News archive by theme

Climate change and environment

History & Policy in the woods: a living history and perspectives for the future

17 May

The uses and fate of English woodlands has inspired debate and dispute for centuries. This history has been brought to bear on the government's consideration of managing woods and forests today. H&P senior editor Paul Warde convened a group of scholars, campaigners and managers to present research to the independent panel on forestry, which was established by DEFRA after the aborted consultation on forest management in early 2011.

Read the report: Cultural and Social Issues Affecting Woodland and Forest Policy in England

Liberal manoeuvring in the real green economy

29 February 2012

As the Liberal Democrats finalise their new science policy, William Burns and Michael Weatherburn argue that the party could learn much from the Liberal Party's promotion of agricultural science during the inter-war years.

Read Burns and Weatherburn's opinion piece: Liberal Manoeuvring in the Real Green Economy

New History & Policy Environment Forum

20 October 2011

History & Policy is setting up a new Environment Forum, bringing historians together with policymakers, campaigners, scientists and others engaged with environment policy. Paul Warde, Senior Editor for H&P, is convening the forum. We're also very pleased to release a new paper from Ben Cowell, of the National Trust, putting attitudes to forests in their proper context for Defra's Forestry Panel.

Find out more: H&P Environment Forum

Read the paper: Forests, the Magna Carta, and the 'New Commons': Some Thoughts for the Forest Panel

Opinion piece by Tim Cooper: 'A new Home Front? Anthropogenic climate change and the limits of historical example'

7 March 2011

When Caroline Lucas launched The New Home Front, she tapped into a longstanding national narrative about sacrifice and pulling together to effect radical change rapidly. But how far can we take the comparison, and what do the crises of the past have to tell us about the challenge of climate change now? Tim Cooper, of the University of Exeter, takes a look.

A new Home Front? Anthropogenic climate change and the limits of historical example

New policy paper released: Low carbon futures and high carbon pasts: policy challenges in historical perspective

20 December 2010

Despite international efforts, it's clear that the response to climate change will remain largely national, or organised via the European Union - but Britain's record to date is less than inspiring. Paul Warde, of the University of East Anglia, takes a look at our energy history - and where we need to go from here if we really want to cut emissions.

Read the paper: Low carbon futures and high carbon pasts: policy challenges in historical perspective

Who is to blame for our failure to take action on global warming?

6 December 2010

Is environmentalists' 'doom and gloom' the reason for declining public concern about and action on climate change? Or is the capitalist system, which incentivizes us not to act, to blame? Jean-François Mouhot, of the University of Birmingham, argues that the similarities between societies that once used slave labour and today rely on fossil fuels offer useful lessons from history about more effective action on climate change.

Cancun Summit: why are we not taking action on global warming?

Wave energy development in the UK

Opinion article, 22 March 2010

Last week the Crown Estate announced that new wave and tidal energy sites would be developed in the Pentland Firth. Campbell Wilson, an energy historian from the University of Glasgow, outlines what we can learn from previous attempts to develop wave energy technology in the UK.

Read Campbell Wilson's article: Choosing your history: Wave energy development in the UK

H&P historian responds to James Hansen's interview in the Guardian

Opinion article, 16 December 2009

Jean-Francois Mouhot of the University of Birmingham explores comparisons of the abolition of slavery with climate change negotiations in Copenhagen.

Read Jean-Francois Mouhot's article, 'Slavery and climate change: lessons to be learned'.

MP calls for new green jobs based on Roosevelt's New Deal

Comment article, Guardian, 3 March 2009

Mark Lazarowicz MP urges Government to learn from history in order to tackle unemployment and climate change, by creating a new Conservation Corps modeled on Roosevelt's New Deal programmes. The Scottish MP draws on the work of American historian, Neil M. Maher, author of Nature's New Deal. The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Roots of the American Environmental Movement. You can read his article on the Guardian website.

H&P historian on the vehicle scrapping initiative

Opinion, 19 May 2009

Erin Gill of the University of Aberystwyth, explains how the recently announced car scrapping scheme could learn from green victories of the past.

Read her article on the H&P opinion page.

MP calls for new green jobs based on Roosevelt's New Deal

Comment article, Guardian, 3 March 2009

Mark Lazarowicz MP urges Government to learn from history in order to tackle unemployment and climate change, by creating a new Conservation Corps modeled on Roosevelt's New Deal programmes. The Scottish MP draws on the work of American historian, Neil M. Maher, author of Nature's New Deal. The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Roots of the American Environmental Movement. You can read his article on the Guardian website.

The Energy Bill- tinkering while the planet burns?

New H&P opinion piece

Campbell Wilson and David Elliott explore the Government's thirty-five year search for an effective energy policy in a History & Policy opinion piece; The Energy Bill- tinkering while the planet burns?.

Britain more energy efficient than in Shakespeare's time

News release, Friday 19 October 2007

A new History & Policy paper by Paul Warde of the University of East Anglia says that restricting energy use is the only way to tackle climate change. In an analysis of four centuries of energy consumption, he warns that over-reliance on energy efficiency will not curb carbon emissions. Read the news release [pdf file, 45KB].

Related paper: Facing the challenge of climate change: energy efficiency and energy consumption.

Personal carbon allowances

Select Committee, August 2007

History & Policy contributor Mark Roodhouse has submitted a memorandum to the Environmental Audit Select Committee inquiry into personal carbon allowances. Read his memorandum [pdf file, 77KB]. For further information about the inquiry see the parliament website.

Related paper: Rationing returns: a solution to global warming?

Rekindle Blitz spirit to combat climate change

Media coverage, Monday 16 April 2007

Mark Roodhouse's History & Policy paper on carbon rationing has attracted extensive national media coverage, including articles in the Guardian; the Sunday Times; the Financial Times; the Daily Telegraph; and the New Statesman.

Related paper: Rationing returns: a solution to global warming?.

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Consumers, buying and retailing

What can we learn from Victorian ideas on thrift?

Feature, February 2010

As the recession forces many to re-think their spending habits, historian Katy Pettit tells Chris Bowlby what we could learn from the thrifty food culture of Victorian Eastenders. Changing times: What can we learn from Victorian ideas on thrift? is the latest article in H&P's collaborative series with BBC History Magazine. Other articles can be found in our BBC History section.

Supermarkets

Summary release

Read the summary release [pdf file, 13KB].

Related paper: Regulating UK supermarkets: an oral-history perspective.

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Criminal justice and law reform

Deprivation of Honours: a brief history

3 February 2012

The royal prerogative of granting honours is well known, the right of deprivation less so. Ann Lyon considers the history in light of Fred Goodwin's experience.

Read Ann Lyon's opinion piece: Deprivation of Honours: a brief history

The riots on record: H&P historian in The Guardian and BBC R4

24 August 2011

Andrew Davies, of the University of Liverpool, puts David Cameron's comments about gang culture under the historical spotlight - looking at the nineteenth century story of gangs and asking what we can learn today.

Manchester's original gangsters (The Guardian, 21 August)
The World This Weekend (BBC R4; begins at 24:50)

New opinion piece: Get local: riots, youth and community

15 August 2011

Kate Bradley looks at the history of rioting - highlighting both the local nature of many protests, past and present - and looks at them as a series of resonating local tensions.

Read the piece: Get local: riots, youth and community

New opinion piece: Fire and fear: rioting in Georgian London and contemporary Britain

11 August 2011

Katrina Navickas highlights the parallels and differences between a notorious riot in Georgian England and the current violence and disorder - which historians might deny is a 'riot'.

Read the piece: Fire and fear: rioting in Georgian London and contemporary Britain

Historian key witness in trial of white supremacists

Interview, 24 June 2010

H&P historian Matthew Feldman of Northampton University has commented on the recent conviction of two members of the neo-Nazi group Aryan Strike Force for inciting racial hatred. He gave expert evidence during the trial of Trevor Hannington from South Wales and Michael Heaton from Lancashire.

Read Matthew's interview with Channel 4 News and his comments in the Jewish Chronicle.

The radicalisation of Italy's legal profession

H&P paper, 10 February 2010

A new H&P paper by historian Maria Malatesta examines the radicalisation of Italian lawyers and explores the legacy of Italy's 'long 1968'.

Read the paper: The legal profession and social activism: the Italian 'long 1968'.

H&P historian comments on the Guardian's coverage of sex-trafficking

Opinion article, 2 December 2009

Writing exclusively for the H&P website, Jane Berney of the Open University uses the history of the Contagious Diseases Act in Victorian Britain and Hong Kong to shed light on the contemporary debate over the scale of sex trafficking. She demonstrates that then, as now, statistics are easily manipulated whilst the voice of the prostitute is absent.

Read Jane Berney's article, More sex, lies and trafficking.

Exploding the historical myths around juvenile justice

News release, Wednesday 4 July 2007

With new rules on the physical restraint of young offenders coming into force this week, Abigail Wills of Brasenose College, Oxford, argues that the government's approach to juvenile justice is the most punitive for 150 years. In her History & Policy paper she explodes the twin myths that there was a golden age of respect and deference, and that current juvenile justice policy is more enlightened than in the past. Read the news release [pdf file, 41KB]

Related paper: Historical myth-making in juvenile justice policy.

Crimes and misdemeanours

New online journal, April 2007

A new, online history journal is launched this month by SOLON, a partnership of four universities that promotes inter-disciplinary studies in crime and bad behaviour. Crimes and Misdemeanours will be published monthly, showcasing work that confronts and challenges accepted histories and examines the implications for current and past professional practices relating to the study of offensive or anti-social behaviour and its implications. See the inaugural edition of Crimes and Misdemeanours.

The women who still walk the streets of Victorian Britain

Article, January 2007

History & Policy contributor Julia Laite calls for a radical new approach to government policy on prostitution, with greater investment in projects to protect and support vulnerable women. This article is published in Parliamentary Brief magazine.

Related paper: Paying the price again: prostitution policy in historical perspective.

Prostitute murders spark calls for amnesty

Interview, Tuesday 12 December 2006

The tragic serial-killings in Ipswich have sparked discussion of the policy and legal framework governing prostitution, what drives vulnerable women onto the streets and keeps them there. The Press Association carried an interview with History & Policy contributor Julia Laite. Read the interview on the Mail on Sunday website.

Related paper: Paying the price again: prostitution policy in historical perspective.

Prostitutes will still be paying the price under 'new' government strategy

News release, Wednesday 8 November 2006

Cambridge historian Julia Laite says the Home Office should learn from previous, failed 'crack-downs' on street prostitution. This was picked up on 17 November by New Start magazine [pdf file, 1MB]. Read the news release [pdf file, 31KB]

Related paper: Paying the price again: prostitution policy in historical perspective.

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Economy, taxation and finance

'Responsible capitalism': a return to 'moral economy' in England?

1 February 2012

Bryce Evans considers ideas dating back to the 18th century about fairness and morality in the market place to throw light on the meaning - or meaninglessness - of 'responsible capitalism' today.

Read Bryce Evans' opinion piece: 'Responsible capitalism': a return to 'moral economy' in England?

One-size-fits-all reform could strangle British banking

23 December 2011

The Vickers Commission proposals have generated an all-party consensus in a climate of popular belief that banks are the root cause of the global financial crisis. Ranald Michie considers historical parallels in the 1920s and 1930s to question whether this is the right moment to reform the British banking system - and if it is the best approach.

Read Ranald Michie's opinion piece: One-size-fits-all reform could strangle British banking

British and American banking in historical perspective: beware of false precedents

23 December 2011

As the UK government responds to the Vickers Commission recommendations, a new policy paper reminds us that, unlike the US, the UK has no historical precedent for the separation of retail and investment banking. Ranald Michie and Simon Mollan of Durham University argue that policymakers should have regard to UK banking history and not rely only on the American historical model.

Read Ranald Michie and Simon Mollan's policy paper: British and American banking in historical perspective: beware of false precedents

Were Victorian bankers really 'good?'

5 December 2011

Ian Hislop's recent BBC documentary When Bankers Were Good was entertaining and informative, says Iain Sharpe. But does it also serve as a warning against using history to advance contemporary policy prescriptions on the basis of very thin evidence? Sharpe sifts through Hislop's argument to discern the nuggets of historical fact and fiction.

Read Iain Sharpe's opinion piece: Were Victorian bankers really 'good'?

Historians respond to the Autumn Statement

1 December 2011

Historians in the H&P Network have responded to the Chancellor's Autumn Statement. In an exclusive article for the H&P website, Glen O'Hara of Oxford Brookes University welcomes the growth measures announced by George Osborne, but warns they will not be enough to stimulate economic recovery. Jim Tomlinson of Dundee University appears on BBC Radio 4's Today programme to discuss the likely impact of the statement on the electorate.

Click here to listen to Jim Tomlinson's interview

Read Glen O'Hara's opinion piece: The Chancellor's Autumn Statement: one step forward

H&P Historian warns against government austerity measures

22 November 2011

In a guest blog for The Independent, Glen O'Hara of Oxford Brookes University argues the UK government's austerity programme is not the best medicine for the 'Great Recession'. Ahead of the Chancellor's Autumn Statement next week, he calls for a mix of growth, inflation and international financial negotiation to manage down the debt.

Click here to read Glen's blog

See also: Glen O'Hara's H&P paper How (not) to cut government spending and reduce public sector debt

New policy paper: A stable currency in search of a stable Empire? The Austro-Hungarian experience of monetary union

20 October 2011

In the midst of the eurozone crisis, many people have asked whether monetary union can work without political union. But Austria-Hungary maintained a currency union, with two sovereign governments, for half a century. Richard Roberts takes a closer look at the history - and the possible lessons.

Read the paper: A stable currency in search of a stable Empire? The Austro-Hungarian experience of monetary union

New opinion piece: Can the Great Depression help us fight the Great Recession?

20 October 2011

From wobbly banks to currency crises, many of our economic difficulties echo those of 1929-32. Glen O'Hara argues that we also need to look at the solutions found by Keynes and by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Read the piece: Can the Great Depression help us fight the Great Recession?

New policy paper: History and the financial crisis

6 July 2011

From the future of the euro to the balance of world trade, the shape of the world's financial and economic systems is under scrutiny. Martin Daunton looks at the last time the world's economic order was reshaped in the 1940s - and draws some striking parallels.

Read the piece: History and the financial crisis

New policy paper: Trustworthy economics

2 April 2011

The financial crisis had many causes, but at its core was a collapse in trust. When trust in a whole series of financial instruments and in debt repayment evaporated, the consequences were dramatic. But how can we apply this insight more broadly? Geoffrey Hosking looks at the history - and makes recommendations for the future.

Read the paper: Trustworthy economics

New policy paper released for Budget Day: Crisis and recovery: historical perspectives on the Coalition's economic policies

23 March 2011

On the day the Chancellor presents Budget 2011, H&P is releasing a new paper by Peter Cain and Scott Newton, of Sheffield Hallam and Cardiff Universities. As the Coalition carries on with its deficit strategy, the paper looks at the historical precedents for this scale of cuts, compares the economic circumstances to past crises and asks: where does the government turn if it all goes wrong?

Read the paper: Crisis and recovery: historical perspectives on the Coalition's economic policies

Opinion piece by Steven Fielding: 'Back to the future? Austerity in 1931 and 2011'

14 February 2011

The Great Depression has loomed large in debates over Britain's response to the financial crisis and its approach to deficit reduction, while David Cameron has been compared to Stanley Baldwin of the National Government in 1931-40. Do the comparisons add up? Steven Fielding looks at the precedents.

Back to the future? Austerity in 1931 and 2011

New policy paper released: De-globalization and the search for economic security

H&P paper, 9 February 2011

The debate over austerity dominates our politics and has major economic implications for different parts of the UK. Jim Tomlinson, of Dundee University, looks at the historical trends in the British economy - both the shift to a service economy and the Keynesian role of the public sector, as well as their de-globalizing impact - and considers their importance for the future.

Read the paper: De-globalization and the search for economic security

Crowding out

17 December 2010

Does the public sector crowd out private sector growth? Or does it provide necessary support and a major return in a time of crisis? All major economic crises in twentieth century Britain have reignited the debate. In this piece, Jim Tomlinson of the University of Dundee takes another look.

Crowding out

H&P Historians respond to the Coalition's Spending Review

October 2010

Read Glen O'Hara's response to the Browne report on Higher Education here.

Ann Lyon on the proposed changes to the Civil List.

David Hall-Matthews on the Government's commitment to ring-fence the international aid budget.

Duncan Redford on the Strategic Defence Review.

