BORIS JOHNSON'S Zoom speech to the Tory faithful was a classic 'jam tomorrow' effort. With jobs being lost by the tens of thousands, he put a green plan at the forefront on his economic thinking. He suggested that by 2030 the UK would be self-reliant on energy from offshore turbines. Like his claim that there would be no social distancing by this time next year, this does not stand up to scrutiny.

It was unfortunate that his speech did not focus on the green success and potential of agriculture. Instead, like Don Quixote, Johnson tilted at windmills that do not exist. Agriculture did not even get a mention. Maintaining and strengthening UK food and farming standards would deliver more rapid and meaningful green successes than focussing solely on carbon reduction. That would not however sit well with the government's plan to open the UK to cheap food imports, many of which are at the opposite end of the green spectrum to what is delivered by UK and indeed EU-27 agriculture.

A Conservative leader's speech on green issues with no mention of food and farming served only to confirm that a metropolitan elite now runs what was once the party of the English shire countries.

The speech also contained no real references to Brexit. This was the single issue that brought Johnson to power. Like the turbines, the promises then of what Brexit would deliver proved to be on sandy foundations. As we get closer to the compromise that will be the final deal, the rhetoric is being wound back. Compromise is in the air and hopefully that will deliver a secure outcome for farming. It needs stable markets; it needs continuing access to our nearest, biggest and best market for most commodities. What is does not need is to become a pawn in a desperate battle to forge new global trade deals.

If the deal being debated becomes the basis of the final UK/EU trade deal Brexit will be more about spin than substance. This underlines that all politics need to be taken with a pinch of salt when they come up against economic reality. That is without pointing out that Johnson once dismissed turbines as being incapable of generating the power needed to pull the skin off a rice pudding. This is political knockabout, but the government at Westminster must never be allowed to pursue green fantasies, while forgetting about the the greenest UK industry, which is both a commercial and environmental success story.

Away from the depressing hothouse of Westminster, there have been less dramatic stories this week. In Europe there is a new war over the veggie burger and demands for meat terms to be banned for plant based products. A group of MEPs wants the European Commission to use EU regulations to protect the meat industry against its terms being usurped by manufacturers of plant based foods.

Terms like butter, cream and milk are already protected, in that an EU regulation defines these as the product of the mammary gland of an animal. The MEPs want similar protection for meat and are using veggie burgers as an example. This sounds a good idea, but it is one unlikely to make legislation. Green issues and plant based foods are now deemed politically correct. More significantly, legislation is opposed by some of Europe's biggest multinationals that see new market opportunities in plant based products.

On a similar theme it looked to be good news when the new owners of Asda said they would sell only British beef, joining Lidl, Aldi and Morrison's with that commitment. This is what farmers want and time and the supply situation will confirm whether these commitments can be maintained.

Coming on top of already dire warnings in Ireland about the potential impact of Brexit this is another huge blow for the Irish meat industry. It may make its government less bellicose when it comes to negotiations over a Brexit trade deal. But there are dangers in this policy, if it is applied by others. We need to be a trading nation and we need others to be the same to have a market for products that depend on exports. If the big supermarket chains in France or Germany go down a similar nationalistic route we would be the losers with lamb. In celebrating this outcome it could well be a case of being careful about what you wish for.