BACK IN the early 1990s Ray MacSharry was the EU farm commissioner. His reform plans made weekly farming headlines and a group of us in the press room reported the latest twists and turns on CAP reform.

Of that group of journalists, two went on to become spokesmen for farm commissioners. One this week however really hit the heights, becoming the UK prime minister. His ambition to take on Brussels for his own ends is much the same as it was back then.

Boris Johnson was the Daily Telegraph's man in Brussels. His brief from the then editor, Max Hastings, was to highlight the excesses of the European Commission and its mania for regulation. He met this brief perfectly, often with stories that if not entirely true contained sufficient truth to annoy commission officials. He loved bendy cucumber type stories; he described the newly-launched IACS forms as a 'European Doomsday book' in which the movement of every beast and blade of grass would be recorded in Brussels. He was a brilliant writer and entertaining company, but he was single-minded then about what he wanted to achieve and that has not changed.

Despite having been brought up in Brussels his goal was to show that London and Brussels