The Cabinet Papers 1915-1978: documenti del governo britannico digitalizzati


Il Gabinetto del Regno Unito è il gruppo dei ministri che secondo una tradizione risalente nei secoli nell’ordinamento costituzionale coadiuvano il Primo ministro del Regno Unito. Del gabinetto fanno parte solo un numero ristretto di ministri che hanno il titolo di Segretari di Stato. Sempre per tradizione nel Gabinetto sono previsti anche un gruppo, ancor più ristretto di ministri senza portafoglio.

Il progetto The Cabinet Papers 1915-1978, promosso dal JISC e ospitato sul sito dell’Archivio nazionale britannico (National Archive), consente il libero accesso a migliaia di documenti ufficiali prodotti tra il 1915 e il 1978. La digitalizzazione dei microfilm conservati presso il National Archive consente di visualizzare e scaricare i documenti in formato PDF. Il sito, assai ben fatto, contiene anche molte informazioni di corredo sui principali avvenimenti che hanno segnato la vita politica inglese del Novecento.

“The Cabinet is the main body that controls policy and coordinates activities of governmental departments. It is chaired by the Prime Minister and consists of most of the ministerial heads of departments, as well as some additional members. During peacetime it typically consists of 20 members. During the two world wars the size of the Cabinet was reduced to enable rapid decision-making. It proceeds by joint discussion and decision-making, which requires collective responsibility for policy and outcomes. Members may therefore need to put aside departmental priorities and preferences to achieve coherence of overall policy. If a minister cannot agree to abide by collective decision, traditionally they have to resign.

The cabinet papers are a unique collection of conclusions and reference materials that detail the role of Cabinet and its history. 

Two world wars, unprecedented social change and rapid advances in technology had a radical transformative effect on both British society and the international community and, consequently, on the very governance of British life. All the core issues that faced the government of the day, all the various facets of British life, are documented in the minutes and memoranda of the Cabinet. Any study of Britain in the 20th century would be incomplete without reference to them but usage of this immensely important resource has been limited, up until now, to those who have the opportunity to visit the National Archive”.

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