When French farmers were burning lorry loads of British lamb or emptying Spanish wine tankers’ contents onto the road it was hard to resist the headline, ‘French farmers are revolting’.

French farmers traditionally led the way in terms of anger and direct action – but now others are taking up that challenge. The threat from farmer anger has spread across the EU. More and more rural communities are determined to tell net zero supporting politicians enough is enough and that it is wrong to single out agriculture as the source of the problem and the solution.

The latest anger came in Germany, earlier this month. Across the country farmers, with their tractors, took to the roads to make their point. The most graphic example was a cavalcade of tractors and farmers at the symbolic Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

This was very much a case of mission accomplished, in terms of headlines secured, but it is less clear whether it had any impact on politicians seeking to raise the duty on diesel used in agriculture. Whether it is concern over tax moves, subsidy cuts, imports, or above all EU-imposed restrictions on livestock productivity protests are evidence of a deeper issue across Europe.

That is a feeling in rural communities that politicians are not listening to the views of these people, or indeed have any interest in heeding their concerns.

The German protests brought out something that is a growing cause for concern in the EU. When farmers attempted to stop a German government minister and his family from boarding a ferry to return home, the far right was reportedly involved in this attempt to wind up the heat of the protest.

It did not deny this was the case, and at a stroke, this undermined the carefully planned protest by the main German farm unions. This has happened elsewhere, with rural protests being used to highlight concerns from anti-immigration groups. When this happens it does not help the case rural communities are seeking to make about being cut out of political dialogue and ignored. That is however fertile ground for parties that seek to exploit people’s dissatisfaction with mainstream politics to further their own ends. In Germany, this has become more talked about as an issue that the legitimate concerns farmers were raising with their widespread and with one exception peaceful and good-humoured protests.

At the root of this problem is that farmers are no longer respected as food producers. This has been driven by relentless attacks by the green lobby on just about everything farmers do to produce food. This rhetoric has been accepted by politicians looking for a cause they believe will prove attractive to voters.

This is being made worse by the EU’s relentless pursuit of green demands based on restrictions on livestock productivity and an unworkable conviction that a third of EU farmland can be organic by 2030. This is causing real anger in many member states, including Italy, which already has a right wing government, the Netherlands, which has just voted the extreme right into power, France, where the right is now a major political force and Ireland where years of growth to create the most productive dairy industry in Europe is being undermined. Rural communities are angry and it is a small step from that to finding an appeal in the anti-establishment, anti-EU views of the pro-nationalist far right.

This has a new edge now because come June there will be elections for a new European parliament. Control is now in the hands of the centre right Christian Democrats, but the future is unknown. Voting is often about a protest vote in member states, more about giving national parties a bloody nose, rather than European issues.

All sights this time will be on how well the far right does and how votes will go in the countries bordering Ukraine, many of which are unhappy with the EU’s open border policy on agricultural imports from there. Open to question is the degree to which any party or grouping can reflect and run with the justifiable concerns being raised by farmers and rural communities.

Whatever happens, one unanswered question, post-Brexit, will remain.

Why are farmers and rural communities in every part of the UK so ready to accept the green agenda being forced on them by Westminster – and why are they not copying farmers elsewhere by making their views known to the general public.