the gentler, and what I believe to be the more fruitful concept of a 'sense of place.'

We have no time for this, Sir

We have no time for this, Sir

“They showed themselves weak in trying to frighten us.” My grandfather's words about the Blackshirts, born out of his experience of the conflict of Cable Street, have stayed in my mind. As a young child, I sensed their import, even though I had little understanding of the context or the meaning. I revisited his words with an adult understanding in the light of two occasions of weak and ugly behaviours from UKIP supporters over the last few days.

Easter silence: a reflection

Easter silence: a reflection

The long religious and secular weekend is over. The Bank Holiday draws to an end and the liturgical celebrations of Easter reached their climax the day before yesterday. As Quakers do not keep these 'times and seasons', I find myself caught in a challenging no-woman's land at Easter and Christmas.