Hamlet bewailed that for him ‘the time was out of joint’ and when it comes to writing about Brexit this week, I share his views.

This will be the week when, one way or the other, we will finally be in the endgame. Despite leaving writing this to the last minute, I am too wise to risk making predictions.

As things stand there is a good chance of a deal with Brussels. If that happens, it will be just about the same as the deal negotiated by Theresa May.

The European Commission will be seen to have stood its ground; at Westminster the government will move into top gear to spin that it did deliver change. People will make up their own minds.

The bigger test for Boris Johnson will be whether he can get any deal through the House of Commons. The odds are against him, but he is not the only MP whose ability to compromise will be tested.

Those who have stood out against no deal also face a big test. A deal, by definition, is not a no deal outcome. It will be far from perfect, but it would avoid the no deal result the UK farm unions have warned would be catastrophic.

If they put politics ahead of country, neither side will be easily forgiven by people who simply want some stability and certainty. Any deal will only be the starter for more negotiations with the EU that would, hopefully, produce an outcome as close as possible to the free trade arrangements we have now.

That process would be helped if we can finally get the politics of Brexit out of the way. That can only happen if the trade negotiations are rooted in a mutual acceptance of the need for fairness.

The EU’s new trade commissioner, Phil Hogan, will be in the driving seat. He needs to set aside his personal view that Brexit was a wrong-headed decision.

Equally, the UK needs to accept that the EU-27 is and will remain its biggest and most profitable trading partner. It needs to focus on that and forget pie in the sky dreams of global trade deals.

With a population of 60m the UK is simply not a big player on the global trade stage. If deals can only be achieved by dismantling trade barriers, at a risk to trade with the EU-27, they will be of questionable value.

This applies in particular to agriculture, which risks losing its best markets while being swamped with cheap, poor quality food from third countries. The trade status quo will serve farming best and hopefully, when we get the dead hand of politics out of the way, that will become more apparent in the policies pursued.

When proper politics prevail the need for a sound system to replace the CAP will be top of the list for agriculture. The omens do not look encouraging. Progress depends on having an engaged Defra minister in London.

Michael Gove was moving in the right direction. Now with Theresa Villiers, it is back to the drawing board on the agriculture and environment bill.

If the comments in the Queen’s Speech in parliament are anything to go by, we are on our way to a very green policy. There is talk of higher animal welfare standards, despite the UK already having some of the highest in the world. There is no evidence change is needed and that this decision is based solely on the politics of its appeal to the general public.

This flies in the face of post-Brexit claims that legislation should be based on need, not politics.

As to the claim in the speech that agricultural support would be for delivering public goods, farmers already do that as is evident to anyone driving through the Scottish countryside. What is now in the offing is a bureaucratic, box-ticking exercise where farmers will be rewarded from a list for environmental delivery.

The objective will be to please the armchair warrior greens that influence political parties without any real understanding of the countryside or food production.

This contrasts with the view of the EU farm commissioner elect, Janusz Wojciechowski, who said his aim would be to ensure EU farmers are globally competitive producers of food. That is a concept we seem set to leave behind with the post-Brexit support model.

That is not what farmers who voted leave in 2016 thought they would get.