Policy Papers

History & Policy papers are written by expert historians, based on peer-reviewed research. They offer historical insights into current policy issues ranging from Afghanistan and Iraq, climate change and internet surveillance to family dynamics, alcohol consumption and health reforms. For historians interested in submitting a paper, please see the editorial guidelines.

Currently, 188 papers are freely searchable by theme, author or keyword, with new papers published regularly. Where possible, we publish papers to coincide with relevant policy developments. If you are a policy maker, civil society practitioner or journalist and would like to contact one of our historians, please contact historyandpolicy@kcl.ac.uk.

You can download 2014 H&P policy papers directly from the Apple iBooks store to your iPhone, iPad or Mac. We also have an Amazon Kindle version to download to your PC for transfer to your Kindle via USB cable. Please consult your Kindle manual for further details.


Clearing the air: can the 1956 Clean Air Act inform new legislation?

Stephen Mosley explores government response to air pollution past and present - where once chimney smoke threatened the health of the Victorian city dweller, now our biggest problem is exhaust fumes - and points to the lessons today's policy makers can learn from the Clean Air Act, in both drafting and implementation.

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Flexible employment and casual labour: a historical perspective on labour market policy

Ahead of this summer's expected Taylor Report on employment practices in the modern economy, Noel Whiteside examines the long history of flexible employment and casual labour, and the various nineteenth- and twentieth-century attempts to grapple with the issues.

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The internet and democracy: an historical perspective

Andrew Blick places the history of the internet in the context of other histories of disruptive technologies and looks at the lessons for policy makers.

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Trade unions and ‘Original Labour’: an alternative to state-socialism

Alastair Reid discusses aspects of trade union history that have been neglected both in the historiography and in current perceptions - pluralism, decentralised organisation and common interests of occupation rather than class.

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Alas, poor Europe

Europe on its 60th birthday – the anniversary of the Treaty of Rome falls on 25 March. Eirini Karamouzi and Luc-Andre Brunet look back at Europe’s capacity for reinvention and ask what comes next.

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A contested relationship: the UK Labour party and small business

Richard Beresford argues that, contrary to what one might suppose, Labour's relationship with small businesses goes back to their earliest days.

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Whistle-blowing in the National Health Service since the 1960s

Claire Hilton traces the similarities between problems in the NHS in the 1960s and those today, and suggests how effective whistle-blowing systems can drive change.

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Women in Parliament since 1945: have they changed the debate?

Luke Blaxill and Kaspar Beelen trace the existence of gendered topics in Parliamentary debate - and discover who speaks on them - using computerised textual analysis on speeches since 1945.

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Brexit and the history of policing the Irish border

Since 1949, there have been no immigration restrictions between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Evan Smith looks at what Brexit could mean for the Good Friday agreement and Anglo-Irish relations.

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Men, mental illness and suicide: the current scene in historical context

Despite the fact that the male suicide rate is now more than three times higher than the female rate, precious little has been done to tackle the stigma amongst men of discussing mental health issues. Dr. Ali Hagget asks why. 

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About Us


With long-established offices in King's College London and the University of Cambridge, H&P is an expanding Partnership currently supported by 6 Higher Education Institutes: King’s College London, University of Bristol, University of Cambridge, The University of Edinburgh, University of Leeds, and The University of Sheffield.

We are the only project in the UK providing access to an international network of more than 500 historians with a broad range of expertise. H&P offers a range of resources for historians, policy makers and journalists.

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