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 329 Opinion Articles listed by date and they are all freely searchable by theme, author or keyword.

Saving Private Sunak? Politics and Remembrance in 1995 and 2024

Rishi Sunak's mishandling of the 80th anniversary of D-Day commemorations brings to mind his predecessor, John Major's, far more assured negotiation of the probllem of having to be absent from the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday 1995. More broadly both incidents illustrate the imporance of the symbolic in politics and the growing significance over the previous three dacades of the memory of the two World Wars as a focus for British national identity.

Read More

Lessons from the history of British health policy: past and present

The policies of the major parties on health are likely to be fiercely debated in the course of the current general election. But what can be learned from British health policy in the past for those trying to improve it in the present? Two of the editors of a recent report for the British Academy, Lessons from the History of British Health Policy offer some answers.

Read More

‘Boring’? Transformative leaders and government: the perspective of modern British history

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has regularly been labelled 'boring' by satirists and by more flamboyant political opponents. As the 2024 general election campaign begins in earnest, we can expect to hear more of this. But, Professor Simon Szreter argues,genuinely transformative British politicians have been distinguished by their capacity to master the tough challenges of government rather than by their personal charisma.

Read More

The reclosure of files on the royal family: some questions for the National Archives

Inspired by our recent opinion article by Alison McClean, historian and royal biographer Andrew Lownie writes about his own experience of the reclosure of files on the royal family at the National Archives and poses some urgent questions for the Keeper of TNA. We need to know on whose authority these reclosures are being made and why there is not greater transparency and accountability regarding this process.

Read More

“Access under review”: Freedom of Information, Data Protection, and the Disappearing Archive

Since 2012, thousands of previously open documents have been removed from public access under the Reclosure Policy of the National Archives (TNA). The full extent of this withdrawal of previously decalssified material is not apparent from TNA's annual reports on reclosure. The process itself is extremely opaque and appears to involve the application of the exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act in ways that run contrary to the spirit of that legislation. Historians should be concerned by this development.

Read More

Policy at the mercy of fear: Déjà vu and the open prisons

Absconds from prison are at a historic low. The prison system in England and Wales does not offer an ‘open prison’ sentence, but individuals may be transferred to one of the 12 open prisons as part of their preparation for release. Since its inception, the open prison has been at the mercy of capricious policy. This tension is still apparent today. Events in 2022 led to the Justice Secretary imposing stricter transfer criteria; since then, the policy has been abandoned.

Read More

The Complicated History of Remembrance

Recent controversies over whether protest is permissible on ‘Remembrance Weekend’ have rested on an oversimplified view of Remembrance as an unchanging, sacralised and outside politics. In fact the commemoration of war in twentieth and twenty first century Britian has continuously evolved, subtly and sometimes unsubtly influenced by contemporary politics. The continued relevance of Remembrance can only be ensured by such adaptation, and is threatened by heavy-handed attempts to impose a unitary meaning.

Read More

Reality check: Russell Brand, survivors of rape and the criminal justice system

The historically problematic relationship between the criminal Justice System and complainants of rape surfaced again with the recent allegations made on the comedian and TV presented Russel Brand.

Read More

Rishi Sunak’s Seven Bins

Rishi Sunak's statement on changes to the government's policy on Net Zero contained a headline-grabbing pledge to scrap plans to force households to have seven different recycling bins. While the prime minister clearly expects this to play well with the electorate, history suggests that the public are ready to adapt their habits and that there are dangers in playing politics with waste disposal.

Read More

1924, Keir Starmer and New Labour

Kier Starmer appears to be looking more and more to the New Labour era to guide him to election victory. He may well be right to do so, since 1997-2010 was a period of sustained electoral success for Labour, unparalleled before or since.

Read More

Page 1 of 33 pages


Papers By Author

Papers by Theme

RSS Feed Icon

Opinion Articles RSS Feed

How to Use RSS Feeds

To subscribe to the History & Policy Opinion Articles feed in your feed reader, copy the URL and paste it in your RSS Aggregator.




Sign up to receive announcements on events, the latest research and more!

To complete the subscription process, please click the link in the email we just sent you.

We will never send spam and you can unsubscribe any time.

About Us

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.

Read More