Assuming there are no changes at the top between now and when a general election in 2024 it will be a battle for Downing Street between two politicians not known for their charisma.

That said, both Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer are true political animals, capable of setting their political sails to catch the wind. This week it became clear that Sunak is beginning to think that while green issues are fashionable, they are not the vote winner he needs to turn around odds decidedly against him.

In a reverse way there are parallels with Brexit at the last election. Even then, three years after the Brexit vote, it was becoming clear the policy and its economic implications had not been thought through. Despite that it proved a massive vote winner for the government. By contrast green policies have been talked about and thought through almost daily. But there is no evidence they are potential vote winners in the red wall seats Brexit turned to the Conservatives.

For Sunak his Epiphany moment was, ironically, the by-election in Boris Johnson's former seat. The Tories scraped to victory, largely because people wanted to oppose the extension of the ultra low emissions zone by the Labour party London mayor. This was a spark of hope in a lot of gloom for the Conservatives and it led to a lot of its MPs demanding that Sunak eases back on the green agenda.

This is a potential real point of difference for his party. He has already issued energy licenses for the North Sea; he is wobbling over the 2030 date to ban petrol and diesel vehicles and many of his MPs are pressing for him to be seen to be on the side of motorists overwhelmed by so-called green charges.

Behind these arguments is the claim that the UK contributes less that one per cent of global greenhouse gases, meaning that no matter what costs and lifestyle changes people face it will make no difference to a global issue. Add into this a cost of living crisis, inflation at higher levels than any other G7 member country and the green nirvana for the Conservatives, first driven by Boris Johnson, is looking more tarnished by the day.

The other side oi this coin for the Conservatives is that it finally represents an opportunity to show that Brexit can deliver, by allowing the UK to go down a different road to the EU. This is especially true in farming, where across every EU member states farmers are unhappy at the green restrictions they are facing. These will cut production and with the Nature Restoration legislation there is worse to come.

The European Commission is also determined to deliver a 50 per cent reduction in pesticide use by 2030. It too will soon find this is out of tune with public opinion. This is evident with the drift to the right from the traditionally pro-green left in many key EU member states. In Ireland this week farmers are complaining about livestock numbers there being cut to meet EU green rules, while Brazil has plans to massively expand low cost beef production.

The green debate is one that must be held; a summer of heat and rain in different parts of Europe has confirmed the reality of climate change. However we need a mature, science-led debate that links actions to results. It cannot be about virtue signalling and the UK, as a tiny polluter, wanting to be greener than the rest of the world. We cannot be punished for leading the Industrial Revolution and developing, now criticised by the green lobby, farming systems for the rest of the world.

Rather than grand gestures we need thought out policies based on small initiatives coming together to create change. This needs to start with a secure food supply based around quality and short supply chains. We need to call out at every opportunity supermarkets that extol their green virtues, while selling lamb from the southern hemisphere at the peak season here for lamb production.

We need to again be proud of our farming industry and what it achieves; we need to be proud of a history of innovation and show a determination to use that again, no matter what happens in the EU. If Sunak and his party can find fresh and truly radical green thinking, he might – just might – change the electoral odds against him.