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On this page you will find the latest History & Policy news. Older news items are in our news archive. To keep up-to-date with the latest History & Policy news, sign up for our email alerts or follow us on Twitter.

Media workshop for historians: free places!

14 May 2014

30 free places for historians are available on H&P's media workshop, 14 May, King's College London. Featuring experienced journalists, documentary makers and media-savvy historians, this day-long event offers first-hand insights into different forms of media, what makes a compelling story, how to engage effectively with journalists, and the uses (and abuses) of social media. H&P historians from final year PhD upwards are welcome to apply for a free place on a first come, first serve basis by emailing historyandpolicy@kcl.ac.uk (deadline 28 April). Please note this workshop complements but does not replace media training.

Media workshop schedule

Report of the Miners' Strike, 30 Years On conference

8 April 2014

Organised by H&P's Trade Union Forum and the British Universities' Industrial Relations Association (BUIRA), the conference attracted nearly 100 participants to explore the legacy of the miners' strike of 1984-85. Bringing together union leaders, strike participants, historians, legal scholars and journalists, the event offered fascinating, and at times charged, insights into an industrial dispute that changed the landscape of trade unionism in Britain.

Read Roger Jeary's report: The Miners' Strike, 30 Years On

H&P historians in the news

3 April 2014

In BBC news online Professor Pat Thane, of King's College London, challenged the notion that until the 1960s a typical family comprised two parents and life-long marriage, with clear role models and caring concern for older relatives. Read the article: Traditional British family a myth, academic says

Dr Selina Todd, of Oxford University, spoke about working class identity on BBC Radio 4's Today programme [2.54 mins]. Dr Todd's book, The People - The Rise and Fall of the Working Class 1910-2010, is published on 10 April.

The 30th anniversary of the 1984 miners' strike sparked a BBC History Magazine interview with Professor Peter Ackers, of Loughborough University, and Dr Jim Moher, of King's College London, about role of the strike in industrial disputes.

Tony Benn: radical socialist and 1960s innovator

18 March 2014

Dr Jad Adams explores the radical socialist tradition in which Tony Benn was firmly rooted, while Professor Steven Fielding considers Benn's challenge to the Labour Party to respond to the transformations of the 1960s and galvanise a grassroots progressive politics.

Read Jad Adam's article: Tony Benn and the radical socialist tradition, which is co-published with Opendemocracy

Read Steve Fielding's article: The forgotten Benn

Bob Crow: effective industrial leader, naive politician?

14 March 2014

The puzzling aspect of Bob Crow's astute union leadership was his far less effective political career, argues Dr Jim Moher, of H&P's Trade Union Forum. In the wake of the RMT leader's premature death, Dr Moher examines his early political influences, the history of the union he led, and the missed opportunities of alienation from the Labour Party.

Read Jim Moher's opinion piece Bob Crow: effective industrial leader, naive politician?

The Miners' Strike, 30 Years On a public conference, 29 March, King's College London

Clement Attlee: enigmatic, out of time - and formidable

11 March 2014

In the latest article for the No. 10 Guest Historian series, Dr Robert Crowcroft, of Edinburgh University, examines the formidable political skills of Clement Attlee, best known for implementing ambitious and controversial economic and social legislation after the Second World War. Less commonly known is his impressive record as Deputy Prime Minister to Winston Churchill during the war.

Clement Attlee: enigmatic, out of time and formidable

Trade unions in the global south conference, 13th June 2014, Congress House

History & Policy's Trade Union Forum and the Trades Union Congress will host a one day conference to explore the crucial role of trade unions in protests that have taken place across the global south. The conference will examine protests from the end of imperialism to the present day and the relationship between trade unions and the state. The conference is free and open to all, on a first come, first serve basis.

See the conference schedule here

To reserve a place please contact Gareth Curless: g.m.curless@exeter.ac.uk

Visiting the Pope: the monarch's private visit

14 February 2014

It is a mistake to see Queen's visit to the Pope this April as just another overseas royal visit, says Dr Matthew Glencross, of the Institute of Contemporary British History at King's College London. In many ways the complex protocol make such visits tricky - as the history of British monarchs meeting the Pontiff reveals.

Read Matthew Glencross' opinion piece: Visiting the Pope: the monarch's private visit

The Miners' Strike, 30 Years On: 29 March 2014 public conference, King's College London

This public conference marks three decades since Margaret Thatcher sought to dismantle Britain's coal industry, evoking a passionate response from the miners and dramatically affected mining communities. Leading figures at the time, historians and legal scholars will reflect on the causes, course and enduring consequences of the strike for unions, the state and the law in Britain today. Organised by H&P's Trade Union Forum and the British Universities' Industrial Relations Association (BUIRA), the conference will be recorded.

See the conference schedule The Miners' Strike, 30 Years On

'We have won the German war. Let us now win the peace'

28 January

After making his famous speech to troops on Victory in Europe Day, 8 May 1945, Field-Marshall Montgomery directed Britain's 'benevolent occupation' of Germany. Chris Knowles, of the Institute of Contemporary British History at King's College London, examines the record of Montgomery and his successors in the British Zone, 1945-49, and considers the lessons for Britain in Afghanistan and Iraq today.

Read Chris Knowles' paper: Germany 1945-1949: a case study in post-conflict reconstruction

H&P historians in the news

28 January

H&P co-founder Professor Simon Szreter of Cambridge University discusses the history of marriage on BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours this Tuesday. And H&P Director Dr Lucy Delap of King’s College London explains to the Alliance for Useful Evidence why decision makers are increasingly turning to historians.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03s6zmd
http://www.alliance4usefulevidence.org/why-government-is-listening-to-historians

War commemorations and politics: Lessons from the nineteenth century

13 January 2013

A recent row over how the First World War should be remembered has raised questions about the politicisation of war memory. Karine Varley considers the Franco-Prussian war, and how 'light-touch' commemoration by the French state allowed memories of war deaths to be kept alive in meaningful ways.

Read Karine Varley opinion piece: War commemorations and politics: Lessons from the nineteenth century

Historical lead research leads to $1 billion courtroom victory

The historical research conducted by David Rosner and Gerald Markovitz and published this year in their book, Lead Wars (2013), has also brought history into the courtroom in USA. Their evidence was crucial in securing a landmark ruling that US companies should pay over $1 billion to have lead paint removed from various homes. The historians were able to demonstrate from historical sources that there was clear industry knowledge about the toxicity of the lead paint they were selling.

As David Rosner has said, 'History is an important way to establish responsibility and to help create a sense of who is responsible for the damage that's been caused and the dangers that continue to exist. By looking at the history of lead paint you see the past actions of these corporations that have polluted our environment.'

Read more here

Application deadline for Policy Impact Skills for Historians: 13 December

Historians are invited to apply by 13 December for H&P's new short course, Policy Impact skills for Historians, which will start in January 2014 at King's College London. Open to historians of any period, the course aims to help maximise the impact of research among policy-making-and-shaping audiences.

For the schedule please click here

There are 20 free places for historians (of any department, centre or institute) at King's College London. For more information and to submit your application

There are 5 AHRC-funded places for historians in the UK. For more information and to submit your application

There are 5 places on a fee-paying basis for historians in the UK. For more information and to submit your application

'Children' and the nanny state: shifting the boundaries of adolescence

The Conservatives and Labour are developing policies on jobs and benefits that would remove certain rights from under-25-year-olds, building on a trend that has existed since adolescence was first defined in the nineteenth century, according to Laura Tisdall in a new H&P opinion piece.

Read the article: 'Children' and the nanny state: shifting the boundaries of adolescence

'We shall fight on the beaches': unpicking Churchill's oratorical success

2 December 2013

It is one of Winston Churchill's most famous speeches, yet is not well understood, important parts are often forgotten and many myths surround it. In the latest article for the History of Government Blog, Professor Richard Toye, of Exeter University, considers the context in which the speech was delivered delivered on 4 June 1940, the response from the House of Commons and public, and the oratorical characteristics that contributed to Churchill's fame.

