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

Mobilising the Environmental Humanities

In March 2024, History and Policy hosted a workshop on Environmental Humanities which brought together academics, policymakers and practitioners and was organised as part of a British Academy funded project led by Henry Irving of Leeds Beckett University. Reporting on the findings of the workshop, Andrew McTominey argues that at a time when the political world seems unwilling or unable to respond sufficiently rapidly to the climate crisis, Environmental History can help to open up some urgent and difficult conversations.

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“Prejudicial to the effective conduct of public affairs”: More questions for TNA on FOI and Reclosure.

Earlier this year, Alison McClean and Andrew Lownie used separate History & Policy opinion articles to raise concerns about the reclosure of files in the National Archives (TNA). In this update of the situation, Alison suggests that the TNA has been unwilling to engage with its critics and notes a worrying trend to remove from the online catalogue the titles and descriptions of reclosed files, making it difficult to trace what has been removed from public access.

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Political Betting in Historical Context

An unexpected feature of the 2024 general election has been the scandal around political betting. As Laura Beers explains, however, betting on political outcomes is hardly a new phenomenon. Indeed, in the early decades of the twentieth century it was even a feature of some transactions in the London Stock Exchange.

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An Unlikely Ally? Advocating for Board Representation

The 2024 general election campaign has seen Labour revive the idea of worker representation as a means of making business more productive and responsive. Sophia Friedel notes that a similar agenda was advanced by Theresa May in 2016 in the wake of the Brexit referendum. The debate over May's proposals, and her subsequent partial retreat from them, points to the continued sensitivities around ideas of democracy in the workplace.

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Historicising ‘Birth Trauma’ and ‘Birth Experience’: Lessons for an Incoming Government

In May 2024, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Birth Trauma published their report, ‘Listen to Mums: Ending the Postcode Lottery on Perinatal Care’.  It raised concerns about a range of issues including  inadequate resourcing of midwifery, maternal mental health, and post-natal services, racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes and the economic costs of birth injuries. This policy article notes there have been complaints about maternity care since the inception of the NHS. It suggests we need to think about birth trauma in the broadest possible terms: as reflecting issues with culture, relationships, and power, as well as related issues of understaffing and underfunding.

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A Modest Proposal

In a letter in the current edition of the satirical magazine Private Eye, the director of History & Policy, Philip Murphy, suggests that Buckingham Palace should create its own constitution unit to advise the King. In this new opinion article, Murphy explains why.

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The history and future of televised election debates in Britain

Ahead of tonight's BBC 1 Question Time Leaders' special, Professor Jon Lawrence suggests the frequency and significance of leaders' debates are bringing Britain closer to a US model of head-to-head presidential showdowns.

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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.

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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.

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‘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.

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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.

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