Amidst continuing gloom over the pandemic and uncertainty over the post-Brexit transition, a ray of light and optimism comes shining through to cheer up Britain.

The source of this happier story is the agreement in principle on a new U.K.-Japan trade agreement. This is without reservation good news — for the U.K., for Japan and for the unlocking again of open world trade, which was, and still is, threatening to become bogged down in a quagmire of protectionism and Trumpian belligerence.

The agreement in principle has been welcomed in both houses of Parliament at Westminster, even though the full details are yet to be revealed and even though some of the voices of approval elsewhere in the media, who still think the main U.K. future lies in Europe, such as the Financial Times, have been distinctly grudging in nature. These critics have been further dismayed by the likelihood that the new deal will prove noticeably better than the existing EU-Japan accord cemented last year.