Read the article: 'We shall fight on the beaches': three things you never knew about Churchill's most famous speech

Health reforms, opinion polls and surveys: myths and realities

2 December 2013

Attitudes to NHS reform today are shaped by a largely imagined past of poor healthcare prior to the NHS, according to Dr Nick Hayes in a new H&P policy paper. An Ipsos Mori poll in conjunction with King's College London confirmed Dr Hayes' research - finding a fear of reform, particularly the involvement of private providers in the NHS. 'Yet mixed provision was much closer to how things actually used to be, in pre-1948 healthcare,' says Dr Hayes, of Nottingham Trent University. 'At that time the private sector had very little involvement in the hospital service but voluntary organisations did.'

Read the policy paper: Health reforms, opinion polls and surveys: myths and realities

Read the Ipsos Mori poll report: Attitudes to healthcare services in the UK

The break-up of Czechoslovakia and Scottish independence

26 November 2013

As the White Paper Scotland's Future is published, Dr Kieran Williams, of Drake University, examines Czechoslovakia's 'Velvet Divorce' of 1992 to reflect on the major issues for Scottish independence today. He argues that dissolving a federation (to create the Czech and Slovak republics) is very different from removing one part of an ongoing union - Scotland gaining independence from the UK.

Read the policy paper: The break-up of Czechoslovakia and Scottish independence

Policy Impact Skills Training: programme, application process and AHRC bursaries

26 November

H&P's new short course, Policy Impact Skills for Historians, will start in January 2014 at King's College London. Comprising three workshops (January, Feb and May) and ongoing support in 2014, the course will help historians (of any period) maximise the impact of their research. The deadline for all applications is 13 December 2013.

There are 20 free places for historians (of any department, centre or institute) at King's College London. For more information and to submit your application

There are 5 AHRC-funded places for historians in the UK. For more information and to submit your application

There are 5 places on a fee-paying basis for historians in the UK. For more information and to submit your application

Edward VII: a role model for Charles?

19 November 2013

Prince Charles marked his 65th birthday at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Colombo last week.During a nine-day visit to India beforehand, he spoke about an earlier royal tour, in 1873, by his great great grandfather, King Edward VII, then Prince of Wales. In a new H&P opinion piece, Matthew Glencross, of King's College London, considers the previous longest serving heir as a role model for Prince Charles.

Read the opinion piece: Edward VII: a role model for Charles?

The Commonwealth Heads of Government: a question of leadership

14 November 2013

As the Commonwealth Heads of Government meet in Colombo - a meeting boycotted by India and Canada in protest at Sri Lanka's human rights record - Dr Sue Onslow considers how the Commonwealth's handling of contentious issues in the past can help the organisation today.

Read the opinion piece: The Commonwealth Heads of Government: a question of leadership

TV personality, Whitehall insider, public intellectual: the new world of public history

5 November 2013

Dr Pam Cox, Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Social History at the University of Essex, Graeme Davison, Emeritus Professor at Monash University, and John Tosh, Professor of History at Roehampton University explore the opportunities and challenges for historians engaging with policy and public audiences. This free public panel discussion at King's College London is chaired by Dr Lucy Delap, H&P Director and Reader in Twentieth Century British History. Join the discussion and find out more about Policy Impact Skills for Historians, a new short course starting January 2014 at King's.

For more information: The new world of public history [pdf 127kb]

International crises: how a historical approach can help

29 October 2013

What approach would a historian adopt on the debate about the use of weapons of mass destruction in Syria? As UN weapons inspectors prepare to destroy Syria's means of producing chemical weapons, Dr Ibrahim al-Marashi, of California State University San Marcos, explains how a historian's methods and tools of analysis can help policy makers in international crises.

Read the opinion piece: Historical method and international crises: weapons of mass destruction in Syria

The Prime Ministers' people

17 October 2013

Behind every Prime Minister there are other people 'at Power's Elbow'. Who were the aides and advisers to earlier PMs and what role did they play? Professor George Jones, of LSE, and Dr Andrew Blick, of King's College London, consider the staffing arrangements and working practices of three celebrated PMs: Robert Walpole, William Gladstone and Winston Churchill, in the latest article for the No. 10 Guest Historian Series.

The Prime Ministers' people: indispensable aides to three premiers

Surveillance, privacy and history

16 October 2013

'A paroxysm of national anger' erupted when the government was caught opening citizens' letters in the interests of national security: the 1844 espionage crisis sparked the first modern panic about privacy in Britain. With the new Penny Post and Telegraph technology, the nineteenth century experienced a transformation in mass communications - and invented a problem that the early twenty-first century is struggling to resolve, as highlighted by the Edward Snowden revelations, according to a new H&P policy paper and opinion piece by Professor David Vincent, of the Open University.

Read the policy paper: Surveillance, privacy and history

Read the opinion piece: Everything is history co-published with openDemocracy

What is a 'good death'?

15 October 2013

What earlier generations knew as 'the King of Terrors' has become a twenty-first century taboo. Developments in law and medicine, increasingly diverse religious views, and the rise of secularism have changed our thinking about death. Examining fifteenth to nineteenth century beliefs and rituals around death might encourage us to break the silence today and consider how we manage the end of life.

H&P hosts a public panel discussion The 'good death'? Choice and dying in historical and contemporary perspectives on Wednesday 16 October at King's College London, and publishes an opinion piece Debating the 'good death': a long view by Dr Carl Watkins of Cambridge University.

Britain and the formation of modern Yemen

14 October 2013

50 years ago today, a revolt began in the Radfan region of South Arabia, now Yemen, catalysing a national liberation struggle with far reaching consequences for Yemen, Britain and international security today. Dr Aaron Edwards, of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, looks back to 14 October 1963.

Read the opinion piece: Britain and the formation of modern Yemen

Why have no bankers gone to jail?

7 October 2013

As the Banking Reform Bill goes through the House of Lords, Dr James Taylor argues in a new H&P policy paper that political will, not tougher legislation, is needed to restore trust in the City and the state. Effective legislation already exists - dating from the nineteenth century and strengthened since 1900, contrary to popular perceptions of the Victorian era's uncontrolled capitalism. The Victorians took transgression seriously - with important economic and social effects, which today's policy makers should be aware of, argues Dr Taylor, of Lancaster University.

Read the policy paper: Why have no bankers gone to jail?

New 2014 short course for historians: Policy Impact Skills

H&P has created a dynamic course for historians at King's College London and H&P members across the UK to maximise research impact and enhance future REF capacity. The course, enabled by King's College London, comprises three workshops (January-May 2014) at King's for 30 historians, from final year PhD students to senior academics. To find out more, come to a special public panel discussion at King's, on 5 November (5.30-6.45pm), featuring Dr Pam Cox of Essex University, Tristram Hunt MP and Dr Lucy Delap of King's College London.

For more information: please click here [pdf 203kb]

Addressing food poverty in Ireland: historical perspectives

18 September 2013

Debates about nutritional health in nineteenth and early twentieth century Ireland, a period of severe economic decline and poverty, offers food for thought for today's policy makers, argues Dr Ian Miller, of the University of Ulster, in a new H&P policy paper. Nineteenth century public debates about school meal provision, where responsibility lay for children's nutrition, scapegoating of mothers, and the effects of unemployment on family health, echo current concerns.

Read Ian Miller's policy paper: Addressing food poverty in Ireland: historical perspectives

No glass ceiling for female officers?

