SEPTEMBER and the schools are back, and at Westminster politicians are again behaving like school children over Brexit. Indeed if they were children, you would bang their heads together – if that is still allowed – and send them to their respective rooms. They would only emerge when they were ready to find a way to agree to disagree, without throwing their toys out of the proverbial pram.

In the face of the greatest economic change in decades, many Conservative politicians are consumed not by the good of the country, but by their own ambition. Those that are most guilty are well known and they need to decide whether they are right to believe that the end always justifies the means.

They are apparently willing to pull down a Prime Minister doing her best with a difficult hand, and even to see the government collapse. If the Labour opposition were not equally self-absorbed over internal politics they would not risk the Conservative party, which they claim to support, losing an election.

For those across the UK more worried about real issues, such as the future of their businesses and whether they will still have a job if there is a slash and burn exit from the EU, this is depressing. It does not now matter how someone voted back in June 2016 – we are leaving the EU and need a deal with our biggest trading partner. Politicians need to accept that and forget about pie in the sky trade deals with the United States or a rebirth of our relationship with the few economically stable countries of the Commonwealth.

A good deal will be one that gives us the best of both worlds. That is what Theresa May is trying to achieve, as is the Brexit minster, Dominic Rabb. Despite all that is going on at Westminster, this Brexit-supporting minister has achieved more in Brussels in weeks than his predecessor did in a year.

This is why, despite the Westminster pantomime, the odds still favour a deal. For now the key figures on both sides – Dominic Rabb and Theresa May for the UK and Michel Barnier for the European Commission – are taking tough public lines. However no-one outside the eurosceptics of the Conservative party actually believe these players mean what is being said.

Both sides want and indeed need a deal; both sides also need an outcome that will save face and not make matters worse. Unless Boris Johnson and his supporters have the nerve to pull the trigger and risk a general election, it seems likely that Mrs May will survive the Conservative party conference.

Beyond that it looks unlikely now that a deal will be done in time for the EU heads of state summit in October. That is not, as some suggest, a deadline. It is more likely a deal will be struck in December, but there is no reason why negotiations cannot continue well into the New Year. That is how CAP reform has been achieved since the 1980s, and there is no reason for Brexit to be different.

As to what the deal will be, that is more difficult to forecast, but it will almost certainly be close to the single market model. That would be a good outcome for agriculture, since it would pose the least threat to stable markets. At the same time it would prevent the government from throwing the UK market open to cheap food as part of trade deals it wants to pursue.

This makes more sense than the Canadian style free trade deal some in the Tory party advocate. That was put in place for low level trade between two countries. The UK relationship is very different, because for both the UK and EU-27, they are each other's biggest markets. It is also worth remembering that when the government enthuses about a trade deal with the US, it would be with a President who tears up rule books when he does not get his way, and is now threatening to pull the US out of the World Trade Organisation.

Compared to that, the EU is a stable trading partner. Strip away the rhetoric and the politics and Dominic Rabb is saying he is 'stubbornly optimistic' a deal will be struck. Barnier is talking in terms of an 'unprecedented close relationship'. That is where the reality lies. The politics are just knockabout that has left us all despairing about those who fail to put the nation's interests ahead of their own political aspirations.