The Dawn of the Global Age

Amongst the nonsense that gets said about the British Empire (as bad as the Nazis, force for democracy… etc etc) one of the silliest statements – which you do still hear from time to time – is that it effectively invented Indian famine. Long peddled by nationalists, it’s one of those historical myths only sustained…

The First Century of Welfare

Some time around Christmas 1698, Thomas Gerrard of Little Hilton asked his neighbour for help. Gerrard was sick, and he had a young family. He was poor, and wanted to make the case to magistrates at nearby Wigan that he should be receiving formal relief. It was not an especially long journey, but Gerrard felt…