Academia is delighted that the UK is finally back in the fold of the genuinely world-leading European Horizon research programme, albeit only as an associate member, and with no freedom of movement our ability to build the kind of international teams on which scientific research depends remains highly compromised.  

But still, it is undoubtedly a step in the right direction, given that the UK’s unilateral decision to leave the programme in 2020 has had a disastrous effect on our scientific prowess.

Now prime minister Rishi Sunak is said to be seeking an agreement by which we would be able to return immigrants arriving on our shores via unorthodox routes to the EU country from which they came; similar in fact to the Dublin Agreement, which the UK unilaterally left as part of the Brexit process, leaving us very much less in control of our borders.

Meanwhile, the UK government has decided to abandon plans to introduce a UK-based quality mark, and instead stick to the tried-and-tested European CE mark, which we unilaterally decided to jettison as part of the Brexit process.  

Perhaps you are spotting a pattern here: the realisation is finally dawning that in so many ways, trying to go it alone makes life worse, not better, for our country.

Whatever your views on Brexit, one undeniable benefit of our time in the EU was clarity in food labelling.  

I’m not talking about made-up stories about trying to ban straight bananas (a straight lie, by the way, peddled by those who would seek to discredit the EU for political purposes); what I’m referring to are the rules which help shoppers understand exactly what is in the food and drink that we consume.

Often, EU law has grown out of good ideas from individual countries, and in this field the French have frequently led the way.  

The concept of protecting the names of regional foodstuffs, for example, was based around the French appellation contrôlée system for wine.  

It is thanks to this regulation that Melton Mowbray pork pies, Stilton cheese and Fenland celery, to name but three, are protected from fake interlopers from elsewhere (and it is high time that Cromer crabs joined that list).

Now there is news that a long-running battle which has been raging in France is coming to a head, with the publication of a decree by the French government banning foods which are largely based on non-animal products from being labelled as if they were meat.

What this means in practice is that oxymoronic terms such as ‘vegan ham’, ‘plant-based steak’ and ‘vegan cheese’ will be banned.  The French agriculture minister has said that the decree is ‘an issue of transparency and honesty, responding to the legitimate expectations of consumers and producers’.

Personally, I think it is a good thing is the makers of ‘vegan bacon’ or ‘vegetarian sausages’ will have to find a more truthful description of their product.  You can just imagine the fuss there would be if meat producers marketed ‘pork-based carrots’.

I have never understood why, if you have made the decision that you don’t want meat in your diet, that you would choose to eat products that have the appearance, texture and even something approaching the taste of meat.

This new decree does not ban these ‘fake meat’ products at all; it simply aims to make their marketing more honest, removing any claim that they are in any way connected to the non-vegetarian foods they are trying to emulate.

Vegetarian activists constantly – and often rightly - call for clearer labelling of meat products; they can’t have it both ways and turn a blind eye to misleading or plain wrong names given to meat-free produce.  

If we want to tackle the dissembling and plain dishonesty which is prevalent in our food industry, then those standards should apply to everyone.

Maybe 30 years ago when vegetarian food was very much consigned to the margins of the supermarkets, you could have made a case for food producers to dress up their meat-free products in a way which might appeal to the almost exclusively carnivorous consumer.  

But meat-free and plant-based diets are very much part of the mainstream now, so there is no excuse to carry on with that deception.

We all like to think we are too intelligent to fall for devious marketing tricks, but the truth is that pretty much all of us are duped to some degree.  

So the move on the other side of the English Channel to increase clarity and labelling honesty is to be welcomed – and something we should emulate here in the UK.