Why subscribe?

This is a place for Sam and Lawrence Freedman to share ideas and reactions to events. We both write for other publications and will continue to do so but this Substack is an opportunity to develop themes more consistently than can be done in occasional commissioned pieces.

Sam mainly writes about policy and politics – ranging pretty widely. This includes rapid analyses of Government announcements; thematic pieces on trends; and policy analysis. He will also use policy issues to explore his interests in behavioural psychology, psephology and forecasting.

Lawrence focuses primarily on foreign affairs, focusing on the background history and strategic judgements lying behind international news stories. For instance what are the consequences of the decline of American influence in the Middle East? What are the implications if China it can no longer sustain the economic growth that has propelled it to a top position in the international hierarchy? He sometimes writes on UK politics too.

What’s the deal?

Everyone signing up will get at least three free posts a month. Paid subscribers will get at least four additional pieces, usually more. Beyond that we keep it pretty fluid. There won’t be a set day when pieces are published – they might come in bursts in a particularly busy news week. We also publish a monthly guest post for paid subscribers from experts on topics we’re interested in but can’t do justice to.

We’ve set the price at the lowest substack allows – just £3.50 a month – the price of a cup of coffee (less than the price of one in London now). We appreciate that this disaggregated form of comment could get pretty expensive if you want to sign up to a few different writers, and that many people won’t have tried substack before and will be taking a bit of a punt.

You can also get an annual subscription for £35. If you’re feeling really generous (or are expensing the cost) and want to be encouraging there’s a founder member rate set at £100 – though you can use it to pay anything between the £35 minimum and £100. We can’t offer you much extra for being a founding member, beyond gratitude and the opportunity to suggest post topics.

Who are we?

Sam is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Government. From 2010-2013 he was a Senior Policy Adviser to the Secretary of State at the UK Department for Education. After that he worked at the UK’s largest teacher training charity, Teach First, ending up as the Executive Director in charge of recruitment and teacher training. In 2018 he became CEO of Education Partnerships Group – an international charity providing policy support to Governments in sub-Saharan Africa. Following an extended stay in hospital in Spring 2021 (which you can read about here) he stepped down from that role and spends most of his time doing political commentary for various outlets. He also has a podcast and is writing a book. You can follow him on twitter @samfr.

Lawrence is Sam’s Dad. But in addition to that he is Emeritus Professor of War Studies at King’s College London, and former Vice-Principal. He is the author of numerous books including the bestselling Strategy: A History, The Future of War: A History, the two-volume Official History of the Falklands War. He was a member of the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War, was knighted 2003 and appointed to the Privy Council in 2009. His latest book “Command: The Politics of Military Operations from Korea to Ukraine” was published in September 2022. You can follow him on twitter @lawdavf.   

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Politics, policy analysis, and foreign affairs from Sam and Lawrence Freedman


Sam Freedman 

Writes about politics and policy here as well as for Prospect, New Statesman, TES, Guardian, FT + others. Also Senior Fellow at the Institute for Government and, according to The Sun, a "think-tank guru", which sounds great.

Lawrence Freedman 

Emeritus Professor of War Studies at King's College London.