Historian offers some historical context to Vince Cable's recent attack on the 'spivs and gamblers' of the City

Interview, 26 September 2010 and opinion piece

Dr Mark Roodhouse, of York University, can be heard talking on this subject on the BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House. You can listen to the interview on the BBC website

Read Mark's article: City Bankers - Spivs or Profiteers?.

History offers no route-map: these spending cuts have no precedent

Rapid response, 22 June 2010

Glen O'Hara compares the public spending cuts announced in the budget with previous periods of spending restraint - the 'Geddes Axe' of 1922-23, the years following the IMF loan of 1976, and the Conservatives' deficit reduction in the early 1990s.

Read the article.

Austerity was a hard sell in the 40s. Today it's harder still

Comment, 22 June 2010

Historian David Kynaston outlines lessons from the age of austerity in today's Guardian, arguing that postwar cohesion came from a sense of shared purpose, a sense of equity of sacrifice, and faith in leadership. Read the article.

History suggests "boom and bust" won't go away

Opinion article, 12 April 2010

Historian David Hall-Matthews (University of Leeds) discusses Gordon Brown's recent interview on the Today programme, in which he argued that the causes of the global financial crisis were unprecedented. Read the article: History suggests "boom and bust" won't go away.

Historians comment on the 2010 Budget announcement and debate

Rapid response, 25 March 2010

Historians in the H&P network offer rapid responses to the 2010 budget announcement and debate:

  • Glen O'Hara of Oxford Brookes University, puts public debt in historical perspective
  • Ronen Palan of Birmingham University, evaluates Alistair Darling's announcement on tax havens
  • Hugh Pemberton (University of Bristol) and Noel Whiteside (University of Warwick) discuss public sector pensions

You can read their comments on our opinion page.

Twenty historians advise against immediate spending cuts in letter to the Guardian

Letter, 3 March 2010

A letter signed by twenty economic historians in the H&P Network is published in today's Guardian. The signatories warn against immediate cuts in public spending and urge support for knowledge-based economic growth. They argue that British public debt is actually relatively low, both in historical and international contexts, and urge policymakers to maintain spending on the knowledge economy, which will contribute to economic growth and speed up repayment of the debt. The letter was initiated by Glen O'Hara of Oxford Brookes University and H&P co-founder Simon Szreter. Other signatories include Professors Martin Daunton, Jane Humphries and Jim Tomlinson.

Read the letter.

The letter was discussed by Madeleine Bunting in the Guardian, and David Blanchflower in the New Statesman.

See also: How (not) to cut government spending and reduce public sector debt by Glen O'Hara, and browse other H&P papers on economic history.

For media enquiries please contact Mel Porter: mel.porter@sas.ac.uk 020 7862 8768

National debt - the long view

Programme, 23 February 2010

A new series of 'The Long View' starts on Radio 4 today with a programme exploring the history of national debt. Presenter Jonathan Freedland hears from Niall Ferguson, Will Hutton, Stephanie Flanders and IHR Director Miles Taylor, comparing the causes and consequences of rising debt and deficit levels, from the battlefield of Waterloo to today's financial crisis. Listen to the programme on the BBC website.

Three lessons from recent history to help today's policymakers tackle national debt

H&P paper, 9 December 2009

In a new H&P paper published ahead of today's pre-budget report, Dr Glen O'Hara of Oxford Brookes University analyses economic crises of the recent past to suggest solutions for policymakers today. Drawing on the experiences of the Wilson, Callaghan and Major governments, he argues that a combination of careful spending cuts, tax rises and a spirit of shared Cabinet responsibility are essential ingredients to bring down the national debt.

Read the paper: How (not) to cut government spending and reduce public sector debt.

Read the Press release [pdf file, 142KB].

If tax avoidance is as old as tax itself, why are tax havens a modern phenomenon?

H&P paper, 10 November 2009

Ronen Palan examines the history and development of tax havens, arguing for greater transparency in order to regain public confidence. Read the paper, The history of tax havens.

Read the press release [pdf file, 164KB]

Historians respond to the budget

Opinion articles, 28 April 2009

H&P historians offer opinion articles on the budget debate:

Beware of 'crying wolf' during recession, charities warned

New H&P paper, 7 April 2009

New historical evidence suggests that voluntary organisations may weather the current recession better than expected. Recent surveys predict a miserable future for the sector, with a steep decline in donations, legacies and government funding, just as demand for services increases. But in a new H&P paper, Professor John Mohan of the University of Southampton and Karl Wilding, Head of Research at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, dismiss this blanket picture of gloom. In Economic downturns and the voluntary sector: what can we learn from historical evidence?, they use the accounts of British voluntary hospitals during the interwar period and trends in charitable-giving in North America during the Great Depression of 1929-31 to assess the likely impact of the current recession on charities.

Read the news release [pdf file, 85KB].

Read the authors' blog on the Guardian website.

The 13th-century credit crunch

Interview, BBC History Magazine, January 2009

Financial historian Adrian Bell talks to Chris Bowlby about a 13th-century financial crisis that bears a striking resemblence to today's 'credit crunch'. This interview appears in the January issue of BBC History Magazine and is part of a series produced in collaboration with History & Policy.

You can also read about Adrian's work on the BBC News page, in the Telegraph and in the Financial Times.

The 'credit crunch' and trust

New paper, 6 October 2008

Geoffrey Hosking puts the current financial crisis in historical context and shows that it can be understood as a stage in a cycle of trust. He suggests that the best solution is to broaden and democratise the exercise of trust, to ensure that the benefits of globalisation are shared with developing countries.

Paper: The 'credit crunch' and the importance of trust.

Haunted by history

Article, 3 October 2008

Sussex historian Clive Webb considers the parallels between today's economic crisis and the Great Depression, in an article for the Guardian.

The Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England: ten years on

Select Committee, January 2007

Forrest Capie and Geoffrey Wood of the Cass Business School at City University have submitted a History & Policy memorandum to the House of Commons Treasury Committee's new inquiry. Download their memorandum [pdf file, 92KB]. For further information about the inquiry, see the Parliament website.

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Education

H&P helps Department for Education learn from the past

30 January 2012

H&P has collaborated with the Arts and Humanities Research Council to deliver a series of policy-relevant seminars with the Children, young people and families directorate at the Department for Education. The series was initiated by the Permanent Secretary, and historian of Mass Observation, Tom Jeffery, to help the department learn from the past as it makes current policy. The final event in the current series takes place tomorrow and papers will be published soon afterwards.

Click here to read presentations by members of the H&P Network to the Department for Education.

Calls for compulsory history teaching to age 16

24 November 2011

At the launch today of a new book exploring history teaching in England over the last century, David Cannadine calls for history to be made compulsory to age 16. H&P Network members Nicola Sheldon and Jenny Keating have worked with Professor Cannadine to research the experiences of former pupils and teachers, interview former Education Secretaries and explore the archives. The results are brought together in a new book, The Right Kind of History: teaching the past in twentieth century England (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) and on the History in Education website, both launched today.

Click here to listen to David Cannadine's interview on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme

Click here to visit the BBC's audio slideshow

Read David Cannadine's interview in The Guardian

See also: Robert Guyver's H&P paper The role of government in determining the school history curriculum: lessons from Australia

New opinion piece: Private money, public good? The New College for the Humanities and the history of university funding

17 June 2011

The New College for the Humanities has caused considerable controversy, but there is a long history of private funding for universities. Can we learn anything from the example of nineteenth century universities? Jill Pellew considers the arguments.

Read the piece: Private money, public good? The New College for the Humanities and the history of university funding

The role of government in determining the school history curriculum: lessons from Australia

14 April 2011

As the review of the history curriculum proceeds in England, it inevitably comes up against different ways of looking at and framing the past. But should we be comfortable with interfering too much with how teachers teach history: and is there a risk that too much ideology is entering into the debate over how history is presented? Robert Guyver looks at the history of the Australian experience and draws lessons for England.

Read the paper: The role of government in determining the school history curriculum: lessons from Australia

H&P Historians respond to the Coalition's Spending Review

October 2010

Read Glen O'Hara's response to the Browne report on Higher Education here.

Ann Lyon on the proposed changes to the Civil List.

David Hall-Matthews on the Government's commitment to ring-fence the international aid budget.

Duncan Redford on the Strategic Defence Review.

Democratic access to academic knowledge

Opinion, 23 June 2010

In an article for openDemocracy, H&P historian Fay Bound Alberti calls on the government to reform access to publicly-funded academic research. She argues that with a simple change to copyright law, UK Research Councils could make public access a condition of funding. Fay is Senior Research Fellow at Queen Mary, University of London and senior policy advisor to H&P's co-funder Arcadia.

Read the article.

The 'Idea of a University' today

H&P paper, 9 March 2010

Robert Anderson explores the role of universities and argues for a balance between teaching and research, autonomy and accountability. Read the paper, The 'Idea of a University' today.

Read the press release [pdf file, 27KB]

H&P response to HEFCE consultation on REF

16 December 2009

H&P has submitted its response to the consultation by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) on the new Research Excellence Framework, which will govern the assessment and funding of academic research from 2012. We support the introduction of a new strand to assess research impacts, which will incentivise historians to engage with policymakers and reward those who are actively involved in H&P. But we have concerns about the proposed criteria and methods for assessing impacts and would like to see the weighting of this strand reduced to 15 per cent of the overall assessment.

You can read H&P's submission here. [pdf file, 148KB]

You can read the HEFCE consultation on their website: HEFCE

For further information about the H&P response, contact: Mel Porter

Are school standards slipping?

New opinion article, 18 August 2009

A-level results will be released on Thursday amid widespread concern over falling standards and easier exams. Former headteacher and historian Adrian Elliott puts the debate in historical context in a new opinion article for H&P. He considers Conservative plans to publish past exam papers online and recent calls for the reintroduction of grammar schools to improve social mobility.

Read Dr Adrian Elliott's article: Are school standards slipping?

The age old problem of pupils skipping school

Article, Guardian, 26 February 2009

Nicola Sheldon wrote an article for Education Guardian on ways of tackling truancy, to coincide with the publication of her H&P paper Tackling truancy: why have the millions invested not paid off?. Read the news release [pdf file, 53KB].

Can compulsion work? What history has to say about raising the school leaving age.

New H&P opinion piece

The current Education and Skills Bill proposes raising the school leaving age to 18. Nicola Sheldon explores the historical precedents for this change in a new opinion piece, asking Can compulsion work?.

Media: read the press release [pdf file, 33KB].

Why go to university?

News Release, Wednesday 1 August 2007

Ten years after publication of the Dearing report, Carol Dyhouse of the University of Sussex explores how higher-education funding structures have affected successive generations of students. Read the news release [pdf file, 22KB].

Related paper: Going to university: funding, costs, benefits.

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Election 2010

H&P historian illuminates past attempts to cut public spending in new report for policymakers

Report, April 2010

Research by H&P co-manager Richard Roberts was published in a new report exploring the historical precedents for major cuts to public spending. In 'Sharpening the Axe', published by Lombard Street Research, Professor Roberts explores the so-called 'Geddes Axe' drive for retrenchment during the 1920s. He argues that the spending cuts achieved were not as swingeing as people have since assumed, and highlights the relevance of this largely unresearched episode for today's policymakers.

The report was covered by financial commentator Anthony Hilton in two articles in the Evening Standard: Why there is no need for a hung parliament hang-up, and Off-target government cuts could cause untold damage. It was also reported in the Independent and the Guardian.

Richard Roberts is Director of the Centre for Contemporary British History and co-manager of History & Policy. To get in touch with him, please contact us.

Election 2010 policy papers

Election 2010 rapid responses

Historians provide rapid comment during the election campaign and the early days of the new government:

Election 2010 opinion pieces

Historians write exclusively for the H&P website on the election campaign and its aftermath:

Election 2010: 0pinion pieces in the media

Articles by historians published in the media:

Political historians pool their expertise ahead of General Election

New H&P Forum, 31 March 2010

A group of expert political historians is now available to provide comment on a range of key issues ahead of, during and immediately after the General Election, including:

  • Electoral reform
  • Hung parliaments
  • Election campaigning
  • Public engagement with politics
  • Candidate selection
  • Cabinet appointments and coalition governments

For more information on the forum, and for details of how to contact a historian, please see our press note.

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Equality

H&P historian puts the marginalisation of Gypsies and Travellers under the spotlight

1 September 2011

Becky Taylor, of Birkbeck College, looks at the reasons why Gypsies and Travellers have become more marginalised rather than less over the last century, in the context of the site at Dale Farm in Essex - and looks at the reasons behind social prejudices againt them.

Becky Taylor on the Today programme (BBC R4)
Read Becky Taylor's policy paper: Stereotypes and the state: Britain's travellers past and present

Unequal Britain: equalities in Britain since 1945

H&P paper, 24 March 2010

In a new H&P paper published as the Equality Bill reaches the final stages in parliament, Pat Thane outlines the long struggle for equality by some of Britain's most marginalised groups. Read the paper, Unequal Britain: equalities in Britain since 1945.

Read the press release [pdf file, 65KB]

The paper is based on a new book Unequal Britain: equalities in Britain since 1945 edited by Pat Thane and published by Continuum. H&P subscribers can buy the book at a discount. To do so, please download this flyer.

The book was launched with a discussion at the British Academy, with a panel of speakers including Rob Berkeley, Trevor Phillips OBE, Peter Tatchell, Judith Okely, Baroness Sally Greengross and Pat Thane. A podcast of the discussion will be available soon on the British Academy website.

A photo of Julie Morgan, Becky Taylor and Michele Hanson

Julie Morgan MP, Becky Taylor and Michele Hanson

Travellers and the State: past and present policy

Event, 7 May 2008

History & Policy organised a discussion in the House of Commons on Wednesday 7 May. Working with Julie Morgan MP and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Gypsy and Traveller Law Reform we brought stakeholders, politicians and academics together to discuss the issues affecting Gypsy and Traveller communities in the present and the past. The speakers were Becky Taylor, author of 'A Minority and the State; Travellers in Britain in the Twentieth Century', Romani journalist Jake Bowers, and Peter Bates from the Gypsy and Traveller Unit, Department for Communities and Local Government and the Chair was the Guardian's Michele Hanson. The event was covered by the Rokker Radio team and highlights will be broadcast soon.

LGBT equality one of Blair's finest achievements

News release, Thursday 1 February 2007

Professor Jeffrey Weeks of London South Bank University argues that progress towards equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people should be celebrated as a legacy of the Blair government. His paper has been published to mark the start of LGBT History Month 2007, and the 50th anniversary of the Wolfenden Report later this year. For more information, see the LGBT History Month website. Read the news release [pdf file, 48KB]

Related paper: Wolfenden and beyond the remaking of homosexual history.

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Families and children

Back to the future

21 December 2011

David Cameron is determined to 'get to grips' with England's 'most troubled families' - with funding, a dedicated unit and targeted services. But, argues John Welshman, history shows that while there are certainly families with problems, 'problem families' are an invention of politicians and policy makers.

Read John Welshman's opinion piece: Back to the future

H&P helps Department for Education learn from the past

30 January 2012

H&P has collaborated with the Arts and Humanities Research Council to deliver a series of policy-relevant seminars with the Children, young people and families directorate at the Department for Education. The series was initiated by the Permanent Secretary, and historian of Mass Observation, Tom Jeffery, to help the department learn from the past as it makes current policy. The final event in the current series takes place tomorrow and papers will be published soon afterwards.

Click here to read presentations by members of the H&P Network to the Department for Education.

History in the headlines? Pat Thane in The Daily Telegraph

28 February 2011

Pat Thane's Happy Families? report for the British Academy featured in The Daily Telegraph. In his column, Peter Oborne interprets the research as 'writing the nuclear family out of British history'. Pat Thane rejects such assertions and gives a fuller response, putting current debates on family policy in their historical context.

Pat Thane responds to Peter Oborne's article in The Daily Telegraph

Simon Szreter and Kate Fisher on Woman's Hour

20 October 2010

Simon Szreter and Kate Fisher can be heard talking about their new book Sex Before the Sexual Revolution on Radio 4 Woman's Hour.

You can listen to the programme on the BBC website. Read Szreter and Fisher's piece on the rationale and purpose behind the book here.

Pat Thane on Radio 4's Thinking Allowed

27 October 2010

Pat Thane recently appeared on Thinking Allowed to discuss her recent British Academy report, Happy Families.

You can listen to the programme here. The full report can be downloaded from the British Academy's website.

Read Pat's H&P policy paper on this theme here

Sex before the Sexual Revolution by Simon Szreter and Kate Fisher

October 2010

The new professor of History and Public Policy, Simon Szreter and Dr Kate Fisher offer personal reflections on the motivation and rationale behind their new book Sex before the Sexual Revolution.

