Jill Segger's blog

Duncan Smith and the moral vacuum at the heart of our politics

Duncan Smith and the moral vacuum at the heart of our politics

On Radio 4's Today programme this morning, Iain Duncan Smith was asked if he could live on £53 a week. His response perfectly illustrated the moral vacuum which is at the heart of our politics.

One nation, aspiration nation or condemnation?

One nation, aspiration nation or condemnation?

Politicians tend to become grandiose when they are trying to sell us an idea. The rhetorical use of the concept of 'nation' to corral us together under a conveniently high-sounding label has, in recent months, tried to sign us up to being both 'one nation' and an 'aspiration nation.'

#TruthfromPoliticians: time to demand better

#TruthfromPoliticians: time to demand better

Not long ago, a solicitor who has recently started attending Quaker Meetings for Worship told me that over a lifetime of practice, he had on many occasions been impressed by Friends who would put themselves at a legal and financial disadvantage by strict adherence to the truth. Although this is by no means a virtue confined to Quakers, its absence is perhaps more common than its presence and has in recent weeks, come into sharp political focus.

Cardinal O'Brien, Oscar Pistorius and 'standing still in the Light'

Cardinal O'Brien, Oscar Pistorius and 'standing still in the Light'

Social media has significantly altered many aspects of the balance of power. It has given a voice to ordinary people and made it more difficult for power to hide that which it finds inconvenient or embarrassing.

One Billion Rising: working together to end exploitation and domination

One Billion Rising: working together to end exploitation and domination

It is a truly terrible statistic: one in three women will experience violence at the hands of men at some time in their lives. This represents around one billion individuals and today – when so many are celebrating the gentler aspect of relationships between men and women – the One Billion Rising movement attempts to bring people together across 200 countries to call for change. (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/17999)

Social security, bearing reality, and 'the lies that comfort cruel men'

Social security, bearing reality, and 'the lies that comfort cruel men'

TS Eliot warned us: “Humankind cannot bear very much reality.” The incapacity may manifest as a readiness to believe what suits us rather than what is truthful. It is a tendency shamelessly exploited by power.

Virgin Mary crisps: a storm in a lunchbox

Virgin Mary crisps: a storm in a lunchbox

Many years ago, during the first weeks of a music degree, I was in the university library researching for an essay on 16th century instrumental writing. A fellow fresher, an Indian student whose English was still not quite up to speed, asked me in a worried whisper: “Excuse me please. What is wirginals?” I showed him an illustration of the instrument in the book before me. The anxiety cleared from his face. “Ah – I see!” He smiled at his own misunderstanding. “Not like Wirgin Mary.”

Anna Soubry, horseburgers and a failure of policy

Anna Soubry, horseburgers and a failure of policy

During the past week, the views of Conservative MP Anna Soubry combined with the Tesco 'horseburgers' scandal to provide a cautionary tale about the food environment of Britain in 2013.

Letting our lives speak, not our jewellery

Yesterday (15 January 2013) the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) handed down its judgements on four cases in which Christians have claimed to have been made subject to unlawful discrimination.The only claim upheld was that of Nadia Eweida, a member of British Airways check-in staff who had been prevented from wearing a cross on her uniform under a no jewellery policy subsequently modified by the company.

Much ado about bishops: time for a more humane dispensation?

Much ado about bishops: time for a more humane dispensation?

There has been much ado about bishops of late. First, the Church of England's House of Laity rejected the consecration of women, to the consternation of a majority in their own communion and the incredulity of wider society. Then the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster soured the Nativity season - perhaps the tenderest of all our celebrations of the mysteries of faith - with negativity about same sex love and marriage.