Author: Andy Brown

Andy is a Green Party councillor and is leader of the Green group on Craven District Council. He has stood for parliament three times in Skipton and Ripon. He began his career as a college lecturer before becoming head of Hillsborough College in Sheffield and then director of young people’s learning for Yorkshire. He is a beekeeper, writes regularly on nature for the Yorkshire Post, and has had a lifelong interest in economics.

A broken budget and a delusional chancellor

Andy Brown

After a decade of peddling a badly flawed set of economic policies, the latest Conservative Party chancellor has had to ditch many of his most deeply held convictions in the face of the economic and social realities of a genuine crisis. Yet he remains stubbornly determined to ensure the country persists with a hugely damaging Brexit at the worst possible of times.

Johnson’s climate plan needs less talk, more action

Andy Brown

Andy Brown analyses the PM’s new climate plan, which sounds good, but needs action to back it up. Sadly this action has so far been missing. There is a big difference between ambitions and reality. It remains very easy to criticise.

Global warming: the point of no return?

Andy Brown

These days almost every politician in Britain likes to claim that they are green. They want us to believe blue is the new green. Which is progress. Now all we have to do is to get their actions to line up with their words. It hasn’t been a good year for the environment. Covid is, […]

Failure to learn from Grenfell will cost lives

Andy Brown

One of the reasons that cynicism has entered politics quite so strongly in recent years is the way most politicians respond to serious problems. The pattern is all too familiar. A horrible disaster strikes. It is announced that an inquiry will be organised to get to the bottom of the issues and make sure it […]

Algorithms for housing: a formula for failure?

Andy Brown

Algorithms don’t have a great reputation after the exams fiasco of the summer. So, you might think that the UK government would have become just a touch nervous about relying on them quite so naively in the future. In a reasonable world, ministers might have learned that that computer programmers can’t write mathematical formulae that […]

Proportional representation and minority rule

Andy Brown

One of the things about democracy is that you have to accept the result when you lose. We all know that Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election in the United States and Boris Johnson’s Conservatives won the 2019 general election in the UK. Except, of course, for one tiny little point. In both of […]

Having a memory is now a weapon

Andy Brown
person holding covid sign

If there is one thing worse than Donald Trump, it is Donald Trump on steroids. Before his dreadful performance at the first presidential debate, he tried to insist on Joe Biden being given a drugs test to see if he was being artificially stimulated. After his illness he emerged with such a powerful cocktail of […]

Coming up Trumps

Andy Brown

I’m feeling optimistic about the United States of America. Which is not something I have been able to write for some time. It also might seem a touch naïve when night after night we see people on our screens expressing their extreme loyalty to Donald Trump. I even saw a TV clip last week where […]

Food for thought

Andy Brown
sliced fruits on tray

Last week I went into Morrisons in Skipton to do my weekly shopping. That’s not exactly the most exciting opening line I have ever written, but stick with me. They were selling organic broccoli (all credit to them). But they had wrapped it in plastic that couldn’t be recycled (no credit at all to them). […]

Don’t bee fooled again

Andy Brown

Almost everyone loves bees and in Yorkshire we have the opportunity to observe an amazing variety of different species. There is one species of honeybee, several of the 27 different varieties of recorded UK bumblebees, and a whole series of fascinating solitary bees like the bilberry mining bees that leave tiny volcanos on moorland paths […]

Take a walk in Theresa’s shoes

Andy Brown

Imagine that you could put yourself in Theresa May’s shoes for a short while. I realise that this may not be easy for those of you who don’t normally favour designer kitten heels, but stick with me for a while as it is worth the effort. It is a year ago and you are the […]

The not-so-genius evil behind the stamp duty holiday

Andy Brown
building metal house architecture

One thing we have all learned in lockdown is that where you live really matters. Being told to stay at home in a lovely house in the country is not the same as being told to confine yourself in a shared damp flat at the top of a high rise in an inner city. So […]

Trussed up farmers

Andy Brown

You have to hand it to International Trade Secretary Liz Truss. She can voice two contradictory ideas in one speech better than almost anyone else in the Cabinet. Even when speaking to Yorkshire farmers. So the front page of the Yorkshire Post on 28 August reported her giving an absolute re-assurance to farmers and consumers […]

Gavin Williamson has failed his test

Andy Brown
auditorium benches chairs class

Every reasonable person knows that government isn’t easy. Particularly in a pandemic. Making real time decisions when events are unfolding at speed inevitably produces mistakes. Yet the vast majority of the mistakes made in the exam fiasco don’t fall into that category. They were avoidable and there was plenty of time to look properly into […]

Planning for profit

Andy Brown
high angle shot of suburban neighborhood

Planning regulations are hugely complex and difficult to understand. It must be very tempting for a new minister to try and make their mark by simplifying and reforming the system. Particularly if they represent a political party that has received huge donations from building developers. So, it comes as no surprise that Robert Jenrick wants […]

Three emergencies at once

Andy Brown

Many people think that we have a major environmental emergency on our hands called climate change. That is, of course, quite wrong. We have at least three major environmental emergencies going on and none of them is remotely under control. One of the worst of those crises is the proliferation of plastic waste. If, repeat […]

Minister demands local government restructure despite the current crisis

Andy Brown

Every reasonable person understands that government is harder than opposition and making choices between competing priorities in the middle of a crisis can be challenging. Deciding on whether to prioritise the NHS or care services, how to open up the economy whilst keeping people safe and how to cope with the pressure of rushing through […]

Tasty chemicals: is your food safe?

Andy Brown

There aren’t many companies in the world that would pay out ten billion dollars in compensation if there wasn’t a problem. Yet that is how much the giant German drug company Bayer is reported to have agreed in order to settle claims made by users of products containing glyphosate in the USA who believed it […]

Prime minister riddled with certainty (country riddled with doubt)

Andy Brown

Most reasonable people are occasionally riddled with doubt. Questioning what you believe, changing your mind, and never being over certain or over confident are actually very positive behaviours. Particularly if you are trying to make objective decisions about how best to run a country. Boris Johnson seems riddled with certainty. He knows what the ‘good […]

How to dig ourselves out of an enormous economic hole

Andy Brown

Few people are fascinated by the intricacies of quantitative easing. Which is a shame because how it is done is going to have an enormous influence over everyone’s lives for at least the next decade. As I write, the Bank of England has just announced that it will operate another programme of £100bn of it. […]

Tea politics

Andy Brown

At a time when good news is in short supply, I was heartened this week to see Yorkshire Tea tell a customer who made racist remarks that they didn’t want them to buy their product. I was even more heartened when that customer announced that that was fine because they’d just switch to PG tips […]