THE DECISION this week by Boris Johnson to remove UK officials from Brussels committees is part of his tactic of talking tough in the hope that Brussels will relent over the Irish backstop.

This is a high wire act, but removing officials from committees is unlikely to send a shiver of fear through the European Commission. Instead it will leave us suffering taxation – paying to be part of the EU – without representation. Far from strengthening our negotiating position it is a tactic of the playground.

The way to avoid the damage of a no deal Brexit is via good and clever diplomacy. Gestures and playing to secure accolades from the right wing of the Conservative party will not do anything to find a sensible compromise that will ensure a future for industries like agriculture.

No amount of bluster and PR spin will head off the reality that every voice in agriculture is warning that a no deal Brexit would be destructive. This would be particularly so in Scotland, with its dependence on livestock. However with the tactics coming from the government we are now far beyond a debate of the merits or otherwise of Brexit for the economy.

We are instead locked into a game of political dogma. Do or die and damn the consequences come October 31 is the new mantra. Despite meetings with European leaders this week, Johnson has little interest in compromise. He wants us to get into a position where he can use bluster and his magic money tree to call an election and cement his position as prime minister. Those, including agriculture, that would lose out are collateral damage, and welcome as his £160 million is to right wrongs in Scottish agriculture, it is not going to solve the problems of a no deal Brexit.

People had many reasons for voting for Brexit. For many this was based around the fact that they have never felt European; there is also a distrust of the Franco/German alliance in the EU. There were major issues around sovereignty. These are all understandable, but as the government tries to portray itself as a future equal partner with the United States on the world stage, a reality check is needed. We may speak something close to the same language and watch their television programmes, but we are not Americans. The language might be the same but our social and other values are different.

There is little point in swapping concerns about sovereignty in Europe to find Washington dictating instead. A prime example was a recent comment over the UK digital taxation bill to get mainly American businesses in the retail and IT sector to pay a fairer level of tax. The Washington response was that unless this was dropped there could be no trade deal. Sabre rattling perhaps, but not the sovereignty freedom people expected when opting to leave the EU.

In reality the US and Trump in particular seems to have the approach, again of the playground, that you cannot be my friend if you are their friend. The UK, after Brexit, wants a sound trading relationship with both the EU and US, although one with the EU would deliver more for the economy.

A trade deal with the US has become the biggest target for the government. Trump is using this to drive a wedge between London and the European countries he dislikes over NATO contributions and other issues, including his bizarre suggestion of buying Greenland from Denmark.

For agriculture we need to be realistic. There is little prospect of selling to the US the commodities we sell to the EU-27. It is awash with beef from feedlots; it is not a big consumer of lamb and already has import deals for it with the southern hemisphere; the same applies to pork, poultry and just about every dairy product.

There are specialist niches, but that is not what agriculture needs. We need stable, reliable markets in countries with a cost structure similar to our own. That is not on offer in the US, which is a massive food exporter. We need reliable trading partners that will not confuse trade with domestic political policies. That too is not on offer in Trump's US.

Above all we need to avoid cheap food imports that would destroy our domestic market and hopes of doing business with the EU-27. But cheap food imports are certainly what would be on offer with a US trade deal.