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What can political leaders learn from history?

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Episode notes

In this episode, Rory Cellan-Jones talks to expert guests Lucy Delap (University of Cambridge) and Victor Gay (IAST) about how lessons from history can inform policymaking today.

They discuss what the recession in the 1970s  can tell us about government response to the current cost-of-living crisis, and what the 1918 Spanish Flu can tell us about dealing with a pandemic.

The guests explore what history adds to policy debates but is currently left out, and why explaining what happened in the past isn’t as straightforward as it might seem.

Episode 10 transcript

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Audio production by Steve Hankey.

Podcast editing by Annabel Manley.

About our guests and host:

Lucy Delap is a Professor in Modern British and Gender History at the University of Cambridge. Her research interests include the history of feminisms in Britain, the US, and the British Empire, and in labour history with a focus on the intersections of gender, class, and disability in the workplace. She is the author of three books, most recently  'Feminisms: a global history' in 2020. She was also the winner of the Royal Historical Society Public History Prize for public debate and policy in 2018.

Victor Gay is an Assistant Professor at the Toulouse School of Economics and a Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse. His research interests include labour economics and the economics of culture, focussing on the economic history of France.  As part of his work on developing data infrastructures based on novel archival material, he is also the Scientific Advisor of the University Data Platform of Toulouse of the PROGEDO data infrastructure.

Rory Cellan-Jones is a former technology correspondent for the BBC. His 40 years in journalism have seen him take a particular interest in the impact of the internet and digital technology on society and business. He has also written multiple books, including his latest “Always On” which was published in 2021.