Leading Article: History matters

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The Independent Online

Yesterday's calls for the appointment of a chief historical adviser to the Government should be welcomed. At an event entitled "Why Policy Needs History" at the Cabinet War Rooms in London, Professor David Cannadine and two other leading historians told an audience of politicians and civil servants that policy making would benefit from the involvement of expert historians at the top levels. This would surely provide politicians and the public with a contextual, long-distance lens through which to view current events. What better way to reduce the prevalence of short-term "spin" politics, and better still, to dispel forever the idea of history as a dead subject?