Opinion Articles

H&P encourages historians to use their expertise to shed light on issues of the day. If you are interested in submitting an opinion piece for publication, please see our editorial guidelines. We currently have 295 Opinion Articles listed by date and they are all freely searchable by theme, author or keyword.


Covid-19, mutual aid and the impact of history

Bernard Harris explores the perceived decline in mutual social obligation and civic bonds in the UK and suggests that, real or not, it may have shaped Covid-19 response planning. Perceptions of history can affect calculations where lives hang in the balance.

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Fixing loneliness – a pre-pandemic problem

Loneliness is discussed as a key effect of the pandemic, but David Vincent points out that the problem pre-dates Covid-19 and there is little evidence yet that the crisis has made things worse

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School meals and child welfare in times of crisis: the past and future of welfare policy

Marcus Rashford's intervention prompted a government u-turn on providing free school meals over the summer – Bernard Harris explores how previous crisis moments have led to the expansion of the school meal programme, and of welfare more generally.

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India’s worst affected: the socio-economic parallels between influenza (1918-19) and Covid-19 in Mumbai

Mrunmayee Satam shows that mortality rates in the influenza epidemic of 1918-19 differed startlingly by caste in Mumbai, and the same risks remain today in the city's most congested quarters, where social distancing and self-quarantine is all but impossible

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Not business as usual: a feminist map for the post-Covid future

Lucy Delap, D-M Withers and Margaretta Jolly on the approaches feminist thought has taken to business and sustainability, and how we can use those lessons in a post-Covid future.

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Epidemics and society: plague in early modern Italy

John Henderson finds some familiar features of the current lockdown situation in early modern Italy - and some compassionate, charity-driven behaviour.

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Loosening lockdown: lessons from the blackout

The Second World War blackout offers us a close analogy to the Covid-19 lockdown, say Henry Irving and Marc Wiggam – complete with flouting of the rules, and opposition to its being lifted.

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Covid-19 is not a Black Swan: predictable shocks need fully-funded, resilient public services

In a globalised world, new pathogens made their way to Britain and killed thousands, while a social security system depleted for ideological motives failed to cope. Not today, but the 1830s and 1840s, says Simon Szreter.

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The need for a new National Food Policy: food supply problems during national emergencies

Supply chain inadequacies and agricultural worker shortages - the Covid crisis is highlighting the lack of a coherent and integrated national food policy, say John Martin and James P. Bowen

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Public Enemy number one: terrorism, security, and Covid-19

The terrorist threat metaphor acted as a wake-up call at the start of the crisis, says Chris Millington – but it may open the door to authoritarian measures in the name of public health security.

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