Dan Snow: If I Ruled the World

Crispin Andrews 

Dan Snow is TV historian and son of the former Newsnight presenter Peter Snow. He has a regular history slot on BBC1’s The One Show. He gives us the lowdown on the decrees he'd issue as world leader. 

I’d cease all fishing in the seas for two years


Fish stocks replenish quickly, so it would only be a temporary ban. But the way we fish now has to stop.

We’ve decimated the world’s oceans with little regard for the future. You’ve got huge ships hoovering up the ocean floor. It’s short-term thinking human behaviour in its worst form.


I’d enhance the World Health Organisation 

I would make it a proper, well-funded world body, with enough power to deal with the problems we face

We’re heading for a serious problem should a drug-resistant disease rear its head again. I’ve studied the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 and the various outbreaks of bubonic plague—we need to find better ways of dealing with diseases like these before one of them comes for us.


I’d protect old buildings from development, particularly near the coasts

brighton pavillio
Brighton Pavillion in the snow

The development is brutal by the sea—hotels, private beaches. Safeguarding our heritage would be another way of helping people deal with their mental-health issues.

People feel better when they’re surrounded by old beautiful buildings that mean something to them. Too often, though, what’s beautiful gets replaced by absolute rubbish.


I’d have electoral systems that reflected the will of the electorate

I’m not against digital voting, but once elected, our representatives would be required to engage directly—and I mean physically—with the electorate.


I’d have more women in schools


Everyone knows that things only get better when you have women teaching kids. 

Men are nowhere near as good at this—they just start something, then leave and help no one but themselves.


I’d teach more history

If you learn about history, you’ll understand better what’s going on now. Palestine, the Middle East, Northern Ireland—there’s a historical context in all of these current situations.

If we learn more about where we came from, we’ll understand more about where we’re going.

Read more: If Lucy Worsley ruled the world


I’d remove religion from our governments

david cameron church
David Cameron doing a reading in church. Image via BBC

People are welcome to hold any religious belief they want, but religion has no business in our schools, political bodies or legal frameworks. 

I wouldn’t do a Henry VIII and take all the assets from religious groups, but I would remove all their privileges and their tax exemptions. Then I’d plough the extra money into education.


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Read the full list in the June edition of Reader's Digest magazine

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