29 August 2013

'There are no glass ceilings for female officers,' Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said recently, in response to the promotion of Elaine West, the first woman in the RAF to attain 2-star rank. If that is true today, it was not so for earlier generations argues Kathleen Sherit, who considers the overt and covert barriers to the career development of women in the RAF.

Read Kathleen Sherit's opinion piece: No glass ceiling for female officers?

Syria today, Jacobites in 1745: how politics cuts summer short

27 August 2013

Today David Cameron returns early from his family break to deal with the Syria crisis. In 1745 King George II was forced to cut short his Hanoverian holiday to tackle the Jacobite rebellion. Dr Andrew Thompson, of Cambridge University, explains the challenges of governing from afar in the eighteenth century and how the King's summer absence enhanced the emerging role of Prime Minister.

Read Andrew Thompson's article: We're all going on a summer holiday…to Hanover

Governments and 'soft power' in international affairs: Britain and the boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics

6 August 2013

Prior to the Athletics World Championships in Moscow this week, Dr Paul Corthorn looks back to the 1980 Olympics in the Russian capital - and the failed boycott by the Thatcher Government. Boycotts and other forms of 'soft power' can be useful tools for furthering government policy, but only with careful handling, Corthorn warns.

Read Paul Corthorn's opinion piece co-published with openDemocracy:

Why Thatcher's attempt to boycott the 1980 Moscow Olympics failed

Read the policy paper: Governments and 'soft power' in international affairs: Britain and the boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics

The Strasbourg court is anti-democratic, just as its founders intended

31 July 2013

Uproar and calls to curtail the powers of the European Court of Human Rights frequently follow rulings from Strasbourg - particularly on the right of the political spectrum. Yet as Dr Marco Duranti of Sydney University points out, the Tories have only themselves to blame. In the late 1940s, senior Conservatives, including Winston Churchill, conceived of and campaigned for a European court and convention on human rights to protect liberal democracy and constrain what they saw as the latent authoritarianism of Labour governments such as Attlee's 1945-51 administration.

Read Marco Duranti's opinion piece co-published with openDemocracy:

The Strasbourg court is anti-democratic, just as its founders intended

Read the policy paper: Curbing Labour's totalitarian temptation: European human rights law as a Conservative political project

Baby George is named, but beware the christening

26 July 2013

George has been the most frequently adopted name for British monarchs over the last 300 years. Dr Andrew C Thompson, of Cambridge University, considers their respective characters, abilities and reputations to understand the politics of naming baby Cambridge, George.

Read Andrew C. Thompson's opinion piece: Baby George is named, but beware the christening

What's in a name? Naming Baby Cambridge

24 July 2013

Naming heirs to the throne has always been fraught with politics, as Matthew Glencross explains in a new opinion piece examining the pros and cons of traditional royal names.

Read Matthew Glencross' opinion piece: What's in a name? Naming Baby Cambridge

Is Ed Miliband taking political funding back to 1927?

12 July 2013

Jim Moher, of H&P's Trade Union Forum, considers the history of union political funding, providing food for thought for the Labour Party as it grapples with the issue today.

Read Jim Moher's opinion piece: Is Ed Miliband taking political funding back to 1927??

Mr Gove's new history curriculum: top marks or could do better?

11 July 2013

As the final version of the history curriculum for English schools is published, Robert Guyver examines whether it is an improvement on the much-contested February draft. He questions how Michael Gove's enthusiasm for increasing the number of academies can be squared with his commitment to teaching a chronological British narrative.

Read Robert Guyver's opinion piece: Mr Gove's new history curriculum: top marks or could do better?

'We wanted to wake him up': Mrs Pankhurst, Lloyd George and suffragette militancy

4 July 2013

'I have advised, I have incited, I have conspired', announced Emmeline Pankhurst after the bombing of David Lloyd George's Surrey home in February 1913. It marked a new stage in the women's suffrage campaign according to Elizabeth Crawford, in the latest article for the Downing Street guest historian series. Almost exactly five years after the bomb attack, the Representation of the People Bill was passed, for first time allowing women not only to elect MPs but also to stand for election to Parliament.

Read the article: 'We wanted to wake him up': Mrs Pankhurst, Lloyd George and suffragette militancy

Policy Scotland launched: call for historians

4 July 2013

Policy Scotland, launched by the University of Glasgow, aims to stimulate new and critical policy thinking about policy debates in Scotland, the UK and internationally, by bringing together academics, practitioners and policy makers. H&P historian Professor Jim Tomlinson is seeking to link up those interested in using historical evidence to gain a better understanding of public policy and policy possibilities in Scotland, whether as an independent nation or devolved government.

For more information, please contact: jim.tomlinson@glasgow.ac.uk

History & Policy is hiring!

1 July 2013

H&P is seeking a Digital Communications Officer to support our long-term strategy to increase the influence of historians across the UK in public policy. The post holder will develop and deliver H&P's online and social media strategy, advance the website's functionality, and promote the project's activities and profile in Cambridge. S/he will be based in the Faculty of History at Cambridge University and collaborate closely with H&P's Public Affairs Office, which is based in the Institute of Contemporary British History at King's College London. The new role of Digital Communications Officer is full-time, funded initially for two years, starting in September 2013. The closing date for applications is 15 July.

For more information: History & Policy Digital Communications Officer

Britain in Palestine: time to apologise?

27 June 2013

Should Britain apologise for its colonial past in Palestine as some campaigners are now urging, ahead of the centenary of the Balfour Declaration in 2017? James Renton of Edge Hill University argues that campaigners and policy makers alike should engage with the complex story of Britain's moment in the Holy Land.

Read his opinion piece: Britain in Palestine: time to apologise?

Britain's exit from Aden in 1967: lessons for Afghanistan

25 June 2013

British forces' hurried and humiliating exit from Aden in 1967 shows the dangers of a highly politicised and hasty withdrawal from a complex counter-insurgency campaign, according to a new policy paper by Andrew Mumford, of Nottingham University. His analysis of British military operations in Aden during the 1962-67 civil war in South Arabia (modern-day Yemen) offers vital lessons for military and political leaders planning British forces' departure from Afghanistan.

Read the policy paper: Exit strategies in counter-insurgency: Britain in Aden and the lessons for Afghanistan

'Little grape' and the 'right to reign'

24 June 2013

With the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's 'little grape' due next month, Arianne Chernock of Boston University discusses the implications of the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, in the context of Queen Victoria's 'right to reign'. Although 'cobbled together to modernise the royal family', she argues that it could still have a positive impact on gender equality.

Read her opinion piece: 'Little grape' and the 'right to reign'

Forgotten lessons from early twentieth century agriculture offer model for small farmers today

14 June 2013

International donor agencies and governments have turned a blind eye to evidence of successful state-funded assistance for peasant farmers - for example in Japan and Central Europe around 1900 - which could provide models for boosting smallholder agriculture in the global South today, according to Jonathan Harwood, of Manchester University, in a new History & Policy paper.

Read the paper: Development policy and history: lessons from the Green Revolution

Divisions, disaffection - and defeat?

7 June 2013

History & Policy historians reflect on dangerous rifts in the Conservative Party in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. What insights do previous Conservative leaders facing internal unrest, including Sir Robert Peel, Arthur Balfour, Stanley Baldwin and John Major, offer Prime Minister David Cameron today?

Read Stuart Ball's opinion piece: 'Posh boys' and 'swivel-eyed loons': Conservative leaders and grassroots unrest in perspective

Read Charles Read's opinion piece: Conservative splits: lessons from history?

The protectionist side of outsourcing

29 May 2013

The current recession and rising unemployment has rekindled the protectionism versus free trade debate. Dr Marc-William Palen looks back to the 19th century, an era of high import tariffs in many countries, to illustrate how protectionist policies can result in jobs being outsourced. Free trade is not the only catalyst for job relocation, he argues.

