School of Life: Jack Monroe

Here at The Wern we love a bit of Sunday Sermon. There’s something uplifting about singing aloud as a congregation and The School Of Life provides an opportunity for a diverse mix of people to come together, sing, listen and learn. What a lovely thing.

Sunday’s sermon was delivered by one of our favourite ‘mumspirations’, Jack Monroe. Her chosen subject was ‘Greed’ and this was timely as she’s just been awarded £24,000 in compensation from MailOnline columnist, Katie Hopkins, for defamatory comments made on Twitter in 2015.

Monroe was not at liberty to discuss the case as she did not wish to risk being in contempt of court, but it was clearly a huge relief to her and she confirmed some celebrations had taken place the night before. To say this sermon was timely is an understatement. We felt extremely lucky to hear what she had to say.

We’d not seen Jack speak in public before, despite having watched her TV show and tried the recipes from her blog many times, so we were keen to hear her in action. We were not disappointed. She threw away her notes after about five minutes and proceeded to speak to us all with humility, humour and candour.

We learned how she was a frugal food blogger who was in many ways reluctantly “vomited” into the public eye, but continues to remain so because she is an activist, championing for equality and the fair treatment of all. The journey hasn’t been smooth and we learned how there have been hard sacrifices in her personal life along the way.

To sum up the hour in a few digestible points is tricky as every moment was compelling and inspiring, but perhaps the take outs below are guidelines that we could all try to use every day:

  • “Love people, not things”. Conspicuous consumption has got out of control. Spending beyond your means only leads to debt and misery.
  • “We used to love people and use things. Now we use people and love things”. Let’s go back to basics and enjoy making our own Christmas decorations or sharing soup with a neighbour.
  • “Talk to your neighbours, even if they’re famous”. Don’t assume that just because someone’s in the public eye they’ve got it all figured out. Just a simple ‘hello’ as you put the bins out could lift someone’s whole day, regardless of their social status.
  • “Be thankful for something every day”. Perhaps write it down in a diary as Jack’s son Johnny does. It’s ok to be thankful for material possessions, but make sure you don’t forget to attribute value to your friends, family and life’s simple pleasures too.
  • “You are good enough”. Even though we’re constantly bombarded by messages telling us that we need to be younger, thinner, better, etc. remember that being a good person and being happy with your lot is the best trait you can have. Greed is not Good.

Jack Monroe’s landmark libel case is an important moment in UK law and her adversary couldn’t have been better cast. It’s a small victory for the liberal left in these politically divisive times when the global political climate seems to be caring less about those who need our help the most.

Jack Monroe is a British writer, journalist and activist who has campaigned over poverty issues, particularly hunger relief, and has published a blog and several books of “austerity recipes” 

Jack’s Twitter: @MxJackMonroe
Jack’s Instagram: @mxjackmonroe