Jill Segger's blog

Silence: a healing tool for the secular believer

Silence: a healing tool for the secular believer

Not speaking unless you can improve on silence is something with which most Quakers are comfortable. This may mean holding your peace even when you have an opinion.

Charles Dickens: a writer for our Hard Times

Charles Dickens: a writer for our Hard Times

“Even the burial of his body in the Abbey was a species of theft when you come to think of it”. George Orwell's words came into my mind as I watched the ceremonies surrounding today's 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens.

An open letter to Iain Duncan Smith

Dear Iain

You once described yourself as “the quiet man”. It didn't quite work for you at the time, which is a pity, because quietness implies a capacity for reflection, listening and, in the words of our Quaker 'Advices and Queries', for finding space to “consider it possible you may be mistaken”. These are not qualities which are much in evidence among our noisier politicians.

Tesco, schadenfreude and the spirit

Tesco, schadenfreude and the spirit

Schadenfreude is a disagreeable trait in human nature. But most of us will at some time have fallen victim to the spiteful little voice which ricochets around the outer edges of our consciences, whispering gleefully, “Good. Serves them right.”

New Year, polemic and asterisks

New Year, polemic and asterisks

New Year was not kept in my childhood home. My parents believed that every day was the beginning of a new year.

Questioning Cameron: a Quaker method

Questioning Cameron: a Quaker method

If power is ever to change its mind or examine its thinking, it needs to be taken out of its comfort zone.

November 30: the day 'divide and rule' was exposed

November 30: the day 'divide and rule' was exposed

“We're all in this together” has never seemed so cynically mendacious as it does today (30 November) – the day after the Chancellor's Autumn Statement and the day on which public service workers are taking part in the largest organised day of action for a generation.

Welfare reform, impiety and the ruin of the state

“A dog starved at his master's gate, predicts the ruin of the state”. These lines from William Blake's Auguries of Innocence go beyond the obvious cruelty they describe. They remind us of the destruction which follows when power abdicates responsibility, care and compassion.

Our hard times: muddle or conspiracy?

Our hard times: muddle or conspiracy?

“It's aw a muddle, lass. Aw a muddle.” This was the dying lament of Stephen Blackpool, the power-loom operator of Hard Times who was driven to physical and emotional ruin by the ruthless economic and industrial system of his day.

St Paul's and Occupy: the vertical and the horizontal

St Paul's and Occupy: the vertical and the horizontal

It would be hard to imagine a more marked contrast of societal models than the one currently on display at the top of Ludgate Hill.