Read Marc-William Palen's opinion piece: The protectionist side of outsourcing

Thatcher's historical legacy

20 May 2013

Like that of Margaret Thatcher, assessments of Sir Robert Peel's legacy have blown with the prevailing political wind. Charles Read explores what the many interpretations and reinterpretations of Peel's legacy, tell us about how Thatcher may come to be viewed by historians.

Read Charles Read's article: Will Thatcher's historical legacy, like Robert Peel's, U-turn from beyond the grave?

History & Policy lecture series at Gresham College

4, 11 and 18 June 2013

Three leading members of the H&P Network will give public lectures at Gresham College in June as part of a special History & Policy series, at 6pm on consecutive Tuesdays:

Prof David Reynolds of Christ's College, Cambridge, will speak about Summit diplomacy: some lessons from history for 21st Century leaders (4 June)

Dr Paul Warde of UEA will discuss Choosing a Past for the Future: Why today's environment policy is also history (but doesn't know it) (11 June)

H&P co-founder Prof Simon Szreter of St John's College, Cambridge, will explore What have Henry VIII and Elizabeth I got to do with 21st century development policy? (18 June)

Entry to all Gresham College events is on a first-come, first-served basis, so please arrive in good time. Visit the Gresham College website for further information and directions.

See also the speakers' previous History & Policy papers: David Reynolds: The Prime Minister as world statesman, Paul Warde: Low carbon futures and high carbon pasts: policy challenges in historical perspective, Simon Szreter: The right of registration: development, identity registration and social security

Coalition governments:'always unpopular and seldom lasted long'?

10 May 2013

In 1886 Liberal Unionist Lord Derby said coalition governments 'were always unpopular and seldom lasted long.' On the eve of the third anniversary of the current Coalition Government, Ian Cawood, of Newman University, assesses the performance, politics and popularity of the six previous coalition governments in the last 120 years - and the implications for relations between the parties in coalition today.

Read the opinion piece: Coalition governments:'always unpopular and seldom lasted long'?

Read the policy paper: Liberal-Conservative Coalitions -'a farce and a fraud'?

Upsetting the gentlemen's club

8 May 2013

When Margaret Thatcher entered the House of Commons in 1959 she was one of 25 women among 605 men. She overcame considerable prejudice against women in politics during her extraordinary career. In the latest article for the Downing Street website, Ben Griffin, of Cambridge University, reflects on the uneven erosion of sexual inequality in British parliamentary politics.

Read Ben Griffin's article: Thatcher and the glass ceiling

Margaret Thatcher and the Cold War

30 April 2013

Despite her lack of foreign policy experience on becoming Prime Minister in 1979, Margaret Thatcher soon played an active and sometimes surprising role in foreign affairs, as Dr Andrew Holt, of Nottingham University, explains.

Read Andrew Holt's opinion piece: Margaret Thatcher and the Cold War

Disraeli's flowery legacy

26 April 2013

Benjamin Disraeli's coffin was lowered to the ground 132 years ago today - among the floral tributes, a primrose wreath from Queen Victoria. In the latest article for the Downing Street website, Tom Crewe, of Cambridge University, considers 'the unusual bond' forged between Prime Minister and sovereign - and Disraeli's primrose legacy catalysed by Victoria.

Read Tom Crewe's article: Disraeli's flowery legacy

Understanding Margaret Thatcher and her legacy

17 April 2013

In the wake of Baroness Thatcher's funeral, H&P historians offer insightful analysis of her premiership and legacy. Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite, of Cambridge University, examines her complex attitudes to welfare, Dr James Cooper, of Oxford Brookes University, pierces the stereotype of the Thatcher-Reagan relationship, and Dr Eliza Filby, of King's College London, argues that Thatcherism owed more to Methodism than monetarism.

Read Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite's H&P opinion piece: Margaret Thatcher, individualism and the welfare state

Read James Cooper's H&P opinion piece: Reagan vs. Thatcher: unpicking the special relationship

Read Eliza Filby's article in The Telegraph: Margaret Thatcher: her unswerving faith shaped by her father

The Peace of Utrecht: why Britain is forgetting to remember

16 April 2013

Three hundred years ago, Britain signed a peace treaty that concluded a quarter of a century of warfare, cemented her place as a world power and secured the constitutional monarchy established through the Glorious Revolution. Andrew C. Thompson of Queens' College, Cambridge, explores why we are so reluctant to commemorate the Peace of Utrecht, and why it should feature in the new school history curriculum.

Read Andrew C. Thompson's opinion piece, The Peace of Utrecht: why Britain is forgetting to remember

Any takers for roast horse on Easter Sunday?

28 March 2013

Will any British families be sitting down to eat roast horse this Easter Sunday? With rising meat prices and squeezed household budgets, perhaps they should do, argues Mark Roodhouse of York University. Despite previous attempts to 'break the taboo', British people have long been reluctant to eat horsemeat. But without a legitimate market, history shows that today's black marketeers need only bide their time until the current scandal fades and 'traces of horse' creep into the food chain once more.

Read Mark Roodhouse's opinion piece, Break the taboo on horsemeat - or food fraud will continue

See also his OUP blog, Eating horse in austerity Britain

Seventy years and counting: the unsolved problem of press regulation

26 March 2013

The Leveson Inquiry was the seventh government-commissioned inquiry into press regulation in the last seventy years. In a new policy paper, Tom O'Malley, Professor of Media at Aberystwyth University, predicts an eighth. He explores the long history of policy failure in this area, and critiques the polarised debate over 'State censorship versus free speech'. Prof O'Malley will be speaking in a H&P discussion at the Social History Society Conference in Leeds this afternoon, Unhappy birthday? The crisis of press self-regulation, chaired by H&P Senior Editor Adrian Bingham.

Read Tom O'Malley's H&P paper Seventy years and counting: the unsolved problem of press regulation

Britain's '9/11 Wars' in historical perspective: why change and continuity matter

20 March 2013

Britain's involvement in the '9/11 Wars' has transformed the security landscape but history shows that 'new' adversaries are not that novel and share similarities with more familiar terrorist threats. Dr Aaron Edwards, of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, argues that a strategic analysis of the history of Irish republican terrorism, Al Qaeda affiliates and Britain's response to such adversaries, offers important insights for decision makers today.

Read Aaron Edwards H&P paper Britain's '9/11 Wars' in historical perspective: why change and continuity matter

Votes for Victorian women

18 March 2013

Women were active voters 75 years before they received the parliamentary franchise in 1918, Sarah Richardson of Warwick University reveals. Previously unseen evidence shows that women voted in parish elections, proof, Prof. Richardson argues, that their political activity was not confined to 'soft politics' as traditionally thought. Prof. Richardson will present BBC Radio 4's Document at 8.00pm tonight to discuss Votes for Victorian Women.

Read Sarah Richardson's H&P paper, Where are all the women in politics?

See also: her article in The Daily Telegraph and guest blog for the Victorian Commons.

Ready for ageing?

18 March 2013

The Ready for Ageing? report, published by the House of Lords Select Committee on Public Service and Demographic Change, draws extensively on evidence from H&P co-founder Pat Thane, of the Institute of Contemporary British History at King's College London. Reflecting her evidence about the positive contributions of older people to British society, the report calls for present-day attitudes viewing the elderly as a 'burden' should be challenged, and government policy radically reformed to respond to challenging demographic trends.

