As Boris Johnson mounts his final push for the votes of the 150,000 Conservative party members choosing the next UK prime minister, he is becoming more hard line over Brexit.

This might make his audience feel they are getting the man they want, but he is going to have to engage reverse gear when he gets the job.

He must know real success is not about getting the job. It is about securing a deal with the EU to facilitate a Brexit he can sell, despite the fact that it will not differ greatly from the withdrawal deal he and his supporters used to topple Theresa May.

This is a reminder that behind his fun and likeable buffoon exterior, Johnson is a ruthless politician, who like Donald Trump believes that he can out-smart foes and allies alike.

July is the month in the EU when the six-month rotating presidency changes and this time there is the added twist of decisions on the new European Commission. The Finns have just taken over to guide CAP reform to conclusions – and if Johnson delivers what he says he will, by the time the Finnish presidency ends in December, the UK will have left the EU.

This week, the EU also agreed on its next commission president, the German defence minister, Ursula von der Layen, who before entering politics qualified in economics from the LSE and then transferred to medicine.

It was ironic that Nigel Farage criticised her for receiving just over 50% of votes from MEPs, when he constantly thunders that a Brexit vote from 53% of the population in 2016 is the ultimate expression of democracy and a mandate for his party. While she will not take up her post until the day after the UK is due to leave the EU, she will be involved in the negotiations – and Johnson will have a tough opponent who will not fall for the charm he believes he possesses.

With no baggage from the past negotiations and coming from Germany, which does not want a no deal Brexit, she might well give Johnson what he needs to claim success. At worst, they can swap stories of both having been brought up in Brussels by fathers who were national diplomats in the city.

Away from Brexit, the global agricultural world goes on turning, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has produced a report on prospects for agriculture over the next decade. While 10-year reports have to be treated with caution, this makes interesting reading in two areas.

The bad news is that the assumption that growth is guaranteed for agriculture, in the shape of demand growth exceeding supply growth, may be over. The good news is that the report believes the future lies in agriculture becoming more productive.

This counters claims that technology is somehow bad, when in reality meeting demand by producing more from the same area is better for the environment than bringing new land into agriculture. Making grassland farming, in particular, more productive does not alter its role as a sink to sequester carbon from the the atmosphere.

The report said that over the next 10 years, farm output will increase by around 14%. That will come from the same area of land, meaning technical efficiency in farming will be required, despite the criticism it faces from some environmentalists. That will maintain the status quo.

The report suggested that growth in demand will come from global prosperity driving the market for higher value products. Beyond that and despite continued population growth, it said markets will remain flat.

The negatives in the report are on the livestock side, particularly for beef and sheep. Here, it said demand growth will be limited and that globally the industry already has a problem now of too big a livestock population, meaning pressure on prices and painful re-adjustments.

Strip away all the economic terms in the report and for agriculture the core message is that the industry will run harder to stay still. However, the report is an answer to those who seek to criticise modern farming techniques, since without them a lot of the world would face a 14% deficit between food supply and demand.

And despite the twists and turns of Brexit, people spending their cash to buy food is ultimately more important than politics.