Academics, politicians and journalists can all improve each other’s disciplines – this is how

The Blair Years course at King’s College London is a prime example of how historical and academic knowledge helps to make sense of today’s political landscape

John Rentoul
Monday 20 January 2020 01:03 GMT
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Anji Hunter, Tony Blair’s adviser, talks to students at King’s College London, with Jon Davis, Michelle Clement and John Rentoul
Anji Hunter, Tony Blair’s adviser, talks to students at King’s College London, with Jon Davis, Michelle Clement and John Rentoul

A new term started last week, which means the “Blair Years” course that I help teach at King’s College London is back in business. I am proud of it, and believe the course benefits The Independent’s journalism, not least because it means I am constantly thinking about recent history and how it informs politics today.

I pay tribute to the work of my colleagues Jon Davis and Michelle Clement, who have built something exceptional in the university world. By bringing together government, journalism and academia, they have created something that adds value to all three.

The Blair Years course, along with the associated courses run in cooperation with government departments, helps politicians and civil servants by preserving “institutional memory”. Davis teaches these additional courses – on British prime ministers and No 10, and on the Treasury – which offer the same exercise in ultra-contemporary history, and all of the classes benefit from the huge advantage of visiting politicians, civil servants and special advisers, who come to speak to the students about their personal experiences.

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