First anthropologists were hired into government departments (MoD, Cabinet Office, Home Office to name those where I know individuals who describe themselves as such)…then a call from a prominent British historian (of colonialism and Orientalism) that historians should advise Civil Servants on what will and will not work.

With the country being governed by the first prime minister since Churchill with pretensions to being a historian, a campaign being launched today by Professor David Cannadine should be pushing at at least a half-open door. Cannadine, who rejoices in the title the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Professor of British History at London University, will call in a speech to civil servants and politicians at the Cabinet War Rooms for historical advisers to be appointed to every Whitehall department and for a government chief historical adviser. He will say: "Historians can suggest, on the basis of past precedents, what might or might not work and counsel against raising public expectations that policies will be instantly effective." He thinks that would be particularly useful in constitutional reforms.

The Guardian, Wednesday 5th December, 2007