I REMEMBER many years ago visiting a farm run by Cistercian monks. As an order they have been known for centuries for their farming abilities. Talking over lunch, one told me that he only read newspapers that looked back at the week just gone. He believed that following the news daily meant wasting energy getting excited over events that with the benefit of hindsight were put in a better context.

I thought about his views this week as events unfolded at Westminster. Once again we had lots of heat, but with less light than we need weeks before we are due to leave the EU. What we had was a mix of the bizarre and the hypocritical. We had a Labour leader wanting an election, despite being far behind in the polls; we had a prime minister threatening to take the whip from MPs voting against him, despite having done so himself three times in his bid to topple Theresa May; we had Jacob Rees-Mogg, a hedge fund banker turned politician who loves to lecture people on grammar, describing a leading neurosurgeon as a 'muppet' for suggesting a no deal Brexit would result in drug shortages.

All in all a far from edifying spectacle, and one certain to add weight to people's conviction that politics and democracy are not automatically the same thing. Few who voted for Brexit back in 2016 expected it to bring the chaos now in the offing, and this certainly applies to agriculture. Many farmers wanted to escape the red tape of the CAP, but that escape is proving to be a tunnel with a bricked up end.

The promises of a new agricultural policy gentle on regulation and focussed on meeting UK needs have been forgotten. Instead what is in the offing is an approach likely to make the worst greening aspects of the CAP look like the proverbial Sunday school picnic.

Ask most farmers what they want and it will not be about leaving or staying in the EU. What they want is some certainty about the future for farm support and markets, but that will not emerge any time soon. Politicians have bigger fish to fry than the future of one of the UK's great industries. The prospect of an early election is making matters worse.

With a general election the commitment to maintain farm support at similar levels to direct payments would end, unless it was written into the manifestos of the parties likely to form the next government. That makes the future even less certain at a time of the year when farmers are making fundamental decisions about next year and beyond.

Those like Rees-Mogg that label anyone who questions the consequences of a no deal Brexit 'remoaners' have a bizarre faith that a trade deal with the United States would be better. This is certainly not the case for agriculture and it is certainly not the case under Donald Trump. This week he was again throwing his toys out of the pram over trade, imposing punitive duties on China that produced the expected retaliation from the Chinese government. This was all about Trump appealing to his supporters who believe jobs can be brought back to the US from China, despite a massive mismatch between wage and skill levels.

When the world's two biggest economies engage in a trade war there can be only one outcome – it tips us closer to the global recession most analysts predict is on its way. Markets do not like uncertainty any more than farmers, and their reaction to the potent mix of trade strains between the US and China and the battle over Brexit confirm that there are big consequences for political failure to find compromise.

What is clear from Trump's approach to China is that whether he is right or wrong in his action he has no respect for negotiated trade deals. Many in the Conservative party believe that by being friends with the US they can get one over on the EU, aligning with Washington to do down European exports. In reality the US market offers very little for agriculture and anything achieved would be at the cost of accepting US food imports.

This would distance us from prospects of trading with the EU, dilute our food quality standards and leave us behoven to a US president who, when it comes to trade, has shown he is untrustworthy. If this is the government's plan it is a far from wise strategy.