Read the Ready for Ageing? report [pdf 1.73MB]

See also: Pat Thane's H&P paper, The work-life balance in an ageing society

Call for historical advisers in government

14 March 2013

Former Cabinet Secretary Lord Butler has called for every government department to appoint a historical adviser. In Civil Service World, Lord Butler describes those who take policy decisions in ignorance of the lessons of history as 'like a driver who commits to some manoeuvre in the road without looking into the rear mirror'. Dr Lucy Delap, incoming Director of H&P, welcomed the debate: 'Lord Butler has pointed to a real problem at the heart of British government - its tendency to live in the present. This impoverishment can be remedied by drawing on the expertise of Britain's first class historical profession, leading to a sense of 'what works' being embedded in government.' H&P currently runs seminar series in the Department for Education and the Treasury. 'Historical perspectives can help policy makers to 'think in time', spot patterns and avoid the mistakes of their predecessors,' said Dr Delap.

Read the article: Every department should have a historical adviser

The spirit of '45

12 March 2013

Ahead of the release of Ken Loach's new film celebrating the post-war foundation of Britain's welfare state, a new H&P opinion piece by Bryce Evans of Liverpool Hope University explores the myths and realities of The Spirit of '45, in film, popular culture and modern politics. H&P Network member Steven Fielding of Nottingham University argues in an article for The Guardian that Loach's film would be 'better called The Myth of '45'.

Click here to read Bryce Evans' opinion piece

Click here to read Steven Fielding's article for The Guardian

Is modern childhood ending too soon?

11 March 2013

In the wake of a Netmums survey revealing that many parents feel modern childhood is over by the age of 12, Kate Bradley of Kent University puts their concerns into historical perspective. She argues that Netmums are 'mourning a golden age of childhood that never existed'.

Click here to read Kate Bradley's opinion piece

New draft history curriculum: new dawn or return to the past for English schools?

13 February 2013

Here we bring you exclusive comment from expert historians on the new, draft history curriculum for England published last week. Nicola Sheldon of the Institute of Education explains why it takes history teaching back to the 1900-1970 era. Dr Sheldon, an expert on history in education and a Teach First professional tutor, describes the draft as, 'Our Island Story for the twenty-first century'. While Robert Guyver sees Michael Gove's narrative of 'progress' starring England's 'heroes and heroines' as more promising and sophisticated than earlier leaks to the media suggested.

Click here to read Nicola Sheldon's H&P opinion piece and here to read her comment article in The Observer

Click here to read Robert Guyver's opinion piece and here to read his article for OurKingdom

See also:

Past policy papers by Robert Guyver and Nicola Sheldon

Further media coverage, including: news reports and a letter from leading historians in The Obsever and a letter from Richard Evans in the Financial Times

Should we thank Mr Gove for giving us more history?

7 February 2013

As a new draft national curriculum for England is published for consultation today, Robert Guyver examines the high and low points for history teaching in schools. He reflects that Secretary of State Michael Gove's narrative of 'progress' starring England's 'heroes and heroines' is more promising and sophisticated than earlier leaks to the media had suggested.

Click here to read Robert Guyver's opinion piece

See also: The role of government in determining the school history curriculum: lessons from Australia by Robert Guyver

The trouble with deposit insurance

5 February 2013

Only the state has assets sufficient to prop up a failing bank, argues historian Adrian B. Leonard of Cambridge University in a new H&P paper published today. Deposit insurance, to protect the taxpayer from liability in the event of future bank failures, seems an attractive idea. Yet it did not feature in the Banking Reform Bill, introduced to Parliament by Chancellor George Osborne yesterday - and that's a good thing, Leonard argues. His analysis of the commercial insurance industry since the seventeenth century suggests no insurer could ever meet such vast liabilities - only the state can step in to protect depositors when banks fail.

Click here to read Adrian Leonard's policy paper

See also: British and American banking in historical perspective: beware of false precedents by Ranald Michie and Simon Mollan

The Conservatives and Europe: the long view

29 January 2013

Some Conservatives may welcome Cameron's speech on Europe - and membership of a trading, not political Europe. But Scott Newton, of Cardiff University, suggests this is unrealistic, contradicts the direction of British foreign policy since the early 20th century - and could result in a dangerous strategic denouement.

Click here to read Scott Newton's opinion piece

The Aberdeen Coalition

23 January 2013

In the latest guest historian article for the No. 10 Downing Street website, Oxford University Professor of Modern History, Angus Hawkins, examines the Aberdeen Coalition of 1852-55, a 'tessellated pavement' of Whigs, Liberals, Peelites and one Radical.

Read the article: The Aberdeen Coalition

The Summer baby who will be King... or Queen

15 January 2013

As the unborn third-in-line to the throne is confirmed to be due in July, Ann Lyon of Plymouth University explains why historically, monarchies have gone to such great lengths to avoid female rulers. While there is general support for the government's 'strict primogeniture' Bill, she argues that the lack of parity with other hereditary titles could create future legal dramas worthy of Downton Abbey.

Click here to read Ann Lyon's opinion piece

Hyperactive: the controversial history of ADHD

10 January 2013

Hyperactivity in children remains a highly controversial issue. In an article reflecting on his new book, Hyperactive: the controversial history of ADHD, Matthew Smith of Strathclyde University explains what motivated his research and how it can inform current debates about hyperactivity and the nature of childhood in modern Western societies. Dr Smith will be speaking at a H&P seminar for the Department for Education later today.

Click here to read the article

To find out more about H&P's partnership with the Department for Education, click here

See also Matthew Smith's policy paper: History and hyperactivity: the Feingold diet

Why 'angry white guys' aren't a good bet for Republicans

20 December 2012

Robert Mason, of the University of Edinburgh, considers the demographic challenges faced by the Republicans, as the party reviews its recent electoral performance. He examines the electoral tactics employed by Republican presidents and party leaders between the 1920s and 1980s, when their party was in the minority. And in assessing the shortcomings and legacy of Richard Nixon, Mason offers lessons for Republicans today.

Read the opinion piece: 'Angry white guys' and the future of the Republican Party

Read the policy paper: The Republican Party in defeat

The first royal Christmas broadcast

20 December 2012

Matthew Glencross considers the role of Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald and the BBC in encouraging a reluctant George V to broadcast the first personal message by a British monarch at Christmas - and to make it an annual tradition, uninterrupted for 80 years. Read the article on the No. 10 website, the latest in the H&P collaboration to help revitalise the history content of the Downing Street website.

Read the article: The first Christmas speech - 80 years on

New report into how history is used in trade unions

19 December 2012

There is scope to expand the provision of history in union education and training, according to a new report released by H&P. Historians could get involved in several ways - and there is interest from unions in collaborating, says Rupert Griffin, of the Trade Union Research Unit at Ruskin College, Oxford, who conducted the research for H&P. The project was supported by the Business Futures Fund at King's College London.

To read the executive summary: please click here [pdf 139kb]

Historians, policy experts and King's students in dialogue

Following the success of our experimental History and Policy in Practice course this Autumn, registration is now open for a second course in January and February. History and Policy in Practice tests both the relevance of history to policy and develops students' policy making skills. The centerpiece is an expert workshop on Weds 20 February, with confirmed speakers including: former Cabinet Secretary Lord Wilson of Dinton, former BBC Director General Greg Dyke, renowned virologist John Oxford and historians Edgar Jones and Lucy Delap. This extra-curricular course is free, with places for up to 40 postgraduate history students from any department at King's College London.

For more information: please click here [pdf 59kb]

H&P Editor: 'Leveson knows his history'

3 December 2012

In H&P's 100th opinion article, our Senior Editor Adrian Bingham discusses the extensive use made of history in the Leveson report and explains how the British press have repeatedly wriggled off the regulatory hook. Are they really now drinking in the 'last chance saloon'? Welcoming the Leveson proposals, Dr Bingham said: 'Leveson clearly knows his history: his proposals are shaped by his detailed knowledge of the failures of decades of self-regulation.'

Read Adrian Bingham's opinion article No more reports, please: Lord Leveson and the uses of history

Download the Leveson report: An inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. Adrian Bingham's research is referenced on pages 206, 209 and 210 of volume 1.

