'DO OR die' is associated with things like trying to land a golf ball on a green surrounded by water – it is not generally used to refer to the management of a country, but that is now Boris Johnson's view of the October 31 Brexit deadline.

He acknowledges the problems around issues such as trade, the Irish border, the £39 billion divorce bill and so on, but he insists it is 'do or die' on that date.

This may appeal to the pro-Brexit Conservative association members in England that he is trying to court, but in his equation it will be industries like agriculture that risk death. Claims like this are more about bravado than substance. Hopefully he will be challenged over his cavalier attitude to the industries that will suffer if, in a fit of pique, he pursues a 'no deal' Brexit.

Even some Brexiteers of his party, including the trade minister Liam Fox, are warning that things are a more complex than Johnson is suggesting. For now his target is the pro-Brexit Tory faithful, but if he gets the job he will have to prove he can move beyond sound-bites to actually doing the job.

It was interesting this week that the man who first sent Boris to Brussels – the former Daily Telegraph editor Max Hastings – went on the record to say that Johnson was 'utterly unfit' to be prime minister. If he does get the job, he will have to demonstrate more breadth than his simplistic 'do or die' comment.

He will also have to get used to explaining inconvenient truths to a much tougher audience – such as the 'make-up after the break-up' picture with his girlfriend having allegedly been taken six weeks before the row of last weekend.

Regardless of which EU member state you are in, there is no Brexit solution free of financial pain. This is clearly the case in the UK, but it is also true of those reliant on trading with the UK, not least in food. Ireland is a prime example, but so too are the Netherlands, France, Germany, Poland and Denmark. The scale of that threat to agriculture was underlined by the decision to give Ireland €50 million in compensation for beef farmers hit by Brexit uncertainty.

Credit has to go to Ireland for persuading Brussels to give this funding, which will be matched by Dublin. Irish losses are as much down to the plunge in the value of sterling as they are to market problems, but the Irish have created a precedent for future support.

To the frustration of the Irish farming lobby, this aid has been tied to structural change in an industry traditionally slow to respond to market signals. The challenge for the Commission is to stop this precedent becoming a flood of demands for support to head off the impact of Brexit. It knows there will be a price for European solidarity, but with the post-2020 EU budget already strained, funds are not a bottomless pit.

This is another reason why Brussels needs a trade deal with the UK, but whoever becomes prime minister, via the Conservative party leadership contest, will need to accept that the EU will continue to put principle ahead of financial considerations. Ironically this may make it easier to persuade member states of the need for increased budget contributions.

One of the immediate challenges for Brussels will be how far the Irish precedent over beef will go. Others are looking at what happened to see if they could make a similar case, although that would depend on a match funding commitment. The possibility of support for Scotland has been raised, but that appears optimistic. A request to Brussels would have to come from the UK government. Seeking it while pursuing Brexit would be akin to running your car into a wall to claim off the insurance.

This is all the more so when the person making the case, the Defra minister Michael Gove, was one of those who three years ago drove the Brexit bus. It is also more difficult for UK farmers to show a price loss linked to the plunge in the value of sterling. However there is never any harm in asking. The wider question remains whether the UK will be as generous as the EU has been in supporting farmers, rather than environment, once we leave the EU – be that on a rational or a do or die basis.