Read the piece here.

'Happy Families?' history and policy: paper by Pat Thane

October 2010

Pat Thane challenges the widespread belief that since the 1960s there has been a breakdown of family life in this country. She argues that these claims risk leading to policy responses based on false assumptions about the ways in which families and family structures have changed in recent years.

Read the paper here.

H&P co-founder supports campaign to combat single parent stereotypes

Interview, 23 February 2010

H&P co-founder Pat Thane is interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live, supporting a campaign launched by the charity Gingerbread to combat the stigma faced by single parents. Professor Thane says recent statistics do not support popular and media stereotypes about single parents and points out that single parenthood is not a new phenomenon.

Find out about Gingerbread's 'Let's lose the labels' campaign on their website.

Read H&P papers on lone parenthood by Tanya Evans and Thomas Nutt.

Kids with kids

Interview, 13 November 2009

In an interview with Times Higher Education, H&P historian Dr Ofra Koffman of Goldsmiths College, University of London, shows that while teenage pregnancy is not a new phenomenon, the concept of 'teenage motherhood' has a more recent history. Dr Koffman scrutinises the perception that teenagers are not psychologically mature enough to become mothers, an idea originally promoted by psychiatrists in the 1960s, which continues to influence policy today.

Read Dr Koffmann's interview in Times Higher Education: Kids with kids: how teen mums are a relic of the 1960s.

See also Dr Koffmann's article in Society Guardian last month: Second thoughts: supporting teenage mothers.

Adoption book launch

Seminar and book launch, 28 October 2009, Institute of Historical Research

A seminar to mark the launch of A Child For Keeps: The History of Adoption in England, 1918-45, by Jenny Keating, published by Palgrave Macmillan. This is part of the Centre for Contemporary British History's seminar series, and is organised with History & Policy. The event will start at 5pm on Wednesday, 28 October, in the Wolfson Room at the Institute of Historical Research, London, and a reception will follow. Dr Keating's book will be available at a 50% discount. For further details please see the seminar webpage or contact mel.porter@sas.ac.uk.

Prime Minister should have second thoughts on teenage mothers

Opinion article, 7 October 2009

Gordon Brown's proposal to house teenage parents in supervised homes could be a step back into a shameful past, warns H&P Historian Ofra Koffman of Goldsmiths, University of London. Writing in Society Guardian, Dr Koffman argues that government policy has always oscillated between punishing and protecting young mothers and the Prime Minister's rhetoric raises the ghost of early 20th century mother and baby homes.

Read Dr Koffman's article in Society Guardian: Second thoughts: supporting teenage mothers.

Spinsters

Interview, Radio 4, 3 March 2009

Hear H&P historian Kath Holden on singleness and spinsterhood in 'From Jean Brodie to Carrie Bradshaw', Ann Widdecombe's programme investigating the idea of the spinster. You can listen to the programme on BBC iPlayer.

Sinners, Scroungers, Saints

Interview, 21 November 2007

History & Policy contributor Tanya Evans is interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour about her exhibition on lone motherhood at the Women's Library. You can listen to the interview via the Woman's Hour website. Sinners, Scroungers, Saints runs at the until 29 March 2008, entrance is free. For more information see the Women's Library website.

See also Tanya's History & Policy paper: Is it futile to try to get non-resident fathers to maintain their children?.

Review of child support needs a master-class from history

News release, Wednesday 25 October 2006

Thomas Nutt, Cambridge University, and Tanya Evans, Centre for Contemporary British History, argue that the government should not shift the burden of collection onto lone parents and might learn from the success of local methods of collection in the past. Read the news release [pdf file, 34KB].

Related papers: The Child Support Agency and the Old Poor Law and Is it futile to try to get non-resident fathers to maintain their children?.

Sex and relationships

Interview, Monday 2 October 2006

History & Policy contributor Hera Cook of Birmingham University participates in a BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour discussion on the 60th anniversary programme. Listen to the discussion on the Radio 4 website.

Related paper: No turning back: family forms and sexual mores in modern Britain.

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Global economy and development

Not protest but direct action: anarchism past and present

7 March 2012

Greater understanding of anarchism is vital at a time when, according to David Goodway, Britain has a greater number of conscious anarchists than previously, with many others thinking and behaving in significantly anarchist ways.

Read David Goodway's policy paper: Not protest but direct action: anarchism past and present

H&P event: Not protest but direct action: anarchism past and present

7 March 2012

Britain has a greater number of conscious anarchists than ever before, according to historian David Goodway, who argues for greater understanding of anarchism's history and philosophy. The panel discussion also features Carl Levy, Reader in European Politics at Goldsmiths, Ruth Kinna, Professor of Political Theory at Loughborough and Kit Kazarinov, an MPhil student in Philosophy at King's College London.

The event, which sees the launch of Goodway's new H&P policy paper, takes place 6-7.30pm in K2.31, 2/fl, King's Building, Strand Campus, King's College. Entry is free on a first come, first served basis.

History & Policy panel: Why history matters to development

26 October 2011, 18.00-19.00, Anatomy Theatre Museum, King's College, London

History brings a unique sensibility to debates about development, but historians are often overlooked in discussions about development. Simon Szreter, H&P co-founder and Professor of History and Public Policy at Cambridge, and David Satterthwaite, of the International Institute for Environment and Development, will examine the contribution history can make to development policy. Keith Hoggart, Vice Principal of Arts & Sciences and Professor of Geography at King's, will chair. Entry is open to all on a first come first served basis.

Launch of History, Historians & Development Policy: H&P goes to Manchester

29 September 2011

The book History, Historians & Development Policy: A Necessary Dialogue, co-authored by H&P partner Simon Szreter, Dr Michael Woolcock, Professor C.A. Bayly and Dr Vijayendra Rao, was launched on Thursday 29 September 2011. The event was joint between History & Policy, Manchester University Press and the Brooks World Poverty Institute. Simon, Michael and Alison McGovern MP spoke at the event.

Find out more: Events

New book: History, Historians and Development Policy: A Necessary Dialogue

27 September 2011

Simon Szreter, H&P Partner and Fellow of St John's College Cambridge, discusses his new book. The volume, co-edited with Michael Woolcock, Vijayendra Rao and C.A. Bayly, looks at the contribution history has to make to development policy - and its potential to turn some key policy precepts on their head.

Read the piece: History, Historians and Development Policy: A Necessary Dialogue

H&P Historians respond to the Coalition's Spending Review

October 2010

Read Glen O'Hara's response to the Browne report on Higher Education here.

Ann Lyon on the proposed changes to the Civil List.

David Hall-Matthews on the Government's commitment to ring-fence the international aid budget.

Duncan Redford on the Strategic Defence Review.

Is free trade fair trade? New perspectives on the world trading system

Publication, February 2009

H&P contributor Frank Trentmann has edited a new monograph on trade policy for the Smith Institute. It includes essays by Martin Daunton and Harriet Lamb, Director of The Fairtrade Foundation. You can read it on the Smith Institute website [pdf file, 394KB].

America

Radio 4 History series, 15 September - 24 October 2008

H&P contributor David Reynolds charts the development of the United States in a new series for Radio 4. The programmes will be broadcast in three series, exploring the themes of empire, liberty and faith. The first series, Liberty and Slavery, is available now on the Radio 4 website. The second series will start in January 2009.

History of the Department for International Development

Article, April 2007

Barrie Ireton is a Fellow of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London and has worked in the Department for International Development for over 40 years. He is currently completing an official history of the department which will be published later this year, for further details see the Institute of Commonwealth Studies website.

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History in practice

History & Policy helps historians to the heart of government

2 February 2012

Historians from the H&P Network have been delving behind the famous front door of Number 10 Downing Street to bring to life the fascinating history of the house in a dynamic new history section for the Number 10 website. Lively new biographies of previous Prime Ministers, an exciting monthly feature by expert historians and fresh content on the history of Downing Street itself are among the features launched today. H&P will be working with Number 10 throughout 2012 to publish more new material.

For the full story, read the H&P news release

Read Andrew Blick and George Jones' articles on: The Cabinet Secretary: a tale of three roles and The Institution of Prime Minister

Read Kevin Theakston's article on: Former Prime Ministers

Scroll through the past Prime Ministers section to read Andrew Thompson's new biography of Robert Walpole.

Calls for compulsory history teaching to age 16

24 November 2011

At the launch today of a new book exploring history teaching in England over the last century, David Cannadine calls for history to be made compulsory to age 16. H&P Network members Nicola Sheldon and Jenny Keating have worked with Professor Cannadine to research the experiences of former pupils and teachers, interview former Education Secretaries and explore the archives. The results are brought together in a new book, The Right Kind of History: teaching the past in twentieth century England (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) and on the History in Education website, both launched today.

Click here to listen to David Cannadine's interview on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme

Click here to visit the BBC's audio slideshow

Read David Cannadine's interview in The Guardian

See also: Robert Guyver's H&P paper The role of government in determining the school history curriculum: lessons from Australia

History & Policy workshop: History in the Headlines

10 November 2011, 10.00-15.30, History Department, King's College, London

This one-day workshop will provide historians with a rare chance to hear from three panels of experienced journalists, documentary-makers, press officers and historians about how to get media coverage for historical research and achieve positive media experiences. Confirmed speakers include Michael Crick (Channel 4 News), Paddy O'Connell (BBC Radio and TV), Chris Bowlby (BBC Radio) and Paul Lay (History Today). Places are free for members of the H&P Network of Historians.

For further information or to book a place, email Mel Porter or download the programme [pdf file: 430KB].

New History & Policy website!

20 October 2011

History & Policy has redesigned its website. To mark the relaunch, we are publishing three new policy papers - from Austria-Hungary's currency union and the eurozone crisis, lessons for today from American intervention in the Philippines and the different meanings of 'pandemic' and their importance for health policy. We're also releasing two new opinion pieces on fixed-term parliaments and strategies for economic recovery.

Find out more: New H&P website

New History & Policy Environment Forum

20 October 2011

History & Policy is setting up a new Environment Forum, bringing historians together with policymakers, campaigners, scientists and others engaged with environment policy. Paul Warde, Senior Editor for H&P, is convening the forum. We're also very pleased to release a new paper from Ben Cowell, of the National Trust, putting attitudes to forests in their proper context for Defra's Forestry Panel.

Find out more: H&P Environment Forum

Read the paper: Forests, the Magna Carta, and the 'New Commons': Some Thoughts for the Forest Panel

Case studies: Historians influencing policy

20 October 2011

History & Policy works to put historians and policy makers in touch. This can range from offering the material on our website as a helpful guide through to organising seminars and submissions to select committees. We are bringing together some case studies from individual historians, looking at their experiences of working to influence the policy debate and the role H&P played in helping to make it happen.

Find out more: Case studies

Consultancy opportunity: History & Policy partnership with Cabinet Office

23 August 2011

History & Policy is seeking a dynamic and confident historian to help advance our relationship with Cabinet Office. This is a rare opportunity for a historian to engage directly with government policymakers. The person appointed will carry out a scoping project, working with civil servants in Cabinet Office to examine the potential for a fellowship programme and to consider how history might contribute to specific policy areas, and to policy development methodology. Please note that the deadline is 5pm, 15 September 2011.

Click here for full details [pdf 97kb]. Contact Mel Porter (mel.porter@kcl.ac.uk) for more information.

H&P partner Pat Thane in BBC History Magazine

19 August 2011

Pat Thane puts the case for historians' involvement in debate about current policy - arguing that, while they should stick to what they know, they have a vital role in bringing their expertise to bear on today's problems.

Read more: Should historians comment on current affairs?

New books: managing the commons, the Feingold diet and the African Diaspora

15 August 2011

Angus Winchester, Matthew Smith and Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya reflect on their work and research in our 'New books' section - looking at the events leading up to the books and why their contents matter today.

Read more here: New books

Tying the knot, cutting back and a bloodstained coat: H&P members make the news

6 May 2011

History & Policy's historians have frequently been featured in print and broadcast media over the past few months. We have collected some of the highlights, displaying the range of contributions made by our members to public policy debate in Britain and abroad.

H&P media coverage: spring 2011

The role of government in determining the school history curriculum: lessons from Australia

14 April 2011

As the review of the history curriculum proceeds in England, it inevitably comes up against different ways of looking at and framing the past. But should we be comfortable with interfering too much with how teachers teach history: and is there a risk that too much ideology is entering into the debate over how history is presented? Robert Guyver looks at the history of the Australian experience and draws lessons for England.

Read the paper: The role of government in determining the school history curriculum: lessons from Australia

History & Policy in The Guardian

13 April 2011

A recent Guardian editorial praised academic involvement in Wikipedia and called for more of it - helping to make the free encyclopedia more reliable and making more people aware of the fruits of academic research. History & Policy was ahead of the game, linking to its policy papers and opinion pieces and securing new audiences as a result - and we wrote to the paper accordingly. You can read the published letter here. Academics can also fill out Wikipedia's survey on barriers to their involvement here (deadline: 15 April).

Arcadia participates in governmental round table discussion on Open Access

8 April 2011

Following on from our contribution to the Hargreaves review of IP, H&P co-funder Arcadia participated in a round table discussion on Open Access with David Willetts MP, Minister of State for Universities and Science. Open Access means increased transparency, facilitating improved access to research publications and data. Most of the Research Councils, JISC, RIN, HEFCE, several publishers and learned societies, research charities and academics were present. You can find more information here.

New Professorships in History & Policy

October 2010

King's College, London and Cambridge University are pleased to announce the appointment of the first Professors of History and Policy in the UK. Alastair Reid takes up his role of Visiting Professor of History and Policy at King's College, London and Simon Szreter has been appointed Professor of History and Public Policy in the Faculty of History at Cambridge.

Download the press release and interview with Professors Alastair Reid and Simon Szreter here. View coverage of this announcement in the Times Higher Educational Supplement here.

Working with select committees

H&P resource, 8 July 2010

As part of a secondment with H&P, Dr David Turner, Committee Specialist at the Health Select Committee, has prepared a guide for historians on working with select committees. This is now available to download from our resources section and will be of use to any historian wanting to get involved in the work of select committees. Since 2006, H&P has worked with historians to provide written evidence to seven select committee inquiries and has facilitated oral evidence by a historian to one further inquiry.

Download Dr Turner's paper here [pdf file, 66kb].

Read previous H&P submissions to select committees here.

New History & Policy MA options launched

New course, 16 June 2010

From September 2010, two new History & Policy MA options will enable students to explore how history can inform key areas of current policy and how to communicate their work to policy audiences. The MA in Contemporary British History will be offered at King's College London, including the new options: 'policymaking under pressure' and 'long-term policy problems'. The course is aimed at anyone seeking a history MA with a unique and contemporary twist that is clearly relevant and applicable to the present. H&P co-managers Pat Thane and Richard Roberts will be among those teaching the options, along with H&P staff.

For full details of the new options, see the Centre for Contemporary British History website or click here to see full details of the MA on the King's College website.

What are academic historians for?

Opinion, 27 May 2010

Martin Johnes considers the contributions that historians can make to society, examining how history is used in Wales. Read his article at WalesHome.org.

Historians can have many roles in public life

Letter, 20 May 2010

The co-managers of H&P have had a letter published in Times Higher Education asserting the value of history to current policymaking. They were responding to a feature by Professor Richard Overy of the University of Exeter.

The H&P Managers' letter is available on the THE website.

Today's toughest policy problems: how history can help

H&P paper, 5 May 2010

To mark the milestone of our 100th paper, H&P has today published a special, pre-election policy paper. Drawing on expertise and ideas from some of the previous 99 papers, Mel Porter and Alastair J. Reid explore what historians can contribute to today's major policy questions. In Today's toughest policy problems: how history can help, they examine the knotty issues that will face the new government: the economy and finance, democracy and political reform, social policy, the NHS and public health, climate change and international security.

Read the paper, and the press release.

H&P historian discusses the BNP's appropriation of Churchill

Opinion article, 2 December 2009

Ivan Pregnolato of the University of Nottingham unpicks the BNP's appropriation of Winston Churchill as their talisman. He argues that it is not historically valid to project present day attitudes and beliefs onto historical figures.

Read Ivan Pregnolato's article, 'Hijacking history'.

Award for H&P founder Simon Szreter

10 November 2009

History & Policy co-founder Simon Szreter is today being awarded the Viseltear Prize at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in Philadelphia, for his outstanding contributions to the history of public health. On Thursday 12 November he will deliver the Isidore I. Benrubi annual lecture on: "Public Health and Social Security: The Keys to Unlocking Economic Growth in England?".

