It is a fact of political life, regardless of party, that the electorate eventually lose confidence in a party in power. For the government at Westminster this has been accelerated by Partygate, runaway inflation the government cannot control and a surge in strikes that, like inflation, reawaken bad memories of the 1970s.

That this is happening against the background of a zero economic growth forecast for 2023 adds to the sense that people have lost faith in the government, less than three years after a Brexit-driven landslide general election victory. Whatever policies it now pursues end up looking too little, too late – and too often more about political spin than practical plans.

The new Food Bill beginning its parliamentary process is a prime example. It makes the right noises about the importance of local food production and the need for the public sector to show a greater commitment to buying locally. Those are worthy concepts, but the legislation lacks the drive and teeth to make that happen. It remains hampered by food policy being linked to green and obesity issues, although campaigners are not happy with what they see as a watering down of some of these aspects of the legislation.

This should leave farmers happy that the government is taking seriously the concerns they have raised. However there are aspects of policy that still appear contradictory. Westminster makes the right noises about food quality and production in the UK, but that cannot sit easily with a trade policy based around opening the UK market to tariff-free or tariff-reduced products from overseas.

The Bill was used by ministers to claim it was an example of Brexit delivering new freedom to shape policy. On that basis the government has set itself up for a simple comparison. With food prices rising by the day, and with no end in sight, the simple question is whether it is handing this as well as, or better than the EU.

This is a complex issue, but London has not nailed its colours to the mast to the degree the EU has on the vital importance of food security. Brussels has embarked on both medium and long term plans not only to boost EU food production, but to reduce reliance on imported inputs in agriculture. Last week it set out, with a fair degree of detail for consumers, the 17 steps it is taking to tackle food security. These range from aid to developing countries through efforts in Ukraine to release blockaded grain to practical steps to boost production on set aside land and aid European farmers to ease the impact of rising costs.

It would have been good to see the UK government adopting such a positive approach. This may be not much more than Brussels spin and confidence building, but beyond a Food Bill, a similar message would help convince people the government really does have a plan to tackle the biggest threat facing consumers today.

One part of the Bill that was certainly welcome was the commitment to create a framework for the introduction of gene editing. This is very different to genetic modification (GM) in that it effectively accelerates conventional breeding techniques within the same genome. It was unfortunate the minister responsible at Defra, George Eustice, opted to muddy the science by presenting this as a Brexit success.

This was on grounds that the UK was now free of the more cautious hand of Brussels. There is some truth in that and in the EU there are some powerful voices within the European parliament and beyond against gene editing, or in Brussels-speak 'genomic techniques'. However in contrast to its traditional hostility towards GM, the European Commission and its scientific institutions are generally in favour of gene editing, albeit at a slower rate than the UK because 27 member states have to be on board.

This is a good example of a situation where Brexit could make the UK fleet of foot, but research delivers better results from collaboration than competition. In general the greater the collaboration the speedier and better the results are likely to be. This is good science, but the government needs to be honest with people and tell them it is a medium to long term solution to agricultural productivity. The snag is that what people want a quick fix. So while the Bill gets an A on gene editing, it barely scrapes a C grade for tackling food security.