History puts events in perspective. As a result ,people rarely realise they are living through history. That is however, the case now, with Brexit set to bring about a sea change in politics that historians will debate for generations to come.

The European elections next week will add to the sense that we are witnessing the end of the two party system of government at Westminster. We may be leaving the EU, but we are heading down the road of European countries where government is based around uneasy coalitions. They are achieved via proportional voting, but here it will be the result of a single issue dividing politicians.

When the dust settles on the European elections, things will not go back to normal anywhere in the EU. They will almost certainly see a surge in support for anti-immigration parties opposed to the EU. Brussels may come to regret the high handed approach it took with David Cameron, refusing then to ease back on its federalist agenda. That is all water under the bridge, but it is an issue far from resolved.

We have seen massive changes in European politics, from the French student riots in 1968, through the collapse of communism to the yellow vest protests in France today. These were all examples of people power, and that will be evident here and elsewhere when the European parliament elections are over and the votes counted.

Since the 2016 referendum, the farming industry in the UK has see the demise of past certainties. Support, which we took for granted, is up in the air; markets we also took for granted are now uncertain, and we could lose the protection from cheap imports ensured by the EU’s Fortress Europe approach.

Politics are supposed to be the art of the possible, but far from making things possible, Brexit is now making them less certain. Back in 2016 many farmers were convinced it would deliver a better outcome for the industry, but that cannot begin to happen until the mess the process has become, is resolved. When that might be, is still anyone’s guess, but next week’s divisive European election will not bring us any closer to a conclusion based on economic facts rather than politics.

Ironically this sense that politicians in government no longer care about the future for agriculture is not unique to the UK. That the French government was fully behind farming has been as certain for generations as the sun rising in the east, but even that is changing. France remains the biggest beneficiary of CAP funding and has the biggest agricultural industry in Europe. For years its politicians, including past French presidents, wholeheartedly supported agriculture, believing that ensuring it prospered was the best way to support the vast area that is rural France. Now, however, it's president, Emmanuel Macron, while still paying lip service to those ideals, is seemingly ready to sacrifice progressive, profitable agriculture in pursuit of green objectives. What is surprising is that the normally vociferous and powerful French farming lobby has not reacted more strongly, suggesting that even in France criticising green policies is something to be avoided.

There was a time when French agriculture drove the EU’s rural agenda and it was French policy that shaped the CAP. Other countries, including UK agriculture, gained from this. Now under the current French president, France is committed to banning glyphosate in 2021, despite the product licence for the EU being until 2023. It is also committed to a 50% reduction in all pesticide use in agriculture by 2025. Think of the past economic and political power of French arable farmers and this policy alone underlines how things have changed.

Macron also responded to the recent critical United Nations report on agriculture and loss of biodiversity, not by defending French agriculture, but by siding with the green lobby to demand changes to the CAP to reflect the threats highlighted. In the past, France would have rushed to defend progressive farming from attack and to maintain the CAP status quo. But Macron’s response was to demand changes to the CAP, to encourage sustainable crops and biodiversity.

Those may be sound ideas, but the French farmers in Scotland secretly envied would have put agriculture first. So, despite Brexit, Paris and London do have something in common. They both see agriculture as an industry of declining significance and have put green policies ahead of the economic importance of agriculture and a secure food supply.