AS WEEKS go this is as difficult a one as you could pick to write about Brexit. The political agenda is changing by the hour, let alone the day – and such is the hothouse atmosphere at Westminster that it is anyone's guess where things are going.

It is easy to share Hamlet's sentiment that 'the time is out of joint' and cursing spite that he must set it right. Writing a column is not quite that extreme, but it is certainly a week where it is dangerous to make any predictions.

As you are reading this we will have reached March 29 and should be leaving the EU at 11 pm. We can be sure that is not going to happen. Indeed it seems highly unlikely now that we will not leave without a deal. That would be good news for agriculture, based on what the farming lobby right across the UK says about the damage that would cause for the livestock industry in particular.

However it is the default position of MPs at Westminster and the government cannot agree a way ahead by April 12. Until that prospect is finally off the table farmers, like the rest of industry, need to continue preparing as best they can for a no deal outcome.

If we are ranking odds the chances of a general election are probably now higher than those for a no deal Brexit. That too would be a bad outcome for agriculture, particularly if the two combined to create a perfect storm. The commitment the government gave on support was that it would continue to match CAP levels for the lifetime of this parliament. If the parliament ends with a general election that deal will be off the table. It would then be up to the incoming government to decide whether to reinstate that commitment or go down a different policy road. With or without a deal, the absolute priority for the farming lobby would then be to secure from a new government a commitment to maintain farm support while it develops new policies.

That is one of many reasons why there is a desperate need for common sense and economic logic to prevail over politics. While for many at Westminster, particularly Brexit supporting Conservatives prepared to pursue their dream at any cost, this is all a political game. What they forget is that it is a gambling game being played with the livelihoods of millions of families across the UK. It is alright for them playing the game, with the cushion of secure family trust funds. If it all goes wrong it will not be their house or land on the line.

Whatever way the dust settles on all of this, the credibility of the political process has been damaged. It is hard to think of a time when people, be they leave or remain supporters, had less faith in politics or the political process. This was evident from a survey this week that showed supporters on both sides of the argument were equally cynical about the ability of the government or MPs to deliver a good outcome for the UK economy. The worthy objectives of leaving the EU and the CAP to escape red tape have been all but forgotten as more pressing issues about economic survival dominate the agenda.

The danger all along has been that Brexit will be deemed to have failed if we end up in a situation where people look with envy to the EU they have left. As things stand that could happen in agriculture if we are swamped with cheap imports; struggle to secure access to Europe for food; find that the power of the farming lobby has been diluted because we are no longer part of a bigger European grouping; or simply that we have swapped the CAP for even worse home produced red tape as farming moves from food production to environmental delivery.

All these things are possible, and whether any individual farmer was a remain or leave voter these are all outcomes they want to avoid. Hopefully ways will be found to make that happen. But for that outcome politicians need to come out from their bunkers and listen to the very real economic concerns of the constituents that sent them to Westminster.

As to where I would put my money – as things stand, that would be on the UK following Norway and joining the European Free Trade Area.