Who? I am Thomas Prosser, a Reader (Associate Professor) in European social policy at Cardiff University.
What? Tom’s Curiosity Shop is a blog about political values, institutions and ideologies. I am a committed institutional theorist, meaning that I see politics as a series of gradually developing incentive structures. Therefore, I emphasize structural explanations, contrary to the attention to parties and personalities which one finds in the media. In my opinion, such emphasis entails more accurate analysis.
Politically, I am economically centre-left and culturally centre-right. I see these positions as complementary and, following Edmund Burke, regard rapid change as unsettling. My big idea is that the uncertain context of the 21st century strengthens the case for cautious policymaking, consistent with Burke. A persisting concern is liberal democracy, recent attacks on freedom of speech worrying me.
There are three forms of output. Firstly, I write commentaries on current affairs. I try to write about topics which are relevant across the West, but sometimes analyze developments in Britain, evaluating implications for other contexts.
Secondly, I write essays on themes which are not tied to news cycles, previous essays arguing that most media analysis of politics is misleading, that liberal intolerance is inevitable and that the replication crisis strengthens the case for conservatism. Sometimes, these essays are longer.
Thirdly, I do podcasts with high-profile guests such as Rob Henderson, Anand Menon and Jesse Norman. In these podcasts, we explore ideas previously advanced on the blog, guests developing my initial thoughts.
When? I try to publish something every week, sometimes managing more than one piece! But when I write something longer, there can be a gap of weeks between posts.
If you like my Substack, please think about spreading the word. You can share on social media (my Twitter is @prossertj) and, if you write your own Substack, might recommend or crosspost me. This Substack is 100% free, unlike most, making it a labour of love. But I still love getting subscribers 😊😊😊