This is a public event at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University in New York, details are available on the Columbia University website.

H&P historian comments on British National Party's version of history

Opinion article, 4 November 2009

Writing exclusively for the H&P website, historian and far-right expert Matthew Feldman of Northampton University explores the way British National Party leader Nick Griffin twisted history during his appearance on the BBC's Question Time.

Read Dr Feldman's article, Pinstriped fascism.

The case for historical advisers in government

Opinion article, 29 October 2009

Writing exclusively for History & Policy, Yoav J. Tenembaum of Tel Aviv University argues the case for Presidents and Prime Ministers to appoint historical advisers. He argues that historians have a unique perspective to bring to the business of governing democratic states and could help overcome politicians' historical illiteracy.

Read Dr Tenembaum's article, The case for historical advisers in government.

H&P launches Bad History with Times Higher Education

14 October 2009

A new Bad History series launched today will dismantle the historical myths that abound in contemporary debate and expose the spinning of history for political and PR purposes. Bursting the bubble of vacuous historical claims made by politicians, Royals and commentators alike, the first seven 'Bad History' comments appear in an article in Times Higher Education magazine (the Bad History case studies are towards the end of the feature).

Bad History is written by members of the History & Policy Network and will become a regular feature on the History & Policy website. If you are a historian with a story for Bad History, please contact the H&P office.

Read the press release [pdf file, 118KB].

Read press coverage in the Telegraph: History being 'distorted' by politicians.

History without bunk

Guardian- commment is free, 20 September 2009

The recent Public Accounts Committee Report found that Whitehall struggles to learn and innovate. H&P founder Alastair Reid shows how historians could help government learn from past policy experiences, in an article on the Guardian website.

H&P historians on summer reading list for Conservative MPs

BBC news, 15 July 2009

The recess reading list sent by Conservative front bencher Keith Simpson to fellow MPs includes books by three H&P historians; The Defence of the Realm: The Official History of MI5 by Christopher Andrew; Terrorism: How to Respond by Richard English; and Electing Our Masters: The Hustings in British Politics from Hogarth to Blair by Jon Lawrence.

You can read papers and articles by two of these historians here: Intelligence analysis needs to look backwards before looking forward by Christopher Andrew; The hustings, broadcasters and the future of British democracy by Jon Lawrence.

Writing history

Radio 4 Front Row, 9 June 2009

Margaret Macmillan, author of The Uses and Abuses of History, discusses the writing of history with Lady Antonia Fraser on Radio 4's Front Row (interview starts at 01:45).

Turning points in British history

Radio 4 Today programme, 23 April 2009

H&P founder Pat Thane, Professor of Contemporary British History at the Institute of Historical Research, told the Today programme that 1956 was a key turning point in modern British history because Britain's withdrawal from Suez proved that it was no longer a first-rank world power. Professor Thane joined mediaevalist Michael Wood who made a case for 927, when England was created, and Professor Mark Ormrod, who argued for 1348 when the Black Death reduced the population by half.

You can listen to the discussion and read an article about historical turning points on the Today programme website.

Politicians draw on history in budget debate

H&P's Network of Historians respond, 22 April 2009

In today's Budget debate, all three of the major parties drew on history to make their arguments. Chancellor Alistair Darling said, "When the world economy was plunged into deep crisis in the 1930s, the response, both nationally and internationally, was too little and too late. This failure to act turned a serious downturn into a prolonged depression. We will not repeat those mistakes again." Conservative leader David Cameron argued, "This Prime Minister can never be the future, because he doesn't understand what went wrong in the past... the fundamental truth is that all Labour Governments run out of money." While Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg said, "Think back to the great Budgets of our history. The People's Budget of 1909, the first pension, the first social insurance. Labour's post-war Budgets, building a new nation from the rubble of war. What made these Budgets great was their ambition, and their coherent vision for a different future. The Chancellor could have given a People's Budget for the 21st century. Instead we got a politician's Budget."

Historians in the H&P Network offer rapid responses to the Budget announcements and debate:

  • Erin Gill of Aberystwyth University and contributing editor to Environment Analyst warns the vehicle scrappage incentive could be a faux green measure
  • Dr. Richard Toye of the University of Exeter evaluates Conservative leader David Cameron's claim that "all Labour governments run out of money"
  • H&P co-founder Professor Pat Thane commented on the announcement of improved pension rights for grandparents caring for grand-children
  • Dr. Fiona Kisby of the University of Winchester, discusses the implications of politicians' use of history for history teaching

If you are a journalist and would like to speak to an historian, please contact us.

Historians should write more for public and policymakers

Radio 4 Today programme, 15 April 2009

Margaret Macmillan, warden of St Antony's College, Oxford, called on historians to write more history for public and policy audiences, in a discussion on Radio 4's Today programme with H&P Network member Dominic Sandbrook. Professor Macmillan said that "history is like a sign on a highway saying 'be careful because the road ahead gets icy when it's cold', warning you that if you take certain actions you might face certain consequences." To listen to the discussion go to the Today Programme website and scroll down to 0826.

Learning from the Levellers

Convention on Modern Liberty, 28 February 2009

At the recent Convention on Modern Liberty, H&P contributor Melissa Lane (Kings College, Cambridge) explored what we can learn about liberty from the Levellers, the seventeenth century radicals who called for representative government and religious freedom. You can read a transcript of Melissa Lane's speech on the Open Democracy website.

Lessons from history

Article, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, January 2009

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology considers how history could help to inform decisions on key scientific and technological policy issues, in an article in the POST notes series. The H&P network is highlighted as a means of improving communication between historians and policymakers. It includes a case study of historian Abigail Wood's involvement in the Foot and Mouth debate and draws on Virginia Berridge's H&P research on the use of history in health policymaking. To read the article please go to the POST website [pdf, 157KB].

H&P recommended in IUSS select committee meeting

Evidence session on 'Putting science and engineering at the heart of government policy', 25 February 2009

Baroness Onora O'Neill, President of the British Academy, recommended H&P as a way of improving evidence based policymaking in a session with the Innovations, Universities, Science and Skills Committee. She said that many departments in Whitehall do not always have a good memory of past policy initiatives, and historians could remedy this problem by showing what worked in the past and what did not work. To read the transcript of this session please go to the IUSS committee website. A video of the session is available on the Parliament Live website (Baroness O'Neill's discussion of H&P is at 01:51:55).

Experts should have a greater role in advising policymakers, says new report

Report publication, 17 September 2008

History & Policy is cited as an example of best practice in a new report on the use of academic research in government policymaking. The British Academy report Punching our weight: the humanities and social sciences in public policy making includes a History & Policy submission. The report and the press release are available now on the British Academy website.

Historians in the Tent of the General

Radio 4 History series, 12 - 19 November 2008

In a new series for Radio 4, Andrew Roberts considers the links between politicians and historians.

A photo of Gill Bennett, David Cannadine, Mark Fisher, Peter Lilley and Bill Rodgers

The speakers at 'Governing with History'

Governing with History

Event, 13 May 2008

History & Policy and the All Party Parliamentary History Group organised a discussion on Governing with History on Tuesday 13 May . The panellists were Gill Bennett OBE (former Chief Historian of the FCO), David Cannadine, Peter Lilley MP and Lord (Bill) Rodgers. The event was chaired by Mark Fisher MP and was attended by an audience of 50 MPs, Lords, civil servants and journalists, who discussed their ideas on how historical evidence could be better used in policymaking. A report on the discussion will be available shortly.

History & policy in action

Launch of new resource

A new resource, History & policy in action shows how historians from the History & Policy network have been involved in public policy, providing valuable lessons for future engagement. Mark Roodhouse discusses his role in the carbon rationing debate and Abigail Woods describes how she was caught up in the media storm surrounding the 2001 Foot and Mouth disease outbreak. David Cesarani explains his role in the investigation of war crimes and the campaign for Holocaust Memorial Day.

Call for government to appoint Chief Historical Adviser

News Release, December 2007

Ahead of the History & Policy launch on 5 December, leading historian David Cannadine called for the appointment of historical advisers to Whitehall departments and a Chief Historical Adviser to the government. For more details, read our news release [pdf file, 61KB] or listen to David's interview BBC Radio Four's Today Programme.

Why Policy Needs History

Launch coverage, December 2007

History & Policy had its public launch, Why Policy Needs History, at the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms on Wednesday, 5 December. Leading historians Pat Thane, David Reynolds and David Cannadine addressed the major policy areas of social change, international relations and national identity and devolution.

Pat Thane's paper, Are things getting better? Governing a changing society [pdf file, 57KB], David Reynolds' paper, The Prime Minister as world statesman [pdf file, 66KB] and David Cannadine's paper, Britishness: devolution, evolution and revolution [pdf file 61kb], are available to download. All of the papers are drafts and have not been checked against delivery.

The launch event also sparked widespread media discussion, including:

Why Policy Needs History

Interview, 26 November 2007

In an interview for BBC Radio Four's Start the Week, Pat Thane discusses History & Policy's forthcoming public launch, Why Policy Needs History, which will take place on Wednesday, 5 December, at the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms. Pat will be joined by David Cannadine and David Reynolds to address three of the most pressing policy issues currently facing the Government. Prospect Magazine editor David Goodhart will chair the discussion.

Australian democracy forum

New initiative, April 2007

Historian David Pritchard was inspired by History & Policy to set up the Sydney Democratic Forum. This is a new initiative, based in Sydney, Australia, that aims to bring together academics in the humanities and social scientists to inform current policymaking relating to democracy and foreign affairs. A series of events is planned in Sydney, but academics and policymakers worldwide are invited to join the discussion network and a website is under construction. See the invitation to join the forum [pdf file, 23KB] or email Rowena Mueller (r.mueller@econ.usyd.edu.au).

A nicer country than Attlee's Britain?

Article, April 2007

In an article for Parliamentary Brief magazine this month, Pat Thane explains that her team's research for the Equalities Review shows how far Great Britain has progressed towards equality since the Second World War. But she warns that even now, not all of us are equal, all of the time. Read Pat Thane's article [pdf file, 30KB].

See also Equalities in Great Britain, 1946-2006 [pdf file, 839KB].

History and the public

Presentation, Thursday 12 April

This year's History and the Public Conference was held at Swansea University, with keynote speakers including Lord Morgan and Tristram Hunt, for further details including audio and word files see the Swansea University website. Read Mel Porter's presentation on History & Policy [pdf file, 375KB].

Welsh Assembly announces £2m for future of Aberfan

Interview, Thursday 1 February 2007

History & Policy contributor Iain McLean has been writing and campaigning about Aberfan since the archives were opened in 1997, and described how the government of the day improperly took charitable funds from the Aberfan Disaster Fund to pay for the removal of the Aberfan coal tips in 1968. Interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Iain welcomed the announcement of 2m for the upkeep of the village's memorials and local schools. To listen to the discussion go to the Radio 4 website. He was also quoted in the Western Mail.

Related paper: Aberfan: no end of a lesson.

Whose history is it anyway?

Article, October 2006

In an article for History Today, Tristram Hunt argues that "historians should stop worrying about controlling the commanding heights of British public life, and start to operate more where history really matters to politicians: amongst the people." For the full text see the History Today website.

Time to talk

Article, Wednesday 15 May 2002

Simon Szreter, Cambridge University, introduces the History & Policy initiative. Download the article [pdf file, 25KB]. The article was first published in Education Guardian.

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International affairs and security

Cameron's veto: a calamitous break with the past?

19 December 2011

'...A muted core of reluctant support lies at the mainstream of Britain's relationship with the EC/EU' argues Helen Parr. Has David Cameron now broken the governing consensus in Britain over Europe? Helen Parr considers post-war British government policies and attitudes to Europe.

Read Helen Parr's opinion piece: Cameron's veto: a calamitous break with the past?

Ha-Joon Chang discusses EU negotiations with China

29 October 2011

H&P contributor Ha-Joon Chang, Reader in Economics at Cambridge University, appeared on BBC2's Newsnight to discuss the implications of EU negotiations with China for support for its bail-out fund. He was also a co-signatory with 99 others of a letter supporting Compass' 'Plan B' for the UK economy.

You can watch the Newsnight interview on BBC iplayer

Click here to read coverage of the economists' letter in The Observer

Click here to read Ha-Joon Chang's H&P paper

New policy paper: Winning 'hearts and minds': American imperial designs of the early twentieth and twenty-first centuries

20 October 2011

The United States has been accused of failing to follow through with intervention in the past - opting for a relatively brief period of nation-building, followed by a relatively rapid withdrawal. Adam D. Burns shows that, for a brief while, the Philippines looked like a very different case.

Read the paper: Winning 'hearts and minds': American imperial designs of the early twentieth and twenty-first centuries

New opinion piece: Tripoli, the American national anthem and an old drinking song

22 August 2011

As the Libyan rebel forces enter Tripoli, Brett Goodin looks at the little-known history of US involvement in Libya in the nineteenth century - with mixed political, and surprising lyrical, results.

Read the piece: Tripoli, the American national anthem and an old drinking song

New opinion piece: Whose truth? Competing narratives in Syria and Libya

27 April 2011

As the crisis and violence in Syria escalates, Ibrahim Al-Marashi of IE University looks at the competing narratives there and in Libya - those promoted by governments and those experienced by many of their citizens - and looks at how rhetoric is being used in the service of different groups' own agendas.

Read the piece: Whose truth? Competing narratives in Syria and Libya

Opinion piece by Marc Michael: 'Truths of the "Lotus Revolution"'

22 February 2011

As Egypt enters into a transitional period between Mubarak's rule and a new regime, Marc Michael looks at the historical context from Nasser to the present day - and proposes a new way to address the legacy of widespread corruption in future, in a piece co-published by OpenDemocracy. OpenDemocracy have also published a podcast from Professor Eugene Rogan, looking at the historical context of Arab revolutions and challenges to come.

Truths of the 'Lotus Revolution'

Opinion piece by Ibrahim Al-Marashi: 'The Arab world's leadership deficit'

17 February 2011

As protests sweep across the Middle East and North Africa, problems of governance have come into focus again. Ibrahim Al-Marashi, from IE University in Madrid, looks at those problems - and at the role played by the failure to provide inspiring leadership to help address them.

The Arab world's leadership deficit

New openDemocracy article published: WikiLeaks: the imperial precedent

22 December 2010

James Renton looks back almost a century to the original 'Wikileaks'- when the Bolsheviks revealed a secret Anglo-French agreement to carve up the Middle East.

Wikileaks: the imperial precedent

Network historian Lucy Noakes on Remembrance Day

11 November

H&P network historian Lucy Noakes was interviewed by CNN and Radio 4 to discuss the development of Remembrance Day over the last century. To read the article, visit the CNN website here. To listen to her contribution to Radio 4's Analysis programme visit here.

You can read her article on the 'Politics of Poppy day' on the Open Democracy.

H&P Historians respond to the Coalition's Spending Review

October 2010

Read Glen O'Hara's response to the Browne report on Higher Education here.

Ann Lyon on the proposed changes to the Civil List.

David Hall-Matthews on the Government's commitment to ring-fence the international aid budget.

Duncan Redford on the Strategic Defence Review.

Afghanistan's armies, past and present

H&P paper, 8 July 2010

As General Petraeus takes over as Commander of US forces in Afghanistan and British troops withdraw from the Sangin region, a new H&P paper explores the challenge of creating and maintaining an Afghan national army. Stephanie Cronin of Oxford University examines previous attempts at state-building and army reform from the nineteenth century to the Soviet era and the present day. She argues that unless NATO changes its strategy, it will continue to repeat the mistakes of the past. This paper is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand why the Afghan mission remains so intractable and continues to cost so many lives.

Read the paper: Afghanistan's armies, past and present.

Has Britain always united behind commemorations of the war dead?

Interview, June 2010

In our latest collaborative feature with BBC History Magazine, Chris Bowlby talks to Lucy Noakes about the history of war commemoration, and finds that it has caused division as well as unity.

Read the article. Other articles from the series can be found in our BBC History section.

Dr Liam Fox: More Palmerston than Blair?

Rapid response, 24 May 2010

In a recent interview with The Times, the Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox described himself as 'more Palmerston than Blair'. Adam Shelley examines the comparison in a rapid response for H&P: Dr Liam Fox: More Palmerston than Blair?

The forgotten impact of a war that didn't happen

Feature, 30 March 2010

Holger Nehring suggests that the impact of the Cold War arms race on politics and society has been forgotten. This is the forth article from the Lest we forget series, produced in partnership with openDemocracy.

Read the article: The forgotten impact of a war that didn't happen.

