As the Hunt and Johnson road-show continued this week, it seems bizarre that the person who will guide the UK through its most challenging economic times will not be chosen by the electorate.

The choice will be made by 150,000 members of Conservative associations, mainly in England. A poll this week showed not only that they were pro-Brexit, but would be happy with Donald Trump as prime minister.

Like the Labour Party, with its 'Momentum' activists, this is an approach that looks strong on democracy, but it is in fact a very narrow focus to elect someone to battle for the interests of 60m people.

In the crumbs of comfort stakes, Defra confirmed this week it would maintain farm funding at present levels until 2022. It said this applied whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal.

However, it also confirmed that this commitment only applies for the lifetime of the present parliament, expected to be until 2022. That the parliament will last that long are not odds you would bet on and comes back to the narrow focus of how the next prime minister will be elected.

Back in 2017, Theresa May was tempted into a disastrous election to secure a wider mandate. Assuming Boris Johnson takes her job, he is too full of self-belief not to try the same tactic.

It may be forced on him if he seeks a 'no deal' Brexit, triggering a House of Commons motion of no confidence in his government. Whatever the route, that commitment to maintain support until 2022 would end – and it is questionable whether it would be a manifesto commitment for the main parties.

Whether it is election bluff by Johnson and Hunt, we are probably closer to a no deal Brexit than at any time over the three years since the referendum.

In a new cabinet in London, a lot of wise heads are likely to be ditched. Based on the views of the farming lobby in every part of the UK, that would be a disastrous outcome and the enterprises that dominate Scottish agriculture are most at risk.

The same is probably being said in other industries but farming is uniquely exposed. Many of the possible scenarios that could develop look bad.

These include trading on WTO terms, a standards lowering trade deal with the US and others, plus an electorate pleasing move from supporting food production to the environment.

Farmers might have taken some heart from Johnson saying that he would give an additional £25m per year to agriculture in Scotland. Unless his magic money tree has sprouted new roots, this could only come from a reallocation of UK resources.

This would meet Scottish demands for a fairer balance of payments, but if that is the case, it would dilute funds going to Northern Ireland. It would be naïve of Johnson to think the DUP, on whom he depends for a majority for his government, would agree to that.

The alternative would be fresh money to fund that promise but it is difficult to see that generosity coming from the Treasury. That makes this yet another promise that sounds good on the political stump, but less so when tested in real life.

That, in many ways, sums up what we are hearing from both leadership contenders.

Whatever happens in the Tory leadership election – and the odds are still firmly for Johnson unless he does something disastrously wrong – we are facing a period of uncertainty and change.

This is a far from welcome situation for agriculture and many farmers who voted to leave the EU in 2016 to escape red tape must now be looking with some envy towards the income certainty the EU offers. Brexit has always been an opportunity as well as a threat, but for now it is hard to see past the threats.

Johnson claims he has a vision to deliver a more dynamic future for the UK economy, but there is a sense that agriculture is not part of that agenda. Convincing Johnson after he is prime minister that food production is important and that support is part of food production globally, not least in Trump's America, will be a major but essential challenge for the farming lobby.

It must not allow the new prime minister to use the allocation of funds within the UK as a basis to divide and rule.