DESPITE THE political posturing, now worse in Brussels than in London, I still believe a post-Brexit trade deal will be secured.

That could of course be proved entirely wrong from when I write this on Wednesday afternoon to when The SF is published. But any embarrassment that might bring would be swept away by the disaster it would be for agriculture. It would close off trade with out biggest market, while at the same time paving the way for food imports on a scale never envisaged in the debate around the consequences of Brexit for UK farming and food.

If a deal emerges it will be akin to opening a complicated Christmas present, but finding the instructions missing. Any deal will be complex and the list of issues to be sorted is endless. This is certainly the case in agriculture. Will our access to the single market be unfettered?; will the UK be free to import food that does not meet EU standards?; will we remain part of EU institutions, such as the market observatories?; will the UK scientists remain part of EU research programmes?; how will registration work for veterinary and other products?

This is just an off-the-top-of-the-head list and the real detail will be a much, much longer list. Any deal, or indeed no deal, will just be an opening for more negotiation in the new year.

A trade deal would clearly be good for agriculture. That goes without saying. It could also transform Boris Johnson's lacklustre leadership, finally offering evidence that he can deliver as well as bluster. If it goes wrong because the EU is again being told by France how it should behave, it will need to look to its structures before others follow the UK by leaving. This includes re-examining the veto and asking why 27 nations should allow two – France and Germany – to dictate policy direction. They disagree over Brexit, with Germany wanting a deal, but this has not stopped the French president demonstrating his Animal Farm style belief that while all are equal some are more equal than others.

That belief has always been at the heart of the French psyche. If Ireland ends up facing economic disaster from a no deal outcome, its farmers must point fingers of blame at Paris more than London. The EU, in its stance in the negotiations, has made much of solidarity and that is a concept accepted by all 27 member states. However that concept is threatened if some member states use their size and role as founding states of the original EEC to call the shots.

That will be a discussion for the EU member states when their Brexit battle is over. It will no longer be an issue for the UK. In time the EU might realise one of the things that drove Brexit was its rebuffing of all efforts to make the EU a more equal and balanced grouping of sovereign member states.

By now, if there is no deal, I have dug sufficiently deep a hole to stop digging. So in the words of Monty Python, Now for Something Completely Different. Climate change concerns have eclipsed even Brexit for news coverage, with the UK embarking on carbon reductions plans that will make the EU's Green Deal look modest. The message from the government's climate change committee is that we must drive less, fly less, avoid gas to heat homes – and inevitably eat less meat. A year on from the BBC's polemic, 'Meat, A Threat to our Planet', attempts are again being made, with slim science, to make meat eating socially unacceptable.

Support for rational debate over this has come from the European Commission's deputy director of agriculture. Michael Scammel. I first knew Scammel as a very good sheep researcher in Ireland and he has had a long and effective career in Brussels. He has said farming must accept the need for change and not be overly defensive by denying that a problem exists. However he makes clear that only 7% of greenhouse gases in Europe come from livestock and says much of the public criticism of farming is exaggerated and unfair. He also says farmers have not been given sufficient credit for the things that have changed.

Well said indeed – and proof that Brussels, more than London, is often the bastion of common sense when it comes to agriculture.