Forgotten lessons: Palestine and the British empire

Feature, 19 March 2010

James Renton examines the legacy of British involvement in Palestine, arguing that mandate-era misjudgements are being readily repeated. This is the third article from the Lest we forget series, produced in partnership with openDemocracy.

Read the article: Forgotten lessons: Palestine and the British empire.

Second article from the Lest we forget series in association with openDemocracy.

Feature, 9 February 2010

Bob Brecher examines how dissention over the legality of the Iraq war, and the history of Western military interventions since 1945, reveal the paucity of international law's moral underpinnings in Iraq and the fig leaf of just war theory. For more information on submissions to the Lest we forget series, please refer to the guidelines on the openSecurity website or contact daniel.macarthur-seal@opendemocracy.net.

First article from the Lest we forget series in association with openDemocracy.

Feature, 26 January 2010

As Wootton Basset pays its respects to soldiers killed in the Afghanistan conflict, it stirs up memories of controversies surrounding previous acts of remembrance. Lucy Noakes explores the fraught history of war remembrance in The politics of poppy day. For more information on submissions to the Lest we forget series, please refer to the guidelines on the openSecurity website or contact daniel.macarthur-seal@opendemocracy.net.

Remember Cable Street? Wrong battle, mate

H&P paper, 24 November 2009

David Cesarani discusses why Communities Secretary John Denham was wrong to compare recent anti-Muslim demonstrations with fascist attacks on British Jews in the 1930s. Read the paper, Remember Cable Street? Wrong battle, mate.

Divided memories of the fall of the Berlin Wall

Opinion, 10 November 2009

In a new H&P opinion article, Dr James Mark of the University of Exeter argues that events to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall fail to do justice to the differing perceptions of the collapse of Communism in East and West Europe.

Read Dr Mark's article: 1989: Divided memories, East and West.

New history of MI5

Interview, 5 October 2009

To coincide with the centenary of MI5, Cambridge historian Christopher Andrew has written an authorised history of the security service. He was interviewed about the book on the Today programme.

Read Professor Andrew's H&P paper: Intelligence analysis needs to look backwards before looking forward.

Broadband terrorism: A new face of fascism

Opinion article, 22 September 2009

Recent demonstrations by the English Defence League and the trial of far-right bomber Neil Lewington, has sparked fears of a neo-fascist resurgence. Matthew Feldman, a historian of fascist movements, considers these new developments and argues that policies for dealing with fascists should be brought up to date.

Read Dr Matthew Feldman's article: Broadband Terrorism: A new face of fascism.

Dr Feldman contributed to a File on 4 investigation of far-right violence. The programme will be broadcast on Tuesday 22 September, at 8pm.

He was also interviewed on The World Tonight (37 minutes in).

Upgrading Britain's nuclear deterrent: from V-Bombers to Trident replacement

H&P paper, 17 September 2009

Matthew Grant examines the history of Britain's nuclear deterrent, revealing that the shadow of the Cold War hangs over today's policymakers. Read the paper: Upgrading Britain's nuclear deterrent: from V-Bombers to Trident replacement.

Read the press release [pdf file, 56KB]

North Korea and the nuclear threat

H&P paper, 17 September 2009

Jenna Phillips outlines the history of the Korean War, suggesting that nuclear capability does not translate into diplomatic leverage. Read the paper: North Korea and the nuclear threat.

Read the press release [pdf file, 56KB]

Talking to the Taliban: Lessons from Northern Ireland

New opinion article, 29 July 2009

Dr John Bew responds to Douglas Alexander's recent comment that negotiations in Afghanistan should follow the model of the Northern Ireland talks:

"Much of what has been said about the Northern Ireland example in the public domain has been highly misleading. In particular, the assumption that 'talking to terrorists' provided the key variable in the search for peace in Northern Ireland simplifies the history of the conflict there beyond recognition."

You can read the rest of the article on the H&P opinion page.

Read John Bew's article in the Spectator: We should talk to the Taliban only from a position of strength not weakness.

China, globalisation and the west: A British debate, 1890 - 1914

New H&P paper, 27 July 2009

Professor Peter Cain shows that Western anxieties about China's economic potential and fears about a new 'Dark Age' for Europe date back more than a century, in a new paper: China, globalisation and the west: A British debate, 1890 - 1914

Read the news release [pdf file, 51KB]

Government plans for nuclear war

BBC news, 23 June 2009

Historian Peter Hennessy spoke to the BBC about the government War Book, which contains Cold War plans for the outbreak of nuclear war. You can hear a feature on civil servant's rehersals for nuclear war on the Today programme website. You can also see a video of the interview with Professor Hennessy.

Professor Hennessy is giving the Pimlott Lecture on 'Inescapable, necessary and lunatic': Whitehall's transition-to-war planning for World War II, on 23 June at the Centre for Contemporary British History's Britain and the Cold War conference.

Lord Hurd in conversation with David Reynolds: The formulation of British policy at the end of the Cold War

H&P discussion, 22 June 2009, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

The Rt Hon Lord Hurd of Westwell was Foreign Secretary from 1989 to 1995. He discussed the formulation of British policy at the end of the Cold War with Professor David Reynolds, Professor of International History and Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge.

The event was part of the Britain and the Cold War conference, organised by the Centre for Contemporary British History. A video of the discussion will be available on our website.

History shows that torture won't win the war on terror

News release, 29 October 2008

Calder Walton's new History & Policy paper examines the history of intelligence gathering and argues that using torture in interrogation produces unreliable evidence and is ultimately counter-productive for intelligence gathering.

Paper: Torture and intelligence gathering in Western democracies.

Read the news release [pdf file, 46KB].

The Security State

Launch of event series, 19 June

History & Policy is collaborating with the Raphael Samuel History Centre and Bishopsgate Institute to produce a series of public debates on history and the making of public policy. The first one explored the rise of the security state, starting with presentations from historians Jane Caplan and Edward Higgs, and security experts Ross Anderson (Security Engineering, Cambridge), Sandra Bell (Royal United Services Institute) and Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian security correspondent). The next event on 'Bad Kids? the politics of childhood past and present' will take place in November. For further details please see our events page.

Summits

History series on BBC 4, February 2008

History & Policy contributor David Reynolds uncovers the fascinating stories of summit meetings that shaped the world in an exciting new series for BBC 4. The second programme examines the 1961 summit meeting between John F Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, which pushed the world to the brink of nuclear destruction over Cuba. It will be shown on 11 February, from 10.30 to 11.30pm, on BBC 4. The third programme considers what happenned when Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev met at Lake Geneva to discuss nuclear disarmament. It will be shown on 13 February from 9.00 to 10.00 pm. Both programmes are repeated during the week, for full listings see the BBC 4 website.

David Reynolds spoke at the History & Policy discussion evening on the lessons of history for diplomacy. His paper The Prime Minister as World Stateman is available now.

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Local government and services

Edinburgh v. Westminster: what about the rest of the UK?

7 February 2012

In the decision about Scottish independence, who has a say? The Scottish people, clearly. But what about the democratic rights of the rest of the UK? Naomi Lloyd-Jones considers the history of Irish and Scottish Home Rule.

Read Naomi Lloyd-Jones' opinion piece: Edinburgh v. Westminster: what about the rest of the UK?

How can the Post Office keep pace with the modern world?

Feature, March 2010

As the future of the Post Office comes under increasing speculation, Chris Bowlby talks to Adrian Steel about the place of the postal service in the twenty-first century. Changing times: How can the Post Office keep pace with the modern world? is the latest article in H&P's collaborative series with BBC History Magazine. Other articles can be found in our BBC History section.

Can the Conservatives do co-operatives?

Opinion article, 26 February 2010

Matthew Francis considers Conservative plans for workers' co-operatives to own and run public services, suggesting that the party should look back to Noel Skelton's proposals to extend the 'property owning democracy'.

Read Matthew Francis' article: Cameron and the renewal of the 'property-owning democracy'.

Beware of 'crying wolf' during recession, charities warned

New H&P paper, 7 April 2009

New historical evidence suggests that voluntary organisations may weather the current recession better than expected. Recent surveys predict a miserable future for the sector, with a steep decline in donations, legacies and government funding, just as demand for services increases. But in a new H&P paper, Professor John Mohan of the University of Southampton and Karl Wilding, Head of Research at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, dismiss this blanket picture of gloom. In Economic downturns and the voluntary sector: what can we learn from historical evidence?, they use the accounts of British voluntary hospitals during the interwar period and trends in charitable-giving in North America during the Great Depression of 1929-31 to assess the likely impact of the current recession on charities.

Read the news release [pdf file, 85KB].

Read the authors' blog on the Guardian website.

Social Housing and Tenant Participation

News release, 25 March 2008

Peter Shapely's new History & Policy paper on Social Housing and Tenant Participation shows that tenants must be involved in planning social housing, if the problems of the past are not to be repeated. Read the news release [pdf file, 44KB]. Read the summary release [pdf file, 15KB].

A photo of Robin Jackson, Baroness Andrews and David Walker

Robin Jackson, Baroness Andrews and David Walker

Local devolution of public services

Event, 27 November 2007

History & Policy and the British Academy held a discussion evening chaired by Pat Thane looking at the past and present of devolution from central to local government. On the panel were Communities Minister Baroness Kay Andrews, historian and former council leader Baroness Hollis, historian and Local Government Ombudsman Jerry White, and Guardian Public Magazine editor, David Walker. For more details see the British Academy website. A full report on this event will be available shortly.

See also Jerry White's H&P paper From Herbert Morrison to command and control: the decline of local democracy.

What's wrong with English local democracy? Can looking back help to move it forward?

News Release, Monday 9 July 2007

This workshop was a partnership between History & Policy and the British Academy, to explore whether history has any lessons that could help revitalise local democracy today. Six panellists with a range of historical and contemporary expertise presented their thoughts, followed by a lively discussion with the invited audience of around 35 people. For further details see the British Academy website.

History & Policy contributor and Local Government Ombudsman Jerry White, was on the panel, see his paper From Herbert Morrison to command and control: the decline of local democracy.

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Media

History & Policy workshop: History in the Headlines

10 November 2011, 10.00-15.30, History Department, King's College, London

This one-day workshop will provide historians with a rare chance to hear from three panels of experienced journalists, documentary-makers, press officers and historians about how to get media coverage for historical research and achieve positive media experiences. Confirmed speakers include Michael Crick (Channel 4 News), Paddy O'Connell (BBC Radio and TV), Chris Bowlby (BBC Radio) and Paul Lay (History Today). Places are free for members of the H&P Network of Historians.

For further information or to book a place, email Mel Porter or download the programme [pdf file: 430KB].

H&P historian comments on the Guardian's coverage of sex-trafficking

Opinion article, 2 December 2009

Writing exclusively for the H&P website, Jane Berney of the Open University uses the history of the Contagious Diseases Act in Victorian Britain and Hong Kong to shed light on the contemporary debate over the scale of sex trafficking. She demonstrates that then, as now, statistics are easily manipulated whilst the voice of the prostitute is absent.

Read Jane Berney's article, More sex, lies and trafficking.

Communicating History

Media discussion, 2 July

Leading journalists Chris Bowlby (Radio 4,) Michael Crick (Newsnight) and Peter Riddell (The Times) spoke to historians and media representatives at a H&P discussion on 'Communicating History' on 2 July. A summary of the discussion will be available shortly.

Behind the News/ History Lessons

New History & Policy series in BBC History Magazine, April 2008

History & Policy is collaborating with BBC History Magazine on an exciting series, Behind the News/ History Lessons. Every month a historian in the History & Policy network will examine a topical news issue, exploding historical myths and sharing their thoughts on how history might help solve current problems. In January's magazine, Abigail Wills investigates Youth Culture and Crime. In February's edition Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska wrote about Obesity and the modern lifestyle. In March David Feldman wrote on Making immigration work for Britain. In the current issue Peter Shapely considers the housing crisis.

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Medicine and Public health

Paying for health: Lansley's woes and pre-NHS healthcare

16 February 2012

Opponents of the government's NHS reforms argue that if hospitals can raise more private income, those who can't pay for treatment will be left on longer waiting lists. The debate would have been familiar to those discussing pre-NHS hospital reform, argues George Campbell Gosling in a new H&P opinion piece.

Read George Gosling's opinion piece: Paying for health: Lansley's woes and pre-NHS healthcare

'Fraudulent' disability in historical perspective

14 February 2012

As the government battles with the House of Lords over the Welfare Reform Bill, historian David M. Turner of Swansea University explores a centuries-old debate over definitions of disability and entitlement to welfare support.

Read David Turner's H&P paper: 'Fraudulent' disability in historical perspective

Read BBC Wales interview with David Turner

New policy paper: Putting pandemics in perspective

20 October 2011

When the WHO declared a swine flu 'pandemic', it was widely criticised for spending billions of dollars which proved unnecessary. Mark Honigsbaum looks at how pandemics have been defined in the past - and shows how one exceptional pandemic in 1918 has coloured responses ever since.

Read the paper: Putting pandemics in perspective

AIDS@30: Events series at King's

12 October 2011

'AIDS@30: Three Decades of Responding to HIV/AIDS' marks 30 years since the initial recognition of the epidemic, offering an opportunity for activists, health care professionals, and historians to reflect on their experiences - considering what new perspective(s) history can offer. Talks will be held every Thursday at 6.15pm, from 6 October to 1 December. H&P partner and co-founder, Virginia Berridge, will be speaking on 20 October.

Find out more: AIDS@30

New policy paper released: Wine, supermarkets and British alcohol policy

11 January 2011

Recent concerns over cheap drink have put alcohol in the spotlight, with a debate over minimum unit pricing and a government commitment to ban its sale below cost price. James Nicholls, of Bath Spa University, looks at the history of alcohol sales by off-licenses and supermarkets - showing both how governments have changed the rules in the past and offering suggestions for doing so again.

Read the paper: Wine, supermarkets and British alcohol policy

The scandal of maternal death rates in history and policy

Opinion, 27 June 2010

In an article published by the Guardian online, H&P historian Graham Mooney of John Hopkins University queries the Prime Minister's claim that the Conservative-Liberal government of the mid-1930s ended the scandal of maternal death rates in Britain. He argues that a complex array of factors contributed to the decline in death rates and urges world leaders at the G8 and G20 summits to learn the real lessons from Britain's historical experience as they design policy for the developing world today.

Read the article.

MMR, autism and the history of medical controversies

Rapid response, 25 May 2010

Yesterday the General Medical Council ruled that Andrew Wakefield, the doctor who suggested a link between the MMR vaccine and autism, would be struck off the medical register. Exeter historian Matthew Smith puts the controversy in historical context in a rapid response for H&P: MMR, autism and the history of medical controversies.

Does health policy need history?

Article, March 2010

H&P co-founder Virginia Berridge discusses the use of history in health policymaking, in the Lancet. Read the article: Thinking in time: does health policy need history as evidence?

US healthcare reform

Article, March 2010

On Sunday evening, the US House of Representatives finally passed the healthcare reform bill by 219 votes to 212. In a recent article for 'History Today', H&P contributor Martin Gorsky outlines the history of the struggle for public healthcare in the US.

Read the article: Good Health for America?

American healthcare: historian sheds light on the debate

Interview, BBC World Service, 12 August 2009

As President Obama seeks to reform healthcare, H&P historian Geoffrey Rivett compares past and present health provision in the UK and the US, in an interview for the BBC World Service.

See also: Dr Rivett's NHS history website.

Feeding babies in the 21st century: Breast is still best, but for new reasons

New H&P paper, 24 July 2009

Professor Lawrence Weaver examines the history of infant feeding in a new paper: Feeding babies in the 21st Century: Breast is still best, but for new reasons

Read the news release [pdf file, 60KB]

Citizens not consumers: drawing lessons for public health practice

BBC Reith Lecture, Radio 4, 30 June 2009

Political philosopher Michael Sandel uses history to argue that we need to think of ourselves as citizens rather than consumers. You can listen to the lecture on the Radio 4 website, or read the transcript.

Abortion Act 1967

Select Committee, Wednesday 31 October 2007

The Science and Technology Committee report into the Abortion Act 1967 is published today. History & Policy submitted evidence from Lesley A. Hall of the Wellcome Library. Read the memorandum [pdf file, 58KB]. For further information on the committee see the parliament website .

The normalisation of binge-drinking?

Research, September 2007

The results of a historical and cross-cultural investigation of binge-drinking by History & Policy co-founder Virginia Berridge and colleagues have been published on the Alcohol Education Research Council website. Read the investigation report [pdf file, 570KB].

Binge-drinking: a recurring moral panic?

