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, 193 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 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.


Health reforms, opinion polls and surveys: myths and realities

Attitudes to NHS reform today are shaped by a largely imagined past of poor healthcare prior to the NHS, according to Dr Nick Hayes in a new H&P policy paper. An Ipsos Mori poll in conjunction with King's College London confirmed Dr Hayes' research - finding a fear of reform, particularly the involvement of private providers in the NHS.

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The break-up of Czechoslovakia and Scottish independence

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

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Why have no bankers gone to jail?

Dr James Taylor argues that political will, not tougher legislation, is needed to restore trust in the City and the state. Effective legislation already exists - dating from the nineteenth century and strengthened since 1900, contrary to popular perceptions of the Victorian era's uncontrolled capitalism. The Victorians took transgression seriously - with important economic and social effects, which today's policy makers should be aware of.

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Surveillance, privacy and history

With the new Penny Post and Telegraph technology, the nineteenth century experienced a transformation in mass communications - and invented a problem that the early twenty-first century is struggling to resolve, as highlighted by the Edward Snowden revelations, according to Professor David Vincent, of the Open University.

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Addressing food poverty in Ireland: historical perspectives

Debates about nutritional health in nineteenth and early twentieth century Ireland, a period of severe economic decline and poverty, offers food for thought for today's policy makers, argues Dr Ian Miller, of the University of Ulster.

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

In 1980 an Olympic boycott offered a viable means of 'fighting' the Cold War but as Dr Paul Corthorn, of Queen's University Belfast, explains, this attempt at using 'soft power' failed because of mishandling by the Thatcher Government.

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

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

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

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Development policy and history: lessons from the Green Revolution

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

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Choice, policy and practice in maternity care since 1948

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About Us


H&P is an expanding Partnership based at King's College London and the University of Cambridge, and additionally supported by the University of Bristol, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Leeds, the Open University, 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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