On the 27th October 2021 History & Policy hosted an online event: Recovering from the Pandemic - A workshop on The Future for Employment and Skills. The workshop was organised by the History and Policy Trade Union and Employment Forum, a group of senior trades unionists and academics, and is sponsored by History & Policy at the Institute for Historical Research.
As we chart our way out of the current crisis what are the lessons of history? How can we build a fairer and stronger economy better able to withstand future shocks, not least from climate change? How can we overcome labour shortages and ensure that everyone has the chance to gain the skills we need? How can we help those hardest hit by the pandemic: women, the low paid and unskilled? We hear from the General Secretary of the UK’s largest Trade Union, from a leading historian, from an expert on Labour Law, from a leading Employer representative, from the TUC and from the Labour Party shadow minister for FE and skills.
Professor Claire Langhamer (Director of the Institute of Historical Research)
Chair: Professor Philip Murphy (Director of History & Policy, Institute of Historical Research, School of Advanced Study)
Chair: Sarah Veale (CBE, former Head of Equality and Employment Rights at the TUC)
History & Policy at the Institute of Historical Research was delighted to host a webinar to mark the launch of the new book, After the Virus: Lessons from the Past for a Better Future, by Hilary Cooper (former government economist and senior policy maker), and Simon Szreter (Professor of History and Public Policy at Cambridge University and co-founder and editor of History & Policy).
Why was the UK so unprepared for the pandemic, suffering one of the highest death rates and worst economic contractions of the major world economies in 2020? Hilary Cooper and Simon Szreter reveal the deep roots of our vulnerability and set out a powerful manifesto for change post-COVID-19. They argue that our commitment to a flawed neoliberal model and the associated disinvestment in our social fabric left the UK dangerously exposed and unable to mount an effective response, with particularly devastating consequences for deprived communities and elderly patients in care homes.
In the face of the coming century’s urgent problems, from climate change to biodiversity collapse and global inequality, the authors put the case for the vital role that history should play in enabling us to think differently – about the future economy, our future society, how we govern ourselves and who we want to be. Drawing on the history of British collectivist individualism, beginning with the Elizabethan Poor Laws, they argue that a strong and nurturing welfare state has facilitated the most successful periods of economic and social flourishing in our history; and a revival and adaptation of its principles can help us again in the twenty-first century.
At this virtual event Hilary Cooper and Simon Szreter discuss the ideas in their book, which was followed by a Q&A facilitated by Professor Philip Murphy.
After the Virus: Lessons from the Past for a Better Future is published by Cambridge University Press in paperback and as an e-book.
Get 20% off when you purchase this book – visit www.cambridge.org/afterthevirus and enter discount code ‘COOPER21’ at the checkout. Discount expires 30th July 2022.
Hilary Cooper is a former government economist and senior policy maker with expertise in labour markets, children’s services and local development. Her current freelance work examines the challenges of ageing. She was the joint winner of the 2019 IPPR Economics prize for the essay Incentivising an Ethical Economics, with Simon Szreter and Ben Szreter.
Simon Szreter is Professor of History and Public Policy at the University of Cambridge, researching economic, social and public health history. His publications include Health and Wealth, which won the American Public Health Association’s Viseltear Prize, and Sex before the Sexual Revolution, longlisted for the Samuel Johnson prize. He is co-founder and editor of History & Policy.
Thursday 21 May 2020, 6pm-8pm
Andrew Brady will introduce his recent book:
Unions and Employment in a Market Economy, Strategy, Influence and Power in Contemporary Britain (Routledge 2019)
Other speakers include Sir Ian McCartney and Tom Wilson.
The Seminar was chaired by Helen Hague
Andrew Brady was awarded his PhD from the University of Strathclyde in 2017. He has held various positions within Unite the Union and is currently based in Scotland in the union’s Political, Research & Campaigns Unit.
Sir Ian McCartney was Shadow Minister, Minister of State, and Cabinet Minister 1992–2007 and led the Labour Government’s work on employment and employment rights.
Tom Wilson was Director of Unionlearn at the TUC until 2017. He has also worked for the GMB, the Labour Party as Trade Union Liaison Officer, the AUT and Natfhe (now UCU).
Helen Hague is a journalist and has recently worked on a history of the Fire Brigades Union.
H&P is based at the Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, University of London.
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.