See also Adrian Bingham's 2005 History & Policy paper: Monitoring the popular press: an historical perspective

Prime Ministers and their Foreign Secretaries

28 November 2012

From Lord Liverpool and Lord Castlereagh to Clement Attlee and Ernest Bevin, Dr John Bew examines what lies behind a good working relationship between a Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary in the latest article for the No. 10 Downing Street website. Prof Bew, Reader in History and Foreign Policy at the War Studies Department, King's College London, offers revealing insights into this complex and sometimes fractious relationship.

Read the article: Prime Ministers and their Foreign Secretaries

Valuing Nature: inaugural meeting of the H&P Environment Forum today

16 November 2012

H&P's new Environment Forum meets today for the first time. Convenor Dr Paul Warde, of UEA, will present ideas about 'Valuing Nature', followed by responses from Professor Peter Coates, of Bristol University, before a discussion with participants from government, civil society and academia. An online report of the exchange will be available shortly.

For more information: H&P Environment Forum

A British FBI? Creating an intelligent approach to organised crime

12 November 2012

Does Britain need its own FBI, as the Prime Minister suggested in his recent speech on crime? Historian Michael Woodiwiss cautions against making British policy on the American model, in a new H&P policy paper and opinion article published today. He warns that US organised crime policies have long been based on the myth of a highly organised and cohesive 'Mafia' threat, a myth successfully exported abroad and now evident in current Home Office strategies.

Read the opinion piece: A British FBI: a tough but not necessarily intelligent approach to organised crime

Read the policy paper: Organised crime, the mythology of the Mafia, and the American/Anglo Response

'One Nation': policy platform or empty slogan?

6 November 2012

At its heart 'One Nation' thinking is concerned with the relationship between rich and poor. But as Mark Garnett explains, Benjamin Disraeli's hope for a reconciliation between 'Two Nations' is very different from debates about contemporary inequalities. Thus while Ed Miliband's attempt to appropriate Conservative ideology and depict Labour as the real heir of One Nation thinking is courageous and cheeky, it is also risky.

Read the opinion piece: 'One Nation': policy platform or empty slogan?

New books: Governing post-war Britain and Wales since 1939

29 October 2012

In two new articles published today, historians Glen O'Hara and Martin Johnes discuss the challenges of researching and writing about post-war Britain. Glen O'Hara's Governing post-war Britain explores the changing relationships between government and the governed. Martin Johnes' Wales since 1939 explores the history of Wales both as a nation and also as a witness and participant to the events and changes that shaped the UK and the wider world in the twentieth century.

Read Glen O'Hara's article

Read Martin Johnes' article

Miliband's 'One Nation': stealing the emperor's clothes?

17 October 2012

Miliband is hardly the first politician to try and steal another party's rhetoric, says Philip Begley, who finds that Margaret Thatcher toyed with the idea of 'Social Democracy'. However, Miliband's recent attempt is arguably the most audacious, he says, in a new H&P opinion piece.

Read the opinion piece: Miliband's 'One Nation': stealing the emperor's clothes?

History and Policy in Practice pilot course for King's postgraduates

H&P is offering history postgraduates at King's College London an unrivalled opportunity to engage with experienced policy makers, historians, civil society practitioners and journalists. History and Policy in Practice is a free, extra curricular course that experiments with novel modes of teaching and output, enabling up to 80 students to benefit from exposure to the realities of applying their historical studies to 'real world' issues in public life. The centerpiece is an expert workshop on Weds 7 November, with confirmed speakers including: former senior civil servant Sir John Chilcot, former No.10 policy adviser James O'Shaughnessy, Richard Bartholomew, Department for Education, Jill Rutter of the Daycare Trust and historians Pat Thane, Edgar Jones, Andrew Blick and Anthony Seldon.

For more information: please click here [pdf 753kb]

H&P historians give evidence to select committees

16 October 2012

Historians Pat Thane and Andrew Blick, both of the Institute of Contemporary British History at King's College London, today gave oral evidence to two select committees. Professor Thane appeared before the House of Lords Committee on Public Service and Demographic Change. During her evidence she called for the introduction of a flexible retirement age and urged a more positive public and policy attitude towards older people. Andrew Blick appeared before the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry into the foreign policy implications of and for a separate Scotland.

Click here to watch Pat Thane's evidence

Click here to watch Andrew Blick's oral evidence and here to read his written evidence to the Committee

The Union and the Constitution: it's complicated...

15 October 2012

In a new H&P paper, published as the UK Prime Minister and Scottish First Minister sign a deal on a Scottish independence referendum, Colin Kidd of St Andrews University calls for urgent constitutional reform. Professor Kidd explores the history of the 1707 Treaty of Union between Scotland and England and argues that its constitutional and legal implications are more complicated than a simple 'yes or no' referendum question would suggest. Whatever the outcome of the referendum, he argues, urgent constitutional clarification will be required.

Read Colin Kidd's paper: The Union and the Constitution

Read the press release

New H&P papers place current family policies in historical context

9 October 2012

Two new H&P papers published today provide valuable historical context for current family policies in England. John Welshman of Lancaster University reveals the long history of attempts by policymakers to identify, classify and intervene in the lives of 'troubled families' and their antecedents. John Stewart of Glasgow Caledonian University sheds light on current policy initiatives to support good parenting, with a discussion of the child guidance movement in Britain and the social construction of childhood. Both papers are based on presentations delivered at the Department for Education in autumn 2011. H&P's second series of AHRC-funded seminars with the Department begins this week. Click here for more details about this collaboration.

Read John Welshman's paper: 'Troubled families': the lessons of history, 1880-2012

Read John Stewart's paper: 'The dangerous age of childhood': child guidance in Britain c.1918-1955

Valuing Nature: inaugural meeting of the H&P Environment Forum

This event takes place on 16 November (2-5pm) at King's College London and is open to all historians interested in environmental history and to policy makers and shapers from government and civil society. Paul Warde, of UEA, and Peter Coates, of Bristol University, will lead the discussion, exploring how people have valued nature in different ways over time. What values have shaped policy in the past, and with what results? Why have particular indicators been developed and with what results? Places are free but limited. For more details and to reserve a place please click here [pdf 343kb]

'Yes ma'am': domestic workers and employment rights

28 September 2012

The employment rights of modern-day domestic servants are no better and often worse than those of their counterparts in the Downton Abbey era, Cambridge University historian Dr Lucy Delap reveals in a new H&P paper. Domestic workers in Britain are imagined to be empowered by modern social relationships, but the benefits of the twentieth-century transition to a more egalitarian and democratic society are not always clear for the significant numbers of au pairs, nannies and cleaners working in private homes today. The complex history of domestic service is also explored in a new BBC2 series starting today, Servants: the true story of life below stairs, which Lucy Delap advised on.

Read the paper: 'Yes ma'am': domestic workers and employment rights

History and Policy in Practice - new pilot for King's College London postgraduates

This autumn at King's College London, H&P offers postgraduates an unrivalled opportunity to engage with experienced policy makers, historians, civil society practitioners and journalists. History and Policy in Practice is a free, extra curricular course for postgraduates of history from any department at King's College London. It experiments with novel modes of teaching and output, enabling up to 80 students to benefit from exposure to the realities of applying their historical studies to 'real world' issues in public life. The centerpiece is an expert workshop bringing together senior historians, civil servants and journalists. For more information: please click here [pdf 753kb]

Making history matter in policy making and the media

21 September 2012

H&P hosts its first event at the Cambridge University alumni weekend on Friday, 21 September, from 4.15-5.15pm at Lady Mitchell Hall, Sidgwick site, Cambridge University. This lively panel discussion will offer insiders' insights into the challenges and benefits of bringing history to bear on the current policy agenda, and the making of TV and radio documentaries. With extracts from award-winning BBC history programmes, panellists will reflect on the usefulness of academic history today and the extent to which broadcasters and policy makers can engage with it. Speakers include Chris Bowlby, BBC Radio, Rachel Fentem, HM Treasury, David Reynolds, Professor of International History, and Charles Keidan, Pears Foundation (Chair). Please note this event is open to Cambridge University alumni and their guests. For more information click here.

