COMMON SENSE and rational debate are suspended until after the election on December 12. Instead we face spin and counter spin and an election dominated by Brexit, despite the need to tackle more pressing issues.

This might be acceptable if we believed things will be better after the election is over. However the road we are now on is one where every time you turn a corner, there is another series of bends hiding the destination.

The election could produce a hung parliament and that would bring new problems, as parties struggle to find sufficient common cause to form a government. Beyond that, the Brexit debate can only move into a different gear. If pro-Brexit parties win they will see that as a mandate to push Brussels for further concessions. If remain or second vote advocates win we will be back to where we were in 2016. Neither offer the certainty farmers and other businesses need, but that is not going to change any time soon.

It is hard to find positive things to say about elections – but they offer a rare opportunity for people to demand that politicians listen. They face knocking on doors and public meetings and at these events their spin doctors cannot have the same influence. When it comes to agriculture, politicians have big questions to answer.

At the time of the referendum, farmers were promised a new support policy, less centralised than the CAP and geared to local conditions. There are no signs of that emerging and those who made those promises must be challenged to explain the lack of delivery.

Politicians will fail over this when challenged, because farming is increasingly a distant second to green policies. These sell well with the general public and that translates into votes. Telling farmers they are part of a great industry is not enough. The CAP is genuinely based on that thinking. The European Commission recognises that the food industry is the EU's biggest manufacturing employer, delivering jobs in rural areas. That is the justification for funding the CAP.

Politicians here need to be brave enough to say that, but there is no sign of that happening. The politically correct dogma now is to pay farmers for delivering green outcomes. That needs to be challenged by the farming industry, but no matter how effective that battle is, the green lobby has already won this political beauty contest.

If that is the case, sticking with the CAP would have served farmers better, and all the talk in 2016 of a new policy to drive a progressive farming industry was just talk. Back then those out to convince farmers to vote leave – and many did so – criticised in particular the greening aspects of the CAP. They rightly scoffed at the rule as unworkable and promised a policy that would end this nonsense and put decision making back into farmers' hands within policies set at a local level.

That now looks a pipe dream, as all the major parties have their sights set on turning farmers into people valued as park-keepers rather than as food producers.

Because Brexit is such a mess, the focus has been on getting that right rather than on the support policies for agriculture that would have to underpin whatever is finally agreed with Brussels.

The government found £100 million to fund preparation for a Brexit that was never going to happen on October 31. Yet three plus years on from the referendum, no resources are being applied to come up with a workable and effective support plan for agriculture. This failure needs to be pressed with politicians seeking votes from farmers next month.

Already Boris Johnson is coming out with the old chestnut that if his deal goes through, we will definitely be out of the EU by the end of the transition period in December 2020. This is presumably as solid as his commitment to 'die in a ditch' if we did not leave the EU by October 31.

This is selling the fantasy that a trade negotiation will be easy. It will not and the stakes will be higher than in all the negotiations that have gone before. Those were about politics, but what is coming is more fundamental and complex. Claiming otherwise is another game of bluff.

The public deserve better than a election no-one wants, followed by further nonsense about how easy it will be to do a trade deal with the EU-27.