Simon joined New Local as Senior Policy Researcher in September 2019.
Having been awarded a PhD in democratic theory from the Department of Political Economy at King’s College London in 2015, he has worked as a researcher and educator in academia and think tanks, with roles at UCL’s Constitution Unit, The Hansard Society, Queen Mary, and King’s College London. His last role was as Research Director at the Project for Modern Democracy, running projects on Whitehall reform and the rebalancing of UK economic policy.
Simon has written and spoken on a diversity of subjects, including democracy and voting systems, localism and self-governance, political economy, historical methods, constitutions, conspiracy theories, and post-truth. He has published work in venues including History and Theory, Critical Review, European Political Science, and The Fabian Society. He has also penned articles for popular publications such as The Independent, Politics.co.uk, CityMetric, and CapX. He has contributed to several podcasts to talk about his research, presented at festivals and international conferences, participated in public lectures and panel debates, won several competitive academic fellowships, and appeared on BBC News as a political commentator.
Simon’s research at New Local is focused around the Community Paradigm, drawing on his expertise in democracy and political economy. His major projects include work on mutual aid groups, the new working practices and relationships that emerged during the 2020 pandemic, and the landmark research of Nobel Prize-winner Elinor Ostrom into governance systems and community management of common resources. New Local’s Ostrom project is a direct development of the original Community Paradigm and forms the intellectual grounding for much of our work on public service reform and the need for more autonomous and empowered communities.
Areas of Expertise:
Their Local: Simon grew up in Royston, which is a town people go through when they’re on the train between London and Cambridge. The most interesting thing about Royston is that in the middle ages, for reasons unknown, the Knights Templar hid a secret meeting place underground, deep beneath what is now a souvenir shop on the high street.