News Release, Monday 10 September 2007

A new History & Policy paper by Peter Borsay of Aberystwyth University argues that public and media concern about binge-drinking and the 'broken society' is not new and has a 250-year pedigree. In a comparison between modern-day binge-drinking and the 18th century Gin Craze, he argues binge-drinking may be a recurring moral panic that is resistant to quick-fix solutions. His paper has attracted coverage in the Observer, BBC online and the Western Mail. Read the news release [pdf file, 37KB].

Related paper: Binge-drinking and moral panics: historical parallels?.

Health policy dominated by historical clichés and folk histories

News release and article, Wednesday 20 June 2007

New research by History & Policy co-founder Virginia Berridge shows how health policymakers rely on historical clichés and NHS 'folk histories' to interpret the past and inform the present and historians need to do more to communicate their work to policy audiences. In an article for Guardian Society, Professor Berridge, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, argues health ministers should overcome their obsession with Nye Bevan and make better use of historians' research and expertise. Read the article on the Guardian Society website, or read the full research report. The report has also been published in Medical History [pdf, 120KB]. See also the news release.

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Migration and nationality

New policy paper: The return of the gangmaster

15 September 2011

As police claim to have exposed a case of 'virtual slavery' in Bedfordshire, Jeremy Burchardt and Philip Conford look at the experience of the nineteenth century - and argue that, without the right rules and co-operation across borders, gangs and gangmasters will continue to flourish.

Read the paper: The return of the gangmaster

New policy paper: Immigration and the National Health Service: putting history to the forefront

30 March 2011

The Coalition Government is planning to restrict immigration to the UK through capping non-EU immigrants and to introduce more stringent controls for highly skilled migrants. But this cuts across a long history of recruitment of overseas health workers. Stephanie Snow and Emma Jones, of the Centre for the History of Science, Technology & Medicine at University of Manchester, look at policy since the 1930s and at the experience of health workers - with major implications for how Britain organises its migration policy when dealing with the NHS.

Read the paper: New policy paper: Immigration and the National Health Service: putting history to the forefront

New policy paper: What Does It Mean To Be British? Belfast and Liverpool's Experiences of Adaptation and Reaction, 1880-1921

28 March 2011

Whether in Northern Ireland or elsewhere in the UK, British identity is highly contested. This phenomenon is not new: and politicians in London have had to adapt to local and national divisions for a long time. Gareth Jenkins, of the Open University, considers the experiences of Belfast and Liverpool between 1880-1921 and their implications - both for local communities and for Westminster.

Read the paper: What Does It Mean To Be British? Belfast and Liverpool's Experiences of Adaptation and Reaction, 1880-1921

'Multicultural' London seminar, The British Academy in association with History and Policy

October 2010

In the latest issue of the British Academy Review, Pat Thane reports on a forum held in June on the history of multiculturalism in London and the possible lessons for policy-makers.

The report can be read here.

Multicultural London: Past, present and future

H&P discussion, 2 July 2009, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

H&P's session at this year's Anglo-American Conference of Historians on Cities took place on Thursday 2 July. A respected panel of experts explored 'Multicultural London: Past, present and future'. Speakers: Rob Berkeley (Director of the Runnymede Trust), Jerry White, (H&P contributor, Visiting Professor at Birkbeck, University of London, and Local Government Ombudsman) and Kate Gavron (Trustee of the Young Foundation and co-author of The New East End. Kinship, Race and Conflict). The discussion will be chaired by Wesley Kerr (broadcast journalist and Chair of Heritage Lottery Fund's Committee for London).

Is fascism on the march again?

Guardian, 9 June 2009

Historians Michael Burleigh, Richard Overy, Kathleen Burk, Eric Hobsbawm, Joanna Bourke, David Kynaston, Norman Davies and David Stevenson discuss whether fascism could rise again, in an article for the Guardian.

Multicultural London: Past, present and future

H&P session at Anglo-American Conference announced, 29 April 2009

H&P is pleased to announce details of its session at this year's Anglo-American Conference of Historians on Cities. H&P's session will take place on Thursday 2 July from 4.45 to 6.00pm when a respected panel of experts will explore 'Multicultural London: Past, present and future'. Rob Berkley, Director of the Runnymede Trust, will chair a discussion between H&P contributor and Local Government Ombudsman Jerry White, Kate Gavron, Trustee of the Young Foundation and co-author of The New East End. Kinship, Race and Conflict and Simon Woolley, founder of Operation Black Vote.

Registration for the Anglo-American Conference is now open, click here for details. Subscribers to the H&P Newsletter can attend the Multicultural London session free of charge, please contact Ruth Evans to register. To subscribe to H&P's newsletter click here.

Island dreams

Archive Hour, Radio 4, 8pm, Saturday 14 February 2009 and 3pm, Monday 16 February 2009

H&P historian Robert Colls contributes to 'Island Dreams', poet Gwyneth Lewis' programme exploring the idea of the island and island life, and the ways in which it continues to capture the British imagination.

NHS and social care

'Fraudulent' disability in historical perspective

14 February 2012

As the government battles with the House of Lords over the Welfare Reform Bill, historian David M. Turner of Swansea University explores a centuries-old debate over definitions of disability and entitlement to welfare support.

Read David Turner's H&P paper: 'Fraudulent' disability in historical perspective

Read BBC Wales interview with David Turner

New policy paper: The care of older people in Japan: myths and realities of family 'care'

23 June 2011

Japan has a longstanding reputation for family care and for respecting and looking after older people: but in relying on those cultural norms, its government entrenched serious failings in care - for older people and their families. Mayumi Hayashi looks at the Japanese experience - and the implications for English social care.

Read the piece: The care of older people in Japan: myths and realities of family 'care'

New policy paper: Immigration and the National Health Service: putting history to the forefront

30 March 2011

The Coalition Government is planning to restrict immigration to the UK through capping non-EU immigrants and to introduce more stringent controls for highly skilled migrants. But this cuts across a long history of recruitment of overseas health workers. Stephanie Snow and Emma Jones, of the Centre for the History of Science, Technology & Medicine at University of Manchester, look at policy since the 1930s and at the experience of health workers - with major implications for how Britain organises its migration policy when dealing with the NHS.

Read the paper: New policy paper: Immigration and the National Health Service: putting history to the forefront

New policy paper released: Coalition policy towards the NHS: past contexts and current trajectories

28 January 2011

With the recent introduction of the Health and Social Care Bill, NHS reform is at the top of the political agenda. Martin Gorsky, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, looks at the history of NHS reform, assesses the Coalition's proposals against past governments' policies and considers what we can learn for the future.

Read the paper: Coalition policy towards the NHS: past contexts and current trajectories

Does health policy need history?

Article, March 2010

H&P co-founder Virginia Berridge discusses the use of history in health policymaking, in the Lancet. Read the article: Thinking in time: does health policy need history as evidence?

Social Care

Select Committee, 12 March 2010

The House of Commons' Health Committee report on social care, published Friday 12 March, made special mention of the historical overview provided by H&P co-founder Pat Thane. The memorandum explains the history of financing health and social care and argues that the post-1948 separation of health from social care continues to cause problems.

Read Pat Thane's memorandum.

The most influential people in NHS history

Votes are in!

In the run up to the 60th anniversary of the NHS, the Health Service Journal asked readers to vote on the five most influential people in NHS history. H&P founder Virginia Berridge helped with the judging process. The votes are now in and the top five are; Aneurin Bevan, William Beveridge/All NHS staff (joint second), David Lloyd George, Roy Griffiths and All NHS patients. To see who else made the poll, and for more articles on NHS history, go to the Health Service Journal's website.

Polyclinics: haven't we been there before?

Article, Friday 23 May 2008

History & Policy co-founder Virginia Berridge says that government proposals for polyclinics have been tried before, in an article published simultaneously by the British Medical Journal and the London Journal of Primary Care. To read the article, click here [pdf file, 114KB].

NHS policy-makers lack medical advice

Media coverage, Wednesday 21 May 2008

Sally Sheard's History & Policy paper on Doctors in Whitehall was discussed in Society Guardian. To read the article please go to the Guardian website.

The Origins of the NHS

Recorded Lecture, 14 April 2008

Virginia Berridge recently gave a Gresham College lecture on 'Safeguarding London's Health - The Origins of the National Health Service', discussing whether the NHS was created through consensus or conflict. You can watch her lecture or read a transcript by visiting the Gresham College website.

Public and patient involvement in the NHS

Select Committee, January 2007

History & Policy contributor Martin Gorsky has submitted a memorandum to the House of Commons Health Committee inquiry into Patient and Public Involvement in the NHS. Read his submission [pdf file, 113KB]. For further information about the inquiry see the parliament website.

Related paper: Hospital governance and community involvement in Britain: evidence from before the National Health Service.

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Pensions and ageing

Baby Boomers not to blame says historian

Interview, 21 June 2010

H&P co-founder Pat Thane was interviewed for BBC Radio 4's Analysis programme 'Baby Boomers on Trial', which examines the idea that the generation born during the postwar boom have 'squandered the inheritance their prudent parents left them and [left] little behind for their own children'. Hear the programme: Baby Boomers on Trial.

Historical definitions of old age

Interview, 22 January 2010

H&P co-founder Pat Thane discusses the historical development of 'old age' in an interview with Chris Bowlby for BBC Radio 4's More or Less. She argues that the concept of 'old age' emerged in the 20th century alongside the development of pensions and retirement, whereas in the past, perceptions of an individual's age were based on their ability to carry on an active life.

To listen to the interview, go to the More or Less website. See also, Pat Thane's interview for the monthly H&P feature in BBC History magazine.

H&P contributes to select committee inquiry on social care

Select committee, 3 December 2009

In evidence submitted to the House of Commons' Health Committee inquiry into social care, H&P co-founder Professor Pat Thane explains the history of financing health and social care and argues that the post-1948 separation of health from social care continues to cause problems.

Read Pat Thane's memorandum. [pdf file, 109KB]

For more information about the committee's inquiry, see the UK parliament website.

Latest H&P - BBC History Magazine article online

Feature, 2 November 2009

The latest article from H&P's collaborative series with BBC History Magazine is available online now. Pat Thane challenges the perception of a golden age of retirement in Changing times: Was there ever a golden age of retirement? Other articles can be found in our BBC History section.

Spinsters

Interview, Radio 4, 3 March 2009

Hear H&P historian Kath Holden on singleness and spinsterhood in 'From Jean Brodie to Carrie Bradshaw', Ann Widdecombe's programme investigating the idea of the spinster. You can listen to the programme on BBC iPlayer.

The facts of old age

Society Guardian

Read H&P founder Pat Thane's letter to Society Guardian, correcting the historical facts of old age.

100 years of state pensions

Interview, 31 July 2008

H&P founder Pat Thane was interviewed on the BBC news website today, discussing the The Old Age Pensions Act which was passed in August 1908.

Age perceptions

Interview, Monday 4 December 2006

In an interview on BBC Radio 4's More or Less, Pat Thane of the Centre for Contemporary British History argues that the age milestones that previously defined the stages of life, such as middle-age at 40 and old age at 60, have shifted as health improves and we live longer. To listen to the discussion go the the BBC website.

Related paper: The work-life balance in an ageing society.

Britain's pensions crisis

Interview, Monday 23 October 2006

Co-editor Noel Whiteside and Pensions Minister James Purnell discuss whether the pensions white paper repeats the mistakes of the past on BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour.

Britain's pensions crisis: history and policy

News release, Wednesday 18 October 2006

A new collection of essays examining the past, present and future of British pensions is now available. Contributors include Frank Field MP, Professor John Hills and Baroness Hollis. The book is edited by History and Policy contributors Hugh Pemberton, Pat Thane and Noel Whiteside and is an OUP publication for the British Academy. Read the news release [pdf file, 39KB]. For full details of the essay collection, see the OUP website.

If this is pensions reform, then we should go back to the drawing board, Mr Brown

Article, Sunday 1 October 2006

Noel Whiteside, Warwick University, argues that the government's 'pension reform' proposals have ended up as a mess - particularly for women. Read Noel Whiteside's article [pdf file, 44KB]. Tha article was first published in Parliamentary Brief magazine.

Government's 'smoke and mirrors' conceals pensions cut

News release, Thursday 15 June 2006

Noel Whiteside, Warwick University, unpicks the pensions White Paper. Read the full news release [pdf file, 30KB]. History & Policy has also made a submission to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee inquiry on pension reform. Read the submission [pdf file, 136KB].

Related paper: In search of security: earnings-related pensions in Britain and Europe.

Blair must not repeat Attlee's pensions mistake

Article, Wednesday 24 May 2006

Pat Thane, Centre for Contemporary British History, anticipates the government's White Paper on pensions reform. Read Pat Thane's article [pdf file, 25KB]. Article first published in the Financial Times.

Historians warn government against more fudged pensions 'reforms'

News release, Tuesday 4 April 2006

Hugh Pemberton, Bristol University, and Pat Thane, Centre for Contemporary British History, argue that 20th century governments missed opportunities to achieve lasting pensions reform about once every decade. Read their article [pdf file, 25KB].

Related papers: Politics and pensions in post-war Britain and The 'scandal' of women's pensions in Britain: how did it come about?

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Policing and emergency services

What's a 'back office' for? The case of policing

Opinion, 22 June 2010

Police historian Chris A. Williams examines the role of 'back office' staff in the police, explaining why they were introduced and what could happen if cuts go too far. Read the article.

Scrapping the police 'stop' form

Opinion, 24 May 2010

Police historian James Whitfield considers the new government's plans to reduce the burden of 'stop and search' procedures, and scrap the 'stop' form, outlining implications for the public.

Read his article: Scrapping the police 'stop' form. See also:

Met police training still ignores Black history - historian warns on 30th anniversary of Notting Hill Carnival riots

News release, Saturday 26 August 2006

Read the news release [pdf file, 36KB].

Related paper: Policing the Windrush Generation by James Whitfield, Open University.

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Political institutions and ideas

Not protest but direct action: anarchism past and present

7 March 2012

Greater understanding of anarchism is vital at a time when, according to David Goodway, Britain has a greater number of conscious anarchists than previously, with many others thinking and behaving in significantly anarchist ways.

Read David Goodway's policy paper: Not protest but direct action: anarchism past and present

H&P event: Not protest but direct action: anarchism past and present

7 March 2012

Britain has a greater number of conscious anarchists than ever before, according to historian David Goodway, who argues for greater understanding of anarchism's history and philosophy. The panel discussion also features Carl Levy, Reader in European Politics at Goldsmiths, Ruth Kinna, Professor of Political Theory at Loughborough and Kit Kazarinov, an MPhil student in Philosophy at King's College London.

The event, which sees the launch of Goodway's new H&P policy paper, takes place 6-7.30pm in K2.31, 2/fl, King's Building, Strand Campus, King's College. Entry is free on a first come, first served basis.

Edinburgh v. Westminster: what about the rest of the UK?

7 February 2012

In the decision about Scottish independence, who has a say? The Scottish people, clearly. But what about the democratic rights of the rest of the UK? Naomi Lloyd-Jones considers the history of Irish and Scottish Home Rule.

Read Naomi Lloyd-Jones' opinion piece: Edinburgh v. Westminster: what about the rest of the UK?

Deprivation of Honours: a brief history

3 February 2012

The royal prerogative of granting honours is well known, the right of deprivation less so. Ann Lyon considers the history in light of Fred Goodwin's experience.

Read Ann Lyon's opinion piece: Deprivation of Honours: a brief history

History & Policy helps historians to the heart of government

2 February 2012

Historians from the H&P Network have been delving behind the famous front door of Number 10 Downing Street to bring to life the fascinating history of the house in a dynamic new history section for the Number 10 website. Lively new biographies of previous Prime Ministers, an exciting monthly feature by expert historians and fresh content on the history of Downing Street itself are among the features launched today. H&P will be working with Number 10 throughout 2012 to publish more new material.

For the full story, read the H&P news release

Read Andrew Blick and George Jones' articles on: The Cabinet Secretary: a tale of three roles and The Institution of Prime Minister

Read Kevin Theakston's article on: Former Prime Ministers

Scroll through the past Prime Ministers section to read Andrew Thompson's new biography of Robert Walpole.

Royal impressions

20 January 2012

At the start of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year, Matthew Glencross reflects on the public image British monarchs liked to project and how the royal yacht, which may yet be revived, contributed to that process.

Read Matthew Glencross' opinion pieces: The image of a modern monarchy, past and present

and: All aboard! Return of the royal yacht?

