The governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, is not known for his sense of humour. That is not surprising, given the economic realities he faces in his job.

The Covid crunch has given way to being forced to keep down interest rates when inflation is far beyond the Bank's 2% target. However this week, as things went from bad to worse across the economy, he asked whether a biblical plague of locusts would be the next thing to happen.

For survival, populations have three essentials – shelter, food and fuel. In the UK, two of those are now in crisis. The fuel crisis is partly down to panic buying, but the food crisis runs deeper and is getting worse because of policies that restrict labour on farms and in food processing. The big question is whether this is down to Brexit or Covid.

If you are a member of the UK government, you have to stick to the mantra that Covid is the driver. However while that may be partly true, there is undoubtedly a Brexit element. This is easily confirmed by looking at supermarket shelves in the EU 27. There are no gaps and no supply problems, except for M&S stores in Paris relying on British food. There is also no shortage of labour on farms or in processing plants, as people move within the EU to where their skills are in demand.

The position in the UK is becoming increasingly bizarre. There are reports of vegetables being left to rot in fields because there is no labour to harvest them. Farmers offering a wage that would equate to over £50,000 a year found no takers and reports suggests those who try the job often give up after a few days. This week it emerged that the daffodil harvest in England saw over 270 million flowers left to rot because seasonal pickers were not available. This cost the government more than £1 million in lost VAT alone on the cut flowers.

This is a sorry picture and it has little to do with Covid. Instead it is down to the UK government, in its Brexit negotiations, viewing any free movement of labour as something that would dilute the purity of the Brexit it wanted.

This is just the tip of the iceberg that formed from the elusive concept of sovereignty being put ahead of the realities of market access and business. That decision is also the source of the Northern Ireland protocol and all that has flowed from it, both practically and politically. The 'plague of locusts' comment had an element of truth, in that things have conspired to make a bad situation worse. Lack of wind has hit power from the government's favourite source. That has combined with rocketing gas prices, the green dash away from coal and lack of decision making over nuclear power.

There is a real need for a big political reset over how jobs are viewed. We all need to accept that there is dignity in hard work that must be respected and admired more than the adulation meted out to vacuous celebrities. The HGV lorry driver crisis has its roots in government policies making that job less and less attractive. Drivers face a sea of regulation and are daily victims of the anti-motorist policies. If the government wants to end this crisis for good, the answer does not lie in issuing pointless short term visas for European drivers from now to Christmas. It needs a root and branch reform of policy to make the job more economically and socially attractive. The farm and food industry labour crisis is equally pressing and while less visible in the media,is more easily solved.

Ministers need to accept that we have created a society where people do not want to do the jobs foreign labour was happy to do before Brexit. They must make clear that those who produce food, process it, stack supermarket shelves and sell food are at the core of a stable society. Food security must be seen as a priority and that cannot go hand in hand with a poorly respected workforce and long supply chains. If it comes at a cost, that must be a cost worth paying for consumers. For the government it is coming down to a simple choice – a pure Brexit, or pragmatic, sensible policies that will keep supermarket shelves full and exports to Europe flowing.