For the UK 2024 will bring a general election. The timing remains a gamble for a government seeking to make the best of the bad hand it has to play. June will bring elections to the European parliament and once those are out of the way a new five-year European Commission.

That means the present parliament and Commission are now effectively lame duck institutions, while at Westminster politician are marking time to the general election, trying to make sure they avoid decisions that would damage their prospects.

Hopes for greater stability in agriculture come from global markets. The fallout from the war in Ukraine and the spike in food price inflations is beginning to ease. We are back to a more familiar era when shocks will again come from the weather – the difference now is that weather events are more extreme because of climate change. In theory, this should make food security a more important issue.

We came close to that happening over the past two years, but just as farmers thought they had won the day, with the issue moving up the political agenda, it came crashing down again. People soon forget supply and price pressures when supermarket shelves return to normal.

That was a missed opportunity to build a more radical approach around quality and short supply chains.

It should have been easier in the UK, because of the isolation created by Brexit, but the vision to make it happen was not there. Instead, the government wanted easy trade deals and imported food, and the opportunity to be different faded away.

We know now that if the change of heart needed for that to happen was not there over the past two years it is not going to happen in the more normal waters we are in now. That was a missed opportunity and ironically food security remains higher on the EU agenda than in the UK.

For the new year, we are back in familiar green territory. That is the mantra for governments here and across the EU. That generates more interest – and politicians believe votes – than a recognition that we live in a world more uncertain than has been the case for decades. Weather patterns will create more intense food shortages; we are more vulnerable to these, thanks to our dependence on long supply chains and recently we have seen threats to world shipping.

These include restrictions in the Middle East and a dried up Panama Canal. These events had a minimal impact on food markets, but they are an indication of our vulnerability and confirm why politicians are wrong not to address food security as a major political issue.

When it comes to politics the EU situation is more complex than in the UK. Here, unless all polls are dramatically wrong, we will be back to a Labour government.

As is almost always the case, that will be because the government in power will lose, rather than the other side winning. People are in the mood for change; they have lost faith in the government after the chaos of four prime ministers since Brexit.

The looming question is whether the Conservative Party can only heal divisions by splitting to the right and centre. This has been coming since John Major's time as prime minister and now a split could be the only solution to blood letting and instability.

At a European level the old certainties around a centralist, green agenda look less certain. The end of present European Commission will end its Green Deal to drive net zero, and it is uncertain what will replace it. The EU is drifting to the right, as we have seen with governments in Poland, Hungary, Italy, and the Netherlands.

France, Germany, and even some of the traditionally liberal countries are being tempted by anti-immigration parties. That could change the shape of the new European Parliament and Commission, confirming the old Chinese curse of being forced to live in interesting times.

Forecasts, of course, are just reasoned guesses.

In the words of Harold Macmillan, when he was prime minister, politics were driven by 'events, dear boy, events' rather than logic.