The rights and wrongs of the trade union movement: H&P at the TUC

11 September 2012

H&P's fringe event at the TUC in Brighton yesterday included a lively discussion of trade union rights in historical perspective. Keith Ewing, Professor of Public Law at King's College London revealed that the Conservative-led governments of the 1930s actively pursued a strategy to further collective bargaining. Sarah Veale, Head of Equality and Employment Rights at the TUC, shared her fears about a government assault on trade union rights. John Monks, former TUC General Secretary, described how the movement has paid the price for its past hubris, and wasted opportunities to forge a new settlement during the Blair years. Historian Jim Moher explained how Britain led the world in forging trade union rights in the 19th century, but called on the movement to face up to its more recent mistakes. We are grateful to the People's History Museum for supporting this event.

Unison's John Gray has written a blog about the event, click here to read it

Read Jim Moher's H&P paper to find out about the history of trade union rights in Britain

To find out more about the H&P Trade Union Forum, see our flyer [pdf 125kb]

H&P to host fringe event at TUC Annual Congress

10 September 2012

H&P's groundbreaking Trade Union Forum is holding its first fringe event at the TUC Annual Congress in Brighton. We are delighted to welcome as speakers: Frances O'Grady, TUC General Secretary Designate, John Monks, former ETUC General Secretary, Keith Ewing, Professor of Public Law, King's College London, and Jim Moher, former union official and historian. The panel will discuss 'Trade Union Rights: why is Britain always different - and always worse?'. The event takes place from 5.30-7.30pm on Monday 10 September, Syndicate Room 3 at the Brighton Centre. Places are limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. Non-delegates will need to bring photo ID and allow time to collect a visitor's credential in the entrance hall at the Brighton Centre. We are grateful to the People's History Museum for supporting this event.

For more information about the event click here [pdf 131kb]

To find out more about the Trade Union Forum, see our flyer [pdf 125kb]

H&P manager reveals failure to learn lessons from Equitable Life

7 September 2012

A new report by H&P co-manager Richard Roberts, of the Institute of Contemporary British History at King's College London, reveals how a 'this-time-is-different' syndrome prevented lessons being learned from the Equitable Life scandal. Published to mark the 250th anniversary of Equitable Life, Professor Roberts' shows that despite repeated inquiries, bankers and bank regulators did not take on board lessons that could have helped to moderate the financial crisis of 2007-08. He highlights a series of key policy lessons from Equitable, ending with a call to: 'study financial history'.

Read the report Did anyone learn anything from the Equitable Life? Lessons and learning from financial crises [pdf 553kb]

Read the press release and report summary [pdf 980kb]

Read media coverage of the report in The Daily Mail, The Telegraph and on the Sky News website.

Click here to see Equitable Life's chief executive, Chris Wiscarson, discussing the report on Sky News

Margaret Thatcher and the Joint Intelligence Committee

30 August 2012

In H&P's latest article for the Number 10 website, Ian B. Beesley, Official Historian in the Cabinet Office, and Michael S. Goodman, of the War Studies Department, King's College London, explore Margaret Thatcher's interest in intelligence gathering, from becoming the first Prime Minister to attend the Joint Intelligence Committee, to the fall-out from the surprise invasion of the Falkland Islands.

Read the article: Margaret Thatcher and the Joint Intelligence Committee

Click here to find out more about H&P's collaboration with Number 10 Downing Street

Superhumans or scroungers? Disability past and present

16 August 2012

In a new H&P opinion article published ahead of the London Paralympic Games, David M. Turner discusses definitions of ability and disability in sport, in the workplace and in wider society. He questions the obsession of policy makers, past and present, with assessing, medicalising and pigeon-holing people with disabilities.

Read the article: Superhumans or scroungers? Disability past and present

Prime Ministers and the Olympic Games

26 July 2012

In H&P's latest article for the No. 10 website, Plymouth University historian Kevin Jefferys discusses the changing relationship between Prime Ministers and the Olympic Games, from Herbert Asquith's hands-off approach to the 1908 London Games to David Cameron's hands-on approach today.

Read the article: Prime Ministers and the Olympic Games

Click here to find out more about H&P's collaboration with Number 10 Downing Street

Historian calls for urgent reinvigoration of post-Olympics sporting strategy

23 July 2012

H&P today teamed up with the Sports Think Tank for a breakfast discussion to launch a new H&P paper on sport policy and the Olympic legacy. Historian Kevin Jefferys, author of Sport and Politics in Modern Britain: the Road to 2012 (Palgrave Macmillan 2012), called on the government to seize the opportunity presented by the London Olympics to create a bold, innovative sporting strategy for the future. His co-panellists were sports author and journalist Mihir Bose and Sports Think Tank Director and former-MP Andy Reed, who chaired a lively discussion with an audience of sport policy makers and shapers.

Read the policy paper: On your marks... formulating sport policy and Britain's Olympic legacy

Read the joint press release and BBC online article

Read Kevin Jefferys' article on the Podium website

H&P at King's College London

2 July 2012

H&P is delighted to announce that from March 2013, the Public Affairs Office will have a permanent base at King's College London. After seven years of generous and far-sighted charitable funding from supporters including the Philanthropic Collaborative, Arcadia and, currently, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the job-share post of Public Affairs Manager and the H&P office will be supported jointly by the Institute of Contemporary British History and the Department of History at King's College London.

In addition, King's is now recruiting a Senior Lecturer/Reader in twentieth century British history who, along with teaching and research responsibilities, will provide intellectual leadership for H&P, managing the Public Affairs Office and working with H&P's partners in Cambridge and elsewhere. This post is expected to be filled in Autumn 2012, to start in early 2013.

These are very welcome developments, but H&P still needs to fundraise, as demand for our expertise continues to grow. In November 2011 we lost the post of public affairs officer due to lack of funding, halving the capacity of the H&P office. We continue to seek support for this post, and for:

  • a history and policy fellowship programme, enabling historians and policy makers to experience each other's worlds and sharpening the understanding between them
  • new teaching modules, training workshops and internships that combine historical research with policy needs, bringing on a new generation of engaged, professional historians
  • H&P's groundbreaking Trade Union and Environment Forums, developing trust through long-term networking
  • research into the processes and impacts of public engagement that H&P has pioneered
  • a global history and policy programme, sharing our unique experience with similar initiatives inspired by H&P abroad

Old, tired and misunderstood? Challenging stereotypes about the 'ageing population'

29 June 2012

H&P co-founder Pat Thane's report, Demographic futures, for the British Academy, challenges the belief that an ageing population is imposing unprecedented economic burdens on society. By considering the demographic evidence of the 20th century, and unpicking how it has been misunderstood, Pat Thane highlights the complexity and diversity of older peoples' experiences - in terms of inequality, health, and their contributions to society. The findings have important and unexpected implications for policy makers.

Read the report Demographic futures

Challenging the myths about unmarried mothers, past and present

21 June 2012

In an exclusive article published today, H&P co-founder Pat Thane discusses a groundbreaking new book, co-authored with Tanya Evans, being launched tonight at the Institute of Contemporary British History, King's College London. Sinners? Scroungers? Saints? Unmarried motherhood in twentieth century England challenges the stereotypes and myths prevalent in media and policy discussion about unmarried mothers, today and in the past. It also explores the relationship between the state and voluntary sectors, through the history of the National Council for the Unmarried Mother and her Child, now Gingerbread.

