Jill Segger's blog

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.

Armed Forces Day: an alternative viewpoint

Armed Forces Day: an alternative viewpoint

Today (30 June) is Armed Forces Day. The idea was introduced in 2009 to "show support for the men and women of the armed forces".

The sharp edges of poverty

“Money pads the edges of things” says Helen Schlegel, a character in EM Forster's Howards End. And where there is no padding, those edges can be very sharp indeed.

The still small voice of an obstinate woman

The still small voice of an obstinate woman

“The finances are in a mess, the Meeting House is a mess, it's ridiculous. You sitting here on your own. God knows who wandering in and out. It's not safe.” Thus spoke a reasonable man to an obstinate and visionary woman.

The local and the universal: reflections on a jubilee weekend

The local and the universal: reflections on a jubilee weekend

Almost thirty years ago, I went to the Yorkshire Dales with a group of friends to undertake an ascent of the Three Peaks. Penyghent, Whernside and Ingleborough make for a stiff day's walking. But we were very young and the challenge of quantity was more significant to us than the quality of more leisured ascent.

Jubilee and pageantry: the impiety of false pride

Jubilee and pageantry: the impiety of false pride

“Gross impiety it is that a nation's pride should be maintained in the face of its poor.” William Penn wrote these words in 1669. We have no means of knowing what his voice might have sounded like when he read them aloud, as he undoubtedly would have done, but when I hear them in my mind's ear, they are spoken with firmness and a touch of anger. They are words we do well to heed in our own time.