I had a light bulb moment about Brexit when watching Clarkson's Farm – I know, having worked in that medium for many years, all television is fantasy and entertainment the name of the game.

However the battle between Clarkson and the local council over planning permission for his restaurant hit a nerve. Objections read like a list of all the things we were told were wrong with EU – red tape; dark skies preservation, parking for bicycles, areas of outstanding natural beauty, biodiversity – an endless list of hoops to be jumped through that would blunt the enthusiasm of even the most determined entrepreneur.

The reality is that since Brexit, there has been no convenient Big Brother in Brussels to blame for these coils of red tape strangling good ideas. What we are doing is entirely home grown and reflects the reality that few, if any, of the opportunities Brexit was supposed to create have happened.

The light bulb moment was the confirmation that long before Brexit, the EU and Brussels were not the problem when it came to red tape. The UK approach was always to gold plate regulations from Brussels – to seek an A star at A level, when the other 27 member states were happy to get through with a GCSE pass grade.

They ticked the box with Brussels, while the UK grew the box as big as it could. The same officials and politicians who did this, while pointing the finger at Brussels, are still in charge and under Brexit have a green light to regulate their own fiefdoms.

The message from those seeking a vote to leave the EU was an escape from bureaucracy, but that was never going to happen. Red tape and risk avoidance are hard-wired into the UK system and that will not change, in the absence of politicians demanding it happens.

This is not to portray the EU as a beacon of freedom. It is, in fact when it comes to agriculture, no better than the UK in pursuing green policies at the expense of food production.

It, too, is worshipping at the alter of net zero, but at least has the decency to do so with an open cheque book and some commitment to maintaining the family farm as central to the European economic model for rural areas.

It is no better or worse than the UK, but Brussels was not making commitments about freedom from red tape back in 2016. Those promises of a new, progressive era for agriculture have proved as lacking in truth as other Brexit promises, not least the funds it would create for the NHS.

Clarkson has, rightly, won praise for bringing the tough reality of post-Brexit agriculture to a wider audience and his battles with bureaucracy strike a chord with every farmer. Given what has happened since, we would be in an ideal position mow to challenge the many commitments of Brexit enthusiasts in 2016.

But that would be a pointless exercise, since those leading the agricultural charge have mostly already been caught in their own trap of lies far beyond Brexit.

Less controversially, the EU has published its agri-food trade statistics for 2022. These confirm that, despite the global upheaval in food markets, the EU remained the world's biggest agri-trader, with a an impressive £46bn positive balance of trade gap between exports and imports.

In 2022, exports rose, but imports rose more in value terms because of massive inflation in the cost of key products the EU needed to import, including soya, vegetable oil and maize. Cereals were the EU's number one export, followed by dairy.

In terms of exports and despite all the fears around the impact of Brexit, the UK remained the number one export market for agriculture and food. It accounted for 20% of EU trade, followed by the US and China.

This is a reciprocal trade for the UK, with exports to the EU confirming the ability of businesses to get around regulations created by politicians putting road blocks and lack of support in their way.

Brazil is the EU's biggest source of imports, followed by the UK. However, the source of that big balance of trade gap is evident, with the UK accounting for 9% of imports but 20% of EU exports. Brexit or not, this confirm that for agriculture the EU remains our nearest and most valuable market – a reality politicians in London 2choose to ignore.