Jill Segger's blog

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.

Violence on the steps of St Paul's

Today (15 October) has seen a global day of action against corporate greed, financial mismanagement and government cuts, which has grown out of New York's 'Occupy Wall Street' demonstration.

Fast lane to nowhere

“Slow down,you move too fast” In the 45 years which have passed since Paul Simon wrote the 59th Street Bridge Song, we have come to move a whole lot faster.