Jill Segger's blog

Political speeches and the true 'greatness' of a nation

Political speeches and the true 'greatness' of a nation

Writing in the Observer on 14 October, the paper's chief political correspondent Andrew Rawnsley presented readers with a composite of the speeches given by the leaders of the three main parties at their recent conferences. It is an amusing swipe at the banalities and dog-whistles of political rhetoric, which you can read here: http://bit.ly/UVtj78 but it is also a reminder of something ugly and delusional which underlies that rhetoric.

Bringing an informed mind and a generous spirit to party conferences

Bringing an informed mind and a generous spirit to party conferences

For those outside the bubble of partisanship, the party conference season is likely to induce varying degrees of irritation and despondency.

Manners and the Minister: the insolence of power

Manners and the Minister: the insolence of power

It may appear graceless to ask the question, but how likely is it that Andrew Mitchell would have managed even the evasive partial apology heard today if he had thought he could get away with his arrogant loutishness towards officers of the Diplomatic Protection Group and retain his job?

Hillsborough: the long injustice of stereotype

Hillsborough: the long injustice of stereotype

Our minds tend towards the creation of categories. The capacity to classify and order is the engine of learning and enquiry. When permitted to go unexamined, it may also be the source of prejudice and injustice.

London 2012, a reshuffle and the honours system

London 2012, a reshuffle and the honours system

'Honour' is both an abstract noun and a verb. These characteristics have become somewhat confused as sacked government ministers are rewarded and Olympic and Paralympic athletes feted for the achievements which have delighted and inspired so many over the last few weeks.

The brave new world of paralympian defiance

The brave new world of paralympian defiance

“A millionaire with a private cinematograph, all the necessary props and a troupe of intelligent actors could, if he wished, make practically all of his inner life known. He could explain the real reasons of his actions instead of telling rationalised lies, point out the things an ordinary man has to keep locked up because there are no words to express them. In general, he could make other people understand him.” So wrote George Orwell in his 1940 essay 'New Words'.

Tory 'rising stars' and the realities of working lives

Tory 'rising stars' and the realities of working lives

Walk wide of people with a book to sell. This may be interpreted as an unwise remark coming from a writer, but the recent comments from five 'rising stars' of the Tory party who are promoting their book 'Britannia in Chains' is a reminder that literary self-interest can be as ugly as any other variety.

'New weather' and the aftermath of London 2012

'New weather' and the aftermath of London 2012

Something unlooked for has happened over the last two weeks. Many of us have been turned from Olympic scepticism towards – if not an entirely uncritical enthusiasm – a frame of mind which acknowledges it has caught a glimpse of the kind of society which we could be, and has taken inspiration from it.

Calf Cop and the still dews of quietness

Calf Cop and the still dews of quietness

This morning I took part in Meeting for Worship in the small 18th century Friends Meeting House at Calf Cop in North Yorkshire. Situated in that area known to Quakers as '1652 country' where the borders of Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria come within a few miles of each other, the Meeting House stands in a quiet burial ground bordered by pine trees and looks across an open landscape to the massive flat-topped mountain of Ingleborough.

The 'Olympishambles' and immoral attitudes towards employment

The 'Olympishambles' and immoral attitudes towards employment

As anger and contempt at the 'Olympishambles' and for G4S' astoundingly hapless CEO fill columns and airwaves, little attention is being paid to the light this débâcle has shed on the callous and amoral attitudes towards employment which are taking root in our culture.