French farmers were never going to be out-performed at their own game of protesting.

Like a great sporting team, they raised their game when needed, and even if practicalities did not match the rhetoric massive publicity was achieved. Their threat was to impose a ring of steel, with tractors and other machinery around Paris.

They threatened to close the giant Rungis food market and starve the city into submission in days. None of these were possible, but the threat was made and the publicity secured. Once again it was game, set, and match to ‘revolting’ French farmers.

In reality, country-wide protests by farmers in Germany had a greater scale, but in this clash of farming lobbies in two of the EU’s giants of agriculture member states the issues were the same. They are also the same issues facing farmers here but without the benefit of having Brussels to blame.

French farmers were protesting about low prices when consumers were still seeing high prices on supermarket shelves. Red tape was also a target, but the big issue was the impact of environmental regulations to deliver net zero by 2050. To protesting farmers the blame for green regulations lies with the enthusiasm of national governments to implement diktats from Brussels.

It was sentiments like these that tempted so many farmers in the UK, back in 2016, to vote for Brexit. However, we still have the same green regulations arguably even tougher and there has been no easing of red tape now we are outside the EU. To cynics this is no surprise.

We have a government in London that has no interest in rural areas and it has seized every opportunity to display and boast of its green credentials. Farmers and food production are a forgotten part of that equation. The UK also has a record for delighting in the gold-plating of all regulations and to then pursuing them with a zeal absent elsewhere.

What we lack outside the EU is any realistic hope that European style farm protests would change anything. The government is neither listening or interested and if, as seems inevitable based on polls, it changes after a general election the message to rural areas from London will remain just as green.

One common factor in both the French, German, and other farm protests in Europe is that they had to appeal to far right not to join their cause. There is no question that anti-immigrant and anti-EU integration parties are on the rise. This is particularly so in France where they remain a serious contender to seize the presidency.

A key element in their strategy, as it always has been, is to latch onto disconnect and alienation from the political process to turn that into an anti-establishment vote for them. This has a new edge because elections to the European parliament will happen in June. The expectation is that this will see a rise in the power of the far right. Farmers and others are in the mood to protest and these parties want to capitalise on those sentiments.

The leaders of the French farm unions appealed to the far right not to use their campaign for political reasons. They knew this would not be heeded and many involved in the protests are so disgusted with the mainstream they are happy to flirt with the far right.

The question is how many will support these parties to give the establishment a bloody nose in the elections.

As Belgian farmers join the French protests and seek to block access to ports the key question is whether this will fizzle out or become a Europe-wide movement. Given the European Parliament elections, the fizzle out option is less likely and this has the look of a campaign that prospective MEPs will not be able to avoid.

They may have to make a choice between traditional support for the green lobby and the direct action strength of the farming lobby and the threat from the far right. Ironically much of the farmer's anger goes back to last July and a vote in the European parliament.

The farming lobby through it had the votes to defeat the ultra-green nature restoration legislation. It had, but some MEPs abstained at the last minute, for fear of alienating the green lobby.

By doing so they sowed the whirlwind they are now facing from disgruntled farmers and the boost handed to far right parties across Europe.