What are they up to? Cameron's political strategy in historical perspective

12 January 2012

What is the likelihood of the Conservatives winning the 2015 general election in a climate of austerity? In a new H&P opinion piece, Ben Jackson of Oxford University puts this question into historical context, arguing that David Cameron's political strategy owes more to Stanley Baldwin than to Harold Macmillan or Margaret Thatcher, who he is more often compared with. Ben is the author, with Labour MP and historian Gregg McClymont, of a recent pamphlet published by Policy Network, Cameron's Trap: Lessons for Labour from the 1930s and 1980s, which will be launched in the House of Commons on 16 January 2012.

Read Ben Jackson's opinion piece: What are they up to? Cameron's political strategy in historical perspective

Click here to find out about the Policy Network event

See also: How to talk about redistribution: a historical perspective

History & Policy partner Pat Thane on BBC Radio 4's Analysis

7 November 2011

Pat Thane put the case for the impact of collective action - the environmental or feminist movements, for example - in R4's Analysis: Do leaders make a difference? The programme explored the tendency to over-attribute power to leaders, the 'movers and shakers' in business or politics. But what is the role of global forces, trends and events; and collective action and attitudes in bringing about change?

Listen: Do Leaders Make a Difference?

New opinion piece: Fixing the General Election date

20 October 2011

The timing of elections to the Commons has been fought over by monarchs, parliaments and governments for a very long time. Robert Blackburn looks at how Britain's arrangements have evolved and analyses the Coalition's new model.

Read the piece: Fixing the General Election date

New opinion piece: Unionist secession? Scottish Tories looking for a role

14 September 2011

As Murdo Fraser promises to replace the Scottish Tories with a new party if he becomes their leader, David Torrance looks at the days when the Scottish Unionist Party fought the right's corner - and asks what the lessons are for the future.

Read the piece: Unionist secession? Scottish Tories looking for a role

New policy paper: 'The new politics': parliamentary lobbying, public procurement and political reform

9 September 2011

The current government talks of a 'new politics', but the relationship between governments, lobbyists and commerce remains controversial. Craig Paterson looks at a case study where corporate influence, political agendas and untried technology came together - with lessons for transparency today.

Read the paper: 'The new politics': parliamentary lobbying, public procurement and political reform

New opinion piece: Everyone loves a Lord? Reforming the second chamber is easier said than done

20 May 2011

Following the release of the Coalition's draft Bill and White Paper on reforming the House of Lords, Andrew Blick looks at the precedents for trying to create a new second chamber. Will Nick Clegg's plans receive a fair wind? Andrew warns of the obstacles - and suggests that a new second chamber could behave in a new way in future.

Read the piece: Everyone loves a Lord? Reforming the second chamber is easier said than done

New opinion piece: Counting up Down Under: AV and Australia

5 May 2011

Today, the people of Britain have a vote on whether to change the way they choose their MPs. But what can they learn from the experience of their Australian cousins - past and present? David Meredith takes a look.

Read the piece: Counting up Down Under: AV and Australia

New opinion piece: Royal pomp and middle class circumstance: monarchy, marriage and mores from Caroline to Kate

28 April 2011

On the day before the Royal Wedding, Britain prepares to take an extra day off: but at a time when the middle classes are uneasy about their jobs, incomes and status, Royal occasions can act as a catalyst for debate. David Nash looks at how, in the nineteenth century, the middle classes defined their values against the conduct of their monarchy - and then remoulded it in their own image.

Read the piece: Royal pomp and middle class circumstance: monarchy, marriage and mores from Caroline to Kate

New opinion piece: Royal brides: a class act?

28 April 2011

Kate Middleton is the latest in a very long series of royal brides. Ann Lyon, of Plymouth Law School, takes a look at previous royal marriages in her second piece looking at the monarchy as the Royal Wedding approaches - and the shifting roles of royal spouses.

Read the piece: Royal brides: a class act?

New opinion piece: All at sea with no biscuit? Duchy Originals, female heirs and the British throne

26 April 2011

Britain's succession laws are often seen as an inexplicable anachronism - easy to change and overdue for reform. But are things quite so simple? Ann Lyon, of Plymouth Law School, looks at the story behind the old rules - and points out a complication or two along the way.

Read the piece: All at sea with no biscuit? Duchy Originals, female heirs and the British throne

New policy paper: Redrawing the boundaries of British democracy? Census data and the Great Reform Act, 1832-2011

28 March 2011

As our census returns are sent on their way, Stephen Thompson of the University of Cambridge looks at the role it played in the struggle for a reformed Parliament. He questions whether state information has been used to control us or to let us hold power to account - and argues that the census is an important check in our democratic system.

Read the paper: Redrawing the boundaries of British democracy? Census data and the Great Reform Act, 1832-2011

Give history a fair hearing in the AV debate, say historians

22 March 2011

67 historians, many of them H&P members, signed a letter to The Times (18 March) on the misuses of history in the AV debate, in response to a previous letter by 29 historians. This inspired Anuksha Asthana, of The Times, to write a new story. OpenDemocracy editor, Daniel MacArthur-Seal, one of the signatories, explains the rationale in a commentary. 'The object of our response,' writes Daniel, 'is to show that history and historians are not one block legion to be commanded by he with the loudest voice. Rather, we wanted to remind people that no-one represents the force that is history, and to take individuals' arguments on their merits, not their allusions to the canon of what Michael Gove sees as our glorious "island story"'.

Opinion piece by Steven Fielding: 'If you liked it then you should've put a ring on it'

18 March 2011

According to Ed Miliband at the launch of Labour Yes, support for change is in his party's lifeblood and has been for decades. But does the claim stack up, or has Labour's support for reform been less consistent than its leader claims? Steven Fielding looks at the evidence.

If you liked it then you should've put a ring on it

New policy paper: Historians in post-conflict societies: Northern Ireland after the Troubles

28 March 2011

The Northern Ireland conflict is overshadowed by powerful, contradictory narratives of why it happened and who the victims were. Those narratives are often deeply loaded - and governments, politicians and communities, in responding to the history of the Troubles, bring their own agendas to bear. Cillian McGrattan, of the University of Ulster, considers perspectives on the conflict and points to a role for historians in holding them to account.

Read the paper: Historians in post-conflict societies: Northern Ireland after the Troubles

New policy paper released: Electoral reform dilemmas: are single-member constituencies out of date?

18 February 2011

As the Parliamentary Voting and Constituencies Act passes Parliament and campaigning for the AV referendum gears up, electoral reform is centre stage. Both campaigns focus on the importance of the single-member constituency. But is it really a hallowed tradition of British democracy? Matthew Roberts, of Sheffield Hallam University, debunks the myth - and looks at the implications of the real story for the future.

Read the paper: Electoral reform dilemmas: are single-member constituencies out of date?

Opinion piece by Greg Rosen: 'Why Labour is the people's party'

4 February 2011

Following from Ed Miliband's speech last month claiming 'people power' for Labour, is Labour's history the story of a party of the big state? Or does it have another tradition which has been overlooked? Greg Rosen, of Goldsmiths in London, takes a look at the history and suggests some lessons for the future.

Why Labour is the people's party

Progress or regress?

6 December 2010

'Progressivism' has been something of a slippery term in British political discourse. Emily Robinson, of the University of East Anglia, considers Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg's distinction between 'new progressives' and 'old progressives'.

What's new about Clegg's 'new progressivism'?

Lessons from Victorian information policy

H&P paper, 30 June 2010

In a new H&P paper, Toni Weller of De Montfort University traces the development of information policy in the UK since the nineteenth century. She argues that current government plans to roll back the 'information state' would benefit from an understanding of decentralised Victorian approaches to information policy.

Read the paper: The Victorian information age: nineteenth century answers to today's information policy questions?.

The power of the Prime Minister

H&P Paper, 9 June 2010

Andrew Blick and George Jones examine the idea that the Prime Minister's personal power has increased in recent years. They question the evidence that a UK 'presidency' has developed and explore the implications for the coalition government.

Read the paper: The power of the Prime Minister

History of coalition governments

Interview, 28 May 2010

H&P historian Steven Fielding was interviewed about the history of coalition governments on the BBC News programme 'The Record Review'. You can watch the programme on the BBC website.

Summer reading list for MPs

Interview, 22 May 2010

H&P historian Sarah Richardson and Lord Hurd, former foreign secretary, advise MPs on some historical reading matter in an interview on the Today programme.

Nick Clegg and the not-so-great 1832 Reform Act

Opinion, 20 May 2010

Two historians in the H&P Network have responded to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg's use of the 1832 Reform Act in his speech on political reform, which was widely reported without question by the national media. Steven Fielding of Nottingham University reminds us what the Reform Act of 1832 achieved, and why it was an unfortunate parallel to choose. Sarah Richardson of Warwick University explains why Clegg's references to 1832 were bad history.

Read Steven Fielding's article.

Read Sarah Richardson's comment.

There were also examples of 'good history' in some media coverage of the speech, including David Aaronovitch's comment in The Times, and Ben Wright's feature for BBC online.

What next for Gordon Brown?

Paper, 19 May 2010

Kevin Theakston looks at what former Prime Ministers have done after leaving office, and gives some advice for Gordon Brown.

Read the paper What next for Gordon Brown?

Read Prof Theakston's opinion article in the Yorkshire Post: Brown begins his adventures in the afterlife.

Read the press release [pdf file, 46KB].

If Cameron is the new Baldwin, where does this leave Clegg?

Opinion, 19 May 2010

Steven Fielding explores historical precedents for the Liberal Democrat - Conservative coalition, comparing David Cameron with Stanley Baldwin. Read his article.

Is it time to let government advisers out of their cage?

Feature, April 2010

Reflecting on the sacking of David Nutt, a government adviser on drugs policy, Chris Bowlby talks to David Edgerton about the changing relationship between politicians and scientists. 'Changing times: Is it time to let government advisers out of their cage'? is the latest article in H&P's collaborative series with BBC History Magazine. Other articles can be found in our BBC History section.

Treat TV biopics with caution

Opinion article, 8 February 2010

Steven Fielding looks at Channel 4's portrait of Mo Mowlam and explores how the recent crop of political biopics are not only historically inaccurate but potentially harmful to civic culture.

Read Steven Fielding's article, 'Recreating our political history'.

Latest H&P - BBC History Magazine article online

Feature, 20 January 2010

The latest article from H&P's collaborative series with BBC History Magazine is available online now. Dr Jon Lawrence warns against romanticising the spontaneity of 18th century hustings. He argues that public outrange at MP's expenses in 2009 produced scenes as tumultuous as anything in the days of the hustings Changing times: Have we lost the 'spirit of the hustings'? Other articles can be found in our BBC History section.

More Baldwin than Blair: The Conservative Party's latest posters

Opinion article, 12 January 2010

Why does a huge image of David Cameron dominate the Conservative's new election poster? In this article, Christopher Burgess examines the tradition of leadership marketing in British politics.

Read Christopher Burgess's article, 'Posters in history'.

Call to reform House of Lords and elect monarchy - or risk revolution

H&P paper, 27 November 2009

In a new H&P paper published today, Professor Iain McLean of Oxford University warns politicians that the UK could be at risk of a constitutional crisis as serious as that of 1909-14 if reform is not prioritised. Ahead of the centenary on Monday of the House of Lords' rejection of David Lloyd George's 'People's Budget', Professor McLean examines the constitutional crisis that followed and the legacy it has left for Britain's unwritten constitution.

Read the paper, The 1909 budget and the destruction of the unwritten British Constitution.

Read the press release.

H&P's Network of Historians respond to the Queen's speech

Rapid response, 18 November 2009

Historians in the H&P Network offer a rapid response to the announcements in today's Queen's speech:

  • Historian and former civil servant Geoffrey Rivett welcomes moves to create a National Care Service, but warns that today's proposals could be 'robbing Peter to pay Paul'.
  • Dr Mark Roodhouse of the University of York warns that cutting the bureaucracy associated with police stop and search powers could be a backwards step.
  • Dr John Welshman of Lancaster University evaluates the government's plans to enshrine in law its target to eradicate child poverty by 2020.
  • Ann Lyon of the University of Plymouth talks of the gap in the law relating to the Constitutional Renewal Bill

You can read their responses on our opinion page.

If you are a journalist and would like to speak to a historian, please contact us.

The case for historical advisers in government

Opinion article, 29 October 2009

Writing exclusively for History & Policy, Yoav J. Tenembaum of Tel Aviv University argues the case for Presidents and Prime Ministers to appoint historical advisers. He argues that historians have a unique perspective to bring to the business of governing democratic states and could help overcome politicians' historical illiteracy.

Read Dr Tenembaum's article, The case for historical advisers in government.

Open public primaries

New opinion article, 12 August 2009

After calling for parliamentary candidates to be selected in open public primaries, Cambridge historian Dr Jon Lawrence welcomes recent moves towards this system in a new opinion article. He suggests that open primaries should be introduced as part of a wider process of political reform, and argues that there should be more opportunities for the public to question party leaders during elections.

Read Jon Lawrence's article: Open public primaries

Read his H&P paper: The hustings, broadcasters and the future of British democracy.

Death of a speaker

Opinion, 19 June 2009

Ahead of the election of a new Speaker of the House of Commons on Monday, Ann Lyon of Plymouth University questions whether our obsession with the gruesome demise of Speakers-past really holds any lessons for today?

Read her article on the H&P opinion page.

Lessons from ancient Greece

Radio 4 Today programme, 8 June 2009, 6:54am

H&P contributor Paul Cartledge, Professor of Greek History at the University of Cambridge, discusses the trial of Socrates and the lessons for democracy, in an interview on Radio 4's Today programme. You can hear the interview on the Today programme website.

You can also read Professor Cartledge's H&P paper, Ostracism: selection and de-selection in ancient Greece.

Historian calls for measures to revive democracy

New H&P paper, 27 May 2009

In a new H&P paper, The hustings, broadcasters and the future of British democracy, Jon Lawrence of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, explores the decline of face-to-face interaction between the public and politicians and discusses how British democracy might be revived. He calls for a reinvention of the traditional hustings and the introduction of public 'primaries' to capitalise on the strength of feeling aroused by the MPs' expenses scandal.

Read the news release [pdf file, 59KB]

Click here to listen to Dr Lawrence's interview on BBC Radio 4's Westminster Hour on Sunday, 24 May. The second part of the interview will air on Sunday, 31 May.

See also Dr Lawrence's blog on the OUP website.

Historian explores lessons of the 1930s for British democracy

Opinion, 26 May 2009

In an article for The Times, Professor Richard Overy of the University of Exeter describes how the economic crisis of the 1930s also provoked growing disillusionment with party politics and the role of Parliament. He warns of the dangers of 'backstairs fascism' and calls for a return to the traditions of democratic participation and protest.

Click here to read Professor Overy's article.

H&P historian discusses MPs expenses

Opinion, 18 May 2009

Greg Rosen of Goldsmiths University of London, dispels the myth of a golden age of honest politicians, and reminds us why MPs were paid in the first place.

Read Greg's comment on the H&P opinion page, and his column for The Scotsman [pdf file, 44KB].

H&P historian discusses the lessons of Thatcher's rise

Opinion, 5 May 2009

Richard Toye of Exeter University reflects on Thatcher's rise on the 30th anniversary of the 1979 election:

"Of the two main parties that fought the 1979 general election, one took a tough line with the unions in a bid to keep down inflation, and the other promised inflationary public sector wage increases in an attempt to buy social peace..."

You can read the full comment on the H&P opinion page. Richard Toye is quoted by William Keegan in the Observer: If Tories want to sail into No 10, they'd do well to study history.

David Cannadine advises: halve the 30 year rule on release of government records

News coverage, 30 January 2009

Confidential government papers should be released after 15 years instead of the current 30, according to an official review by H&P adviser David Cannadine. Professor Sir Cannadine worked with Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail, and Sir Joseph Pilling, a senior civil servant, on a review of the '30 year rule' that was commissioned by Gordon Brown. They found that Britain now has one of the less liberal access policies in Europe and recommend halving the amount of time government records can be kept secret. The recommendation has received widespread media coverage, including articles in the Guardian (see also the editorial and related article on Freedom of Information), The Times, the Telegraph, the Independent, the Daily Mail, the Civil Service Network, the Evening Standard and BBC Online.

Obama claims Lincoln's inheritance

Report, Channel 4 News, 19 January 2009

As Barack Obama is sworn in as U.S. President, commentators discuss his claim on Abraham Lincoln's inheritance and make comparisons with other U.S. Presidents. See the Channel 4 news report which features an interview with historian Doris Kearns-Goodwin, who was consulted by Obama on the lessons from Lincoln's presidency.

Related article: David Reynolds discusses past inaugurations and the echoes of Lincoln and Roosevelt in Obama's leadership, on the BBC news website.

