Politicians of all persuasions wheel out 'fairness' as a justification and a palliative for everything to which the electorate might possibly be expected to raise an objection, says Jill Segger. But the 'f' word is elusive and slippery when compared to the firmer moral, political and religious roots of 'justice' and 'equality'.
To tolerate in the sense of acknowledging that different experiences are likely to produce different outcomes, and that without the experience, we should tread the paths of judgement with great care, is wise and charitable, says Jill Segger. This forbearance is perhaps better perceived as humility than as tolerance.
Voters are weary of spin, contemptuous of the moral deformities of "being on-message" and disillusioned with the journey from managerial "what works" politics to the messianic certainties, says Jill Segger. A different compass is needed in Labour's leadership election and elsewhere in British politics.
The Prime Minister's rapid response to the furore over his proposal to scrap free milk for children under five is revealing, says Jill Segger. But what it shows is political self-regard rather than high principle.
If corporate power groups are permitted to get their hands on our most important and humane social institution, the National Health Service, it will be all but impossible for a future government to restore it, says Jill Segger. The so-called Big Society will have got quite a lot smaller.
There has been virtually no national moral conversation about progressive taxation and those who believe in social justice have permitted their approach to be dictated entirely by the ideological Right, says Jill Segger. Another way forward is both possible and crucial.
As the new coalition government settles down, it is important to see past the hype and fear to the real issues of power, says Jill Segger. Asking tough questions of the powerful remains especially important in this new situation, with warning signs and signs of hope both in evidence.
In the face of a couple of glaring examples to the contrary, politicians may, through necessity, learn the outward usages of integrity, says Jill Segger. In all probability, that will still conceal a degree of hypocrisy, but even the imitation of virtue may eventually lead to the real thing.
A lifelong attachment to the Labour movement and its values of equity and justice makes questioning loyalty to the party formed in its name difficult, says Jill Segger. But it is possible to hold on to your principles and find political vision beyond tribalism.