Jill Segger's blog

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.

Balal's Good Friday: the liberation of forgiveness

Balal's Good Friday: the liberation of forgiveness

Those of us whose trade is words do well to remember the relative value of a picture and a thousand words. The front page of the Guardian yesterday (17 April 2014) presented an unforgettable instance of the power this adage can carry.

An evening in a 'steeple house': Justin Welby and Christendom order

An evening in a 'steeple house': Justin Welby and Christendom order

My forebears would have called the venue a "steeple house" and the multitude of participating clerics "hireling shepherds and prayer-book men."

George Osborne's budget: two ways to be fooled

George Osborne's budget: two ways to be fooled

George Osborne yesterday presented a budget founded in the determination to believe, if not six, at least two impossible things before breakfast.

Rowan Williams on foodbanks, truth and solidarity

A couple of days ago, I sat in a packed church in a Cambridgeshire village to hear Rowan Williams speak about food banks. The former Archbishop of Canterbury was measured and carefully non-party political in his observations. His address was a model of the power which is exercised when discernment is coupled with commitment to truth and justice.