ONE WAY or the other, a general election will clear the political air.

Whether that clearer air will bring the certainty people want is still open to question. We are facing a general election that will be dominated by Brexit, rather than by the policy priorities of the government we will potentially have for five years.

The reasoning of MPs in backing Boris Johnson's call for an election are many. There was a growing belief that the present stalemate, in chess terms, could only be ended by starting a new game. In Scotland, the SNP are obviously hoping to grab back some seats from the Conservatives, who enjoyed a resurgence in 2017.

South of the border, the Liberal Democrats are hoping that remain sentiment will translate into votes, despite the reality being that centre parties generally end up getting squeezed.

Labour had no options other than to allow their bluff to be called. They are behind in the polls with a weak leader, but still hope to pull off a shock outcome. If this does not happen, they will no doubt change their leader to make themselves electable at a future general election.

In Northern Ireland, the DUP's days as king-makers at Westminster are over, Given how their relationship with the Conservatives collapsed in the end there will be few tears from most UK politicians over that outcome.

With the firing gun for the election fired, the game is finally afoot, as Sherlock Holmes often said to Watson. Farmers are well aware that this needed to happen to bring about a resolution of the Brexit issue. It has been clear for some time that with the country and parliament so deeply divided, compromise was impossible. There has to be a winner, and with the election secured, Boris Johnson must be feeling that he has won round one. The election may bring the start of a new chapter people want. It may finally put us on the road to a new agricultural policy for the UK that we were promised in 2016. It may bring certainty and for most people, whether they voted leave or remain, that is what they crave. If it can be achieved it will finally allow farmers to plan a business future.

If that all sounds positive there are some huge caveats. If the Conservatives win the election and go for a tough Brexit that will add pressure to the campaign for Scotland to remain part of the EU. Politics apart, that will create fresh uncertainty for agriculture. A more immediate threat is that the commitment to maintain support at levels equivalent to the CAP will end with the dissolution of this parliament. This was only guaranteed until then, and it had been assumed this would be until 2022. All bets will now be off, and the pressure is on the farming lobby to get this commitment written into the manifestos of the parties likely to form the next government. This is crucial, given that we are a long way from having either the budget or the structures for an independent UK agricultural policy.

There is talk that the aim is to have an election completed and Brexit done by the end of December. That might be the theory, but given that the policy of all the major parties is to secure a trade deal with the EU-27 we will only be at the start of a long and challenging road. The next UK government will have to negotiate with the EU. The aim will be a trade deal as close as is possible to the current arrangements. Achieving that and the ability to conclude separate global trade deals will be a difficult circle to square. Those who suggest Brexit will be easy after the election need to be robustly challenged.

An election in the run up to Christmas is as desirable as the proverbial hole in the head, but it is happening and hopefully it will bring about the certainty we all want. No-one should have any false hopes however that the end will come quickly. To paraphrase Churchill, admired by Boris Johnson despite being an advocate of closer European ties, this is not the end, or even the beginning of the end – but it might finally be the end of beginning of Brexit. Churchill said that in 1942 – three years after the start of the Second World War, and crucially when there were still three years of war ahead.