AS THE General Election coverage continues our cynicism meters steadily move up another notch.

This week we had claims of a cyber attack on Labour, although it is tempting to wonder what a hacker could do to make the party less electable, given the state of opinion polls. Then Boris Johnson used a big word to accuse Jeremy Corbyn of a sex act over Brexit – a word people will have looked up up only to find a more familiar term would have been the same, but less intellectually puffed up.

We had seemingly accurate claims from the SNP that no matter how people in Scotland vote they will be ignored at Westminster.

Then of course came Nigel Farage, who pulled his candidates out of contesting Conservative seats. This looked a bizarre decision, but then Farage has tried seven times without success to be elected to the Commons and had already opted not to stand. When, in time, historians write the history of Brexit he will be the Svengali figure who called the shots without being in the process. Without a single seat at Westminster he forced David Cameron to call the EU referendum. He has lurched the Tory party to the right and ended one nation Conservatism without being a member. For his gesture he will no doubt finally get to Westminster as a member of the House of Lords, helping create the dream triumvirate of Johnson, Farage and Trump the US claims will ease the road to a trade deal.

The history of Brexit, when it is written will be fascinating. The one question not being raised is how long it will be before a campaign for the UK to return to the EU gathers political weight. Conventional wisdom has it that the leave vote was achieved because younger people, who generally favour EU membership, did not bother to vote. On that basis many leave voters have, by definition, a time limited mandate. That could pave the way for a radical change of direction. By the time Brexit is eventually sorted a new generation may begin asking why we left the EU in the first place, particularly if they see living or environmental standards under pressure. Once again the old Eagles song about Hotel California holds true – we really can check out but never leave.

This is a long way from farming, but agricultural polities have been squeezed into touch for the duration of the election campaign and the creation of a new government. There are two phrases being bandied about that should however set alarm bells ringing about the consequences if, as now seems likely, Johnson is victorious in December.

The first is the oft-repeated mantra that we need to get out of the EU to secure free trade deals. Note the mention of the word free, and not just trade deals beyond the EU-27. Free trade deals can only mean an influx of cheap, lower quality food. Forget any assurances about maintaining quality standards – this would be a win-win for politicians in the shape of cheaper food as the economy falters, with farming the only loser. Such deals would also make it more difficult for us do a deal with the EU-27, because of concerns about sub standard products being relabelled for export to Europe.

Johnson loves to portray himself as an intellectual, better than the hoi polloi – to use his beloved Greek – that he wants to sweep him to an election victory. One quotation he would do well to remember is that of Einstein about the lunacy of repeating the same mistake in expectation of a different outcome.

To secure the support of Farage he has guaranteed that the transition period with the EU will not extend beyond 2020, just like he promised to die in a ditch if Brexit was not completed by October 31. The negotiation of a trade deal with the EU-27 will be a long process, and the UK will not find it easy dealing with trade commissioner, Phil Hogan.

The EU has already moved from Brexit and is ready to live with the consequence of it dragging on or no deal. The logical answer on timing our departure is that it is more important to get it right than get it quickly. But Farage has deemed otherwise to save face about withdrawing his candidates and Johnson will have to do his bidding.