Read the H&P press release

Read Pat Thane's article

Read the book review in Times Higher Education

The Big Society Debate

19 June 2012

There is a long transatlantic intellectual history of ideas, akin to 'the Big Society', stretching back at least to Adam Smith. Today's 'Big Society' policies draw on institutions and activities that have a long history in Britain. To explore the implications of that history for civil society and welfare provision today, historians and social policy scholars have collaborated on a new book launched at LSE today.

Read Simon Szreter's reflections on co-editing The Big Society Debate: a New Agenda for Social Welfare?

Find out more about the: Big Society Debate at LSE

Making the past matter in today's policy making

13 June 2012

H&P is the first port of call for policy makers and shapers seeking historical input to their work. In our new policy engagement area we showcase our historians' activities in government departments, with select committees and civil society organisations. On 12 June, Andrew Blick, of the Institute of Contemporary British History, gave evidence to the Public Administration Select Committee about the history of special advisers in government. Plans are underway to continue the H&P seminar series in the Department for Education from September.

Watch Andrew Blick give evidence to the: Public Administration Select Committee (begins at 1:03)

Read the uncorrected transcript of Andrew Blick's evidence

Find out more about the: Department for Education seminar series

Science in the twentieth century and beyond

13 June 2012

Jon Agar's global history of science raises significant intellectual dilemmas not easily captured by historical case studies. Should the social sciences be included alongside the physical and life sciences? How to integrate national stories of scientific development into a global narrative of change? In answering such questions, Agar came to two conclusions with policy implications that historians can assist with.

Find out more: Science in the Twentieth Century and Beyond

The British people and the League of Nations: democracy, citizenship and internationalism

13 June 2012

Helen McCarthy considers the challenges of balancing foreign policy imperatives and democratic practices through the lens of the League of Nations Union (LNU). As one of the largest voluntary organisations of its time, the LNU promoted international cooperation, arguing that foreign affairs should be within the purview of all citizens. But as McCarthy's new book suggests, there are limitations to such campaigns when it comes to foreign policy.

Find out more: The British People and the League of Nations: Democracy, citizenship and internationalism c.1918-1945

Supporting active fatherhood in Britain

13 June 2012

A new H&P paper published today demolishes the myth that 'modern fathers', actively involved with their children, are a recent phenomenon. As the government launches a consultation on contact between separated parents and their children, Laura King of Warwick University warns that outdated stereotypes of parental roles continue to influence policy making and the application of legislation today.

Read Laura King's policy paper: Supporting active fatherhood in Britain

Read the press release on the Warwick University website

Queen Elizabeth and her Twelve Prime Ministers

1 June 2012

riendliness not friendship was James Callaghan's perception of what the Queen provided to her Prime Ministers. In the latest article for the No. 10 Downing Street website, published today, D R Thorpe considers the different working relations between the Queen and successive Prime Ministers, from Churchill to Cameron, in her 60-year reign.

Read D R Thorpe's article: Queen Elizabeth and her Twelve Prime Ministers

British Queens on screen: the power of fictional image over factual text

1 June 2012

Steven Fielding considers the relationship between dramatizations of the lives of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II and Britons' notions of national identity - and the historical accuracy of such portrayals - in a new H&P opinion article.

Read Steven Fielding's article: Queen Victoria: the heart of a heartless political world

Heading for trouble? Tory backbench rebellions past and present

31 May 2012

The coalition government is now heading for territory notoriously controversial on the Conservative backbenches: House of Lords reform and gay marriage. In a new H&P opinion article, N. C. Fleming considers Tory rebels from the distant and recent past, and discusses what the future may hold for the current Prime Minister.

Read N. C. Fleming's article: Tory rebels: the inevitablity of backbench revolts

No. 10 under Lloyd George

25 May 2012

Kenneth O. Morgan considers the personal and the political in David Lloyd George's leadership of the Conservative-Liberal Coalition Government of 1916-1922. Published today on the No. 10 Downing Street website, this article is part of the monthly series arising from the H&P partnership with No. 10 to revitalize the history content of the Downing Street website.

Read the article

The Queen's speech in historical perspective

15 May 2012

History & Policy aims to demonstrate that historians have something to contribute to almost every public policy issue. For a historical perspective on the areas highlighted in last week's Queen's Speech, why not explore our archive of over 130 policy papers?

Banking reform: see Ranald Michie and Simon Mollan's paper, British and American banking in historical perspective: beware of false precedents

Supermarket regulation: see Jane Hamlett et al, Regulating UK supermarkets: an oral history perspective

The Energy Bill, see Paul Warde, Low carbon futures and high carbon pasts: policy challenges in historical perspective

Pensions reforms, see Noel Whiteside, In search of security: earnings-related pensions in Britain and Europe and Hugh Pemberton, Politics and pensions in postwar Britain

Local government reform, see Jerry White, From Herbert Morrison to command and control: the decline of local democracy

Social care, see Pat Thane's submission to the Health Select Committee [pdf 109kb]

Voter registration, see Kevin Jefferys, Two cheers for democracy: involvement and interest in British politics since 1918

Lords reform, see Jon Lawrence, What is to be done with the second chamber?

Communications Bill, see Toni Weller, The Victorian information age: nineteenth century answers to today's information policy questions

Britain and the Eurozone, see Richard Roberts, A stable currency in search of a stable Empire? The Austro-Hungarian experience of monetary Union

No Bill for gay marriage, see Jeffrey Weeks, Wolfenden and beyond: the remaking of homosexual history

Meet the history programmers

BBC Radio 4 producers will visit King's College London on 23 May (10.30-12) to meet H&P historians. This is a great opportunity to discover the logistics of The Long View, Things We Forgot to Remember and Document, and to discuss your research in an informal setting with senior producers. To reserve a place or for more information: click here

Maurice Hankey: 'supreme organiser and creative bureaucrat'

18 April 2012

Jock Gardner's new article for the No. 10 Downing Street website considers the role of military officer-turned-Cabinet Secretary, Maurice Hankey (1877-1963), architect of the Cabinet Office in modern British government. This article is the latest in a series arising from the partnership between H&P and No. 10 to revitalize the history content of the Downing Street website.

Read Jock Gardner's article: Maurice Hankey: architect of modern government

H&P historians in the news

18 April 2012

H&P historians have featured in local, national and international media this spring. From Luddism, monarchy, marriage and perpetual bonds, to Margaret Thatcher and Jim Callaghan, our historians' research has caught the eye of editors and contributed to public debate. That includes the veracity of Downton Abbey's portrayal of domestic servants and the hidden histories of second and third class passengers on the Titanic.

To see the coverage: click here

H&P's Trade Union Forum reports

23 March 2012

H&P's Trade Union Forum has published various reports of its meetings and those of relevant organisations, including the British Universities Industrial Relations Association History Study Group and Unions21.

For the Trade Union Forum meeting reports: click here

For other meeting reports: click here

Taking The Long View

16 March 2012

BBC Radio 4 will visit King's College London on 28 March to meet H&P historians and discover interesting research that might feature on The Long View. For more information: click here

Prime Ministers and Presidents: special relationships

14 March 2012

David Reynolds' new article for the No. 10 Downing Street website explores the personal dimensions of relations between British Prime Ministers and American Presidents, including Churchill and Roosevelt, Macmillan and Kennedy, and Thatcher and Reagan. The article - part of a monthly series by expert historians - arises from the new collaboration between H&P and the Prime Minister's Office, which is designed to bring to life the fascinating history behind the famous black door. As well as featuring in the official No. 10 newsletter, Reynolds' article is highlighted by the White House blog, as David Cameron visits the US.

Read David Reynolds' article: Prime Ministers and Presidents: special relationships

Read the White House blog: Preparing for an Official Visit from the United Kingdom

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