History shows how to talk about redistribution without scaring voters

Article, 30 September 2008

In an article for Compass, Ben Jackson shows how left-wing leaders could make a case for redistribution.

History shows how to talk about redistribution without scaring voters

News release, 19 September 2008

Ben Jackson's new History & Policy paper shows how politicians can talk about economic redistribution without scaring voters, by drawing on the speeches of progressive leaders of the past. Read the news release [pdf file, 51KB].

Related paper How to talk about redistribution: a historical perspective.

Options for Britain II

New policy review

History & Policy is contibuting to Options for Britain II which will conduct an overarching review of UK economic, social and constitutional policy, by marshalling the best expertise from across the academic and policy-research community. It is indended to help inform the public and key commentators, and to provide a source of ideas for incoming policy-makers.

What does Brown have in store for Britain?

Article, Monday 25 June 2007

As Gordon Brown prepares to take over as Prime Minister, History & Policy contributor Andrew Blick discusses the likelihood he will deliver on his pledge to change the style of government and decentralise power away from Downing Street. Read his article 'So what now has "Big Bang" Brown got in store for Britain?' in Parliamentary Brief magazine.

See also The 'Department of the Prime Minister' should it continue?

Brown urged to abolish 'Department of the Prime Minister'

News release, Monday 11 June 2007

A new History & Policy paper by George Jones and Andrew Blick urges Gordon Brown to abolish Tony Blair's 'Department of the Prime Minister' and establish a contrasting and more collective style of government. They offer five lessons from history to guide Brown around the pitfalls of power. Read the news release [pdf file, 35KB]. The paper was also covered in The Times.

Related paper: The 'Department of the Prime Minister' - should it continue?

Sarkozy is no Thatcher

Media coverage, 31 May 2007

History & Policy's latest contributor, Robert Tombs, is well-established as a commentator on French politics. Prior to the French elections he gave a number of interviews, to Agence France Press, The Sunday Herald, and BBC Radio 4's Analysis.

Related paper: Nicolas Sarkozy and France, May 2007: a historical perspective.

The art of political writing

Interview, 25 April 2007

Peter Hennessy and Bernard Crick discuss the art of political writing and how effectively historians and political scientists communicate their work to non-academic audiences. To listen to the discussion, go the the BBC Radio 4 website.

How Blair will be remembered

Article, 10 May 2007

As Tony Blair announced he was standing down as leader of the Labour Party and Prime Minister, The Guardian asked historians for their verdict on his ten years in power. Read their responses on The Guardian website.

The 1945 Labour government revisited

Interview, Monday 11 December 2006

In this edition of The Things We Forgot to Remember, Michael Portillo revisits the reputation of Clement Attlee's government and explores some of the myths about its radicalism and welfare policies. Participants include History & Policy contributor Martin Gorsky and Centre for Contemporary British History Committee member David Edgerton. Listen to the discussion on the BBC Radio 4 website.

Related paper: Hospital governance and community involvement in Britain: evidence from before the National Health Service.

The long goodbye

Article, Sunday 17 September 2006

Tony Blair isn't the first prime minister to find it difficult to make a successful exit from 10 Downing Street argues David Cannadine of the Centre for Contemporary British History, on BBC Radio 4's A Point of View.

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Religion

H&P historian on relations between the Vatican and Jews

Guardian, 13 May 2009

H&P contributor David Cesarani of Royal Holloway, University of London, discusses the history of relations between the Vatican and Jews in a comment article for the Guardian.

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Science and technology

Liberal manoeuvring in the real green economy

29 February 2012

As the Liberal Democrats finalise their new science policy, William Burns and Michael Weatherburn argue that the party could learn much from the Liberal Party's promotion of agricultural science during the inter-war years.

Read Burns and Weatherburn's opinion piece: Liberal Manoeuvring in the Real Green Economy

The 'Haldane Principle' and other invented traditions in science policy

New H&P paper, 22 July 2009

Professor David Edgerton debunks the 'invented traditions' that have distorted government science policy, ahead of the publication of the Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills select committee report, Putting science and engineering at the heart of government policy, released today.

Read the paper: The 'Haldane Principle' and other invented traditions in science policy

Read the news release [pdf file, 60KB]

See also press coverage in Times Higher Education.

There is no Haldane principle and never has been

Historian gives evidence at Select Committee hearing, 16 March 2009

Professor David Edgerton told an Innovation, Universities and Skills Select Committee hearing that "there is no Haldane principle and never has been". H&P Network member Professor Edgerton argued that politicians and policymakers are mistaken in their belief that a 'Haldane principle' has guided government funding for science, ensuring the independence of research from political interference. He explained how the myth was propagated by Lord Hailsham in 1964 for political reasons and remains prevalent today. Professor Edgerton is Hans Rausing Professor of the History of Science and Technology at Imperial College London. To read his evidence in full, visit the IUSS committee website. A video of the session is available on the Parliament Live website.

Professor Edgerton will be delivering the Royal Society Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Prize Lecture on Monday, 20 April. For more information visit the Royal Society website.

H&P recommended in IUSS select committee meeting

Evidence session on 'Putting science and engineering at the heart of government policy', 25 February 2009

Baroness Onora O'Neill, President of the British Academy, recommended H&P as a way of improving evidence based policymaking in a session with the Innovations, Universities, Science and Skills Committee. She said that many departments in Whitehall do not always have a good memory of past policy initiatives, and historians could remedy this problem by showing what worked in the past and what did not work. To read the transcript of this session please go to the IUSS committee website. A video of the session is available on the Parliament Live website (Baroness O'Neill's discussion of H&P is at 01:51:55).

Lessons from history

Article, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, January 2009

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology considers how history could help to inform decisions on key scientific and technological policy issues, in an article in the POST notes series. The H&P network is highlighted as a means of improving communication between historians and policymakers. It includes a case study of historian Abigail Wood's involvement in the Foot and Mouth debate and draws on Virginia Berridge's H&P research on the use of history in health policymaking. To read the article please go to the POST website [pdf, 157KB].

Myths influencing science policy?

Article, 23 October 2008

Historian David Edgerton examines the role of science and innovation in national economic development in an article for Nature magazine. He argues that myths about past technological revolutions should not influence science policy. If you are a Nature subscriber or an athens user you can read the article on the Nature website.

The shock of the old

Interview, January 2007

In his new book The Shock of the Old: Technology in Global History Since 1900 David Edgerton of Imperial College, London argues that new technology is not always the best technology and revisits seminal inventions ranging from the rickshaw to the Pill. For more details, see his interviews with Education Guardian and BBC Radio 4's Today Programme. His book is published by Profile Books in January 2007, for further details see the Profile Books website. For further details of the launch event, hosted by Demos, see the Demos website.

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Sport

Take your marks... how government sport policy got up and running

23 February 2012

When did government sport policy get off the mark in Britain? In a talk at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, historian Kevin Jefferys of Plymouth University revealed it was as late as 1966, when Harold Wilson held the football World Cup aloft and became the first Prime Minister to tap into the electoral significance of sport. Professor Jefferys explored the contrasts between London's 1948 'austerity Olympics', when the government had little role in funding or organising the games, and its extensive involvement in preparing for London 2012.

click here to download a copy of his talk [pdf file, 101kb].

The 2012 London Olympics

Round table discussion, 11 July

The Centre for Contemporary British History's summer conference culminated in a H&P discussion on the Olympics as project, spectacle and legacy. Derek Wyatt MP joined academics Martin Polley, Dilwyn Porter and Tony Travers; journalists Ashling O'Connor (The Times) and John Bryant (former editor of The Telegraph, and Richard Simmons of CABE to discuss the lessons that could be learnt from past Games, in preparation for London 2012.

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Trade Unions and Employment

Trade Union Forum Report: Going to the Press: Wapping 1986

22 July 2011

The Wapping dispute was and is intensely controversial. The Trade Union Forum brought together Tony Burke (Unite), Baroness Dean (SOGAT), Tricia Dawson (University of Westminster) and Greg Neale (former refusenik journalist) to discuss the printers' strike.

Read more here: Going to the Press: Wapping 1986

Trade Union Forum event, 11 June 2011: Going to the Press: Wapping 1986

The Wapping Dispute was intensely controversial at the time and has remained so ever since. To mark the 25th anniversary of the dispute, the Trade Union Forum have brought together Tony Burke of Unite, Baroness Dean, former General Secretary of SOGAT, Dr Tricia Dawson of the University of Westminster and Greg Neale of BBC History to discuss the course and consequences of the printers' strike. Please click here to find out more: if you would like to attend, please let us know so we have an idea of numbers.

H&P Trade Union Forum: The Conservative Party and the Trade Unions

15 May 2011

Conservative politicians and trade unionists are not traditionally seen as being a comfortable fit, either now or in the past. But how much does the stereotype fit the reality and what is being done to try and build up new links? At H&P's Trade Union Forum meeting, Pete Dorey looked at the history over decades and Richard Balfe discussed the Tories' efforts to reach out to trade unionists.

The Conservative Party and the Trade Unions

Trade union fellowships: H&P seeks a consultant historian

8 April 2011

History & Policy is seeking a historian to research and devise a fellowship programme for historians to contribute to trade union educational provision in the UK. The consultant will prepare the ground for the fellowship programme, which will enable historian fellows to create environments in which the content of trade unions' education about their own history can be actively reviewed and debated. Please click for more information (PDF or Word format).

H&P Trade Union Forum

Deadline: Thursday 28 April 2011

Apprenticeships: still the best route into the working world?

Feature, May 2010

Chris Bowlby talks to H&P Trade Union Forum member Paul Ryan about the history of working apprenticeships from the pre-industrial age to the present day. 'Apprenticeships: still the best route into the working world?' is the latest article in H&P's collaborative series with BBC History Magazine. Other articles can be found in our BBC History section.

British Airways versus Unite in historical context

Interview, 18 May 2010

H&P co-founder Alastair Reid was interviewed on BBC Radio 4's The World Tonight in a report about the court battle between British Airways and the Unite union. He discussed the historical precedents for employers using the law to prevent strike action.

You can listen again to the report on the BBC Radio 4 website (24 minutes in)

See also: H&P Trade Union Forum and Trade unions: a foundation of political pluralism?.

BA cabin crew: the London dockers of our time?

Rapid response, 17 May 2010

Philip Hammond, the new transport secretary, recently compared British Airways cabin crew strikes with actions by London dockyard workers in the 1960s. Glasgow historian Jim Phillips examines the comparison. Read his comment.

Revisiting the Osborne Judgement on its centenary

H&P paper, 18 December 2009

A new H&P paper by historian and former trade unionist James Moher revisits the Osborne Judgement ahead of its centenary on Monday 21 December. The judgement was the culmination of a long legal battle by East London railwayman, Walter Osborne, against the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, a forerunner of the RMT. The ruling banned trade unions from funding political parties until it was reversed by the 1913 Trade Union Act. Dr Moher investigates this formative period in the development of the Labour party and its relationship with trade unions, and highlights how this often forgotten episode can inform the current debate about the reform of party funding.

Read the paper: The Osborne Judgement 1909: trade union funding of political parties in historical perspective.

Read an interview with James Moher on the Waltham Forest Guardian's website.

Are we facing a winter of discontent?

Interview, BBC History Magazine, 24 November 2008

H&P contributor James Moher talks to Chris Bowlby about the industrial crisis of 1978/9 and considers whether we could be heading for something similar 30 years later. This interview appears in the December issue of BBC History Magazine and is part of a series produced in collaboration with History & Policy.

James Moher is a co-organiser of the History & Policy Trade Union Forum and is the author of Trade unions and the law - history and a way forward?

Lessons from the Winter of Discontent

Article, Monday 10 September

A new History & Policy paper by historian and Brent Councillor Jim Moher calls for a new settlement of 'rights and responsibilities' between the state and the unions. In an article for the Guardian he explores whether Gordon Brown's government faces a fresh Winter of Discontent and what lessons he might learn from 1978-9.

Related paper: Trade unions and the law: history and a way forward?.

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Transport

British Airways versus Unite in historical context

Interview, 18 May 2010

H&P co-founder Alastair Reid was interviewed on BBC Radio 4's The World Tonight in a report about the court battle between British Airways and the Unite union. He discussed the historical precedents for employers using the law to prevent strike action.

You can listen again to the report on the BBC Radio 4 website (24 minutes in)

See also: H&P Trade Union Forum and Trade unions: a foundation of political pluralism?.

BA cabin crew: the London dockers of our time?

Rapid response, 17 May 2010

Philip Hammond, the new transport secretary, recently compared British Airways cabin crew strikes with actions by London dockyard workers in the 1960s. Glasgow historian Jim Phillips examines the comparison. Read his comment.

A return to Victorian levels of railway building?

Rapid response, 12 April 2010

Transport historian Colin Divall (University of York) examines Liberal Democrat plans to expand the rail network: A return to Victorian levels of railway building?

Latest H&P - BBC History Magazine article online

Feature, 11 December 2009

The latest article from H&P's collaborative series with BBC History Magazine is available online now. Colin Divall of the University of York explores the history of, and current policies for, high-speed rail in the UK Changing times: Why put the breaks on high speed rail? Other articles can be found in our BBC History section.

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Welfare, charities and civil society

A Big Society? Government policy will make it smaller, argues Pat Thane

6 May 2011

H&P partner and co-founder Pat Thane has written in the Fabian Review and History Workshop. In both pieces, Pat challenged the government on a Big Society which 'is all too likely to contract', arguing that its cuts to public services mean that 'Women will work to fill the gaps in devastated services.'

New policy paper released: England's early 'Big Society': parish welfare under the Old Poor Law

Released 11 November

The new Coalition Government's 'Big Society' of mutuality and volunteering is being presented as a solution to tackling social problems. In a new policy paper, Lorie Charlesworth examines the historical and legal meaning of the Old Poor Law, arguing that Britain's welfare system was not something created in the 1940s under Beveridge, but has long been a legal norm embedded within our society. By showing that voluntary aid and charity for the poor has always been coupled with the legal right to poor relief, this paper offers some crucial historical context to Cameron's 'Big Society' agenda.

Read the paper: England's early 'Big Society': parish welfare under the Old Poor Law.

The 'Big Society' and the state

H&P paper, 22 June 2010

Matthew Hilton, James McKay, Nicholas Crowson and Jean-Francois Mouhot of Birmingham University explore the history of civic participation and voluntary action in Britain, drawing lessons for the government's 'Big Society' agenda. This is based on a paper prepared for a H&P seminar with the Cabinet Office Strategy Unit, attended by seven historians in the H&P Network.

Read the paper: 'The Big Society': civic participation and the state in modern Britain.

You can also read the other papers prepared for the Strategy Unit on our resources page.

H&P contributes to select committee inquiry on social care

Select committee, 3 December 2009

In evidence submitted to the House of Commons' Health Committee inquiry into social care, H&P co-founder Professor Pat Thane explains the history of financing health and social care and argues that the post-1948 separation of health from social care continues to cause problems.

Read Pat Thane's memorandum. [pdf file, 109KB]

For more information about the committee's inquiry, see the UK parliament website.

Prime Minister should have second thoughts on teenage mothers

Opinion article, 7 October 2009

Gordon Brown's proposal to house teenage parents in supervised homes could be a step back into a shameful past, warns H&P Historian Ofra Koffman of Goldsmiths, University of London. Writing in Society Guardian, Dr Koffman argues that government policy has always oscillated between punishing and protecting young mothers and the Prime Minister's rhetoric raises the ghost of early 20th century mother and baby homes.

Read Dr Koffman's article in Society Guardian: Second thoughts: supporting teenage mothers.

The legacy of the workhouse

Woman's Hour, Radio 4, 10:30am, Tuesday 17 February 2009

H&P founder Pat Thane and historian Sarah Wise discuss workhouses and their legacy in modern Britain. To listen to the programme please go to the Woman's Hour website. This year sees the 100th anniversary of Beatrice Webb's Minority Report, which challenged the workhouse system and laid the foundations for the modern welfare state. Professor Thane is speaking at a Fabian Society conference on the Minority Report on Saturday 21 February; please see our events page for further details.

Is Britain's voluntary sector in decline?

Articles, Friday 14 July 2006

A debate between historians Frank Prochaska, Yale University, and Pat Thane, Centre for Contemporary British History. Download the debate [pdf file, 23KB]. Articles first published in New Start magazine.

Volunteers and voluntary organisations in a changing world

News release, Friday 30 June 2006

History & Policy hosts a discussion session with Baroness Greengross at the Centre for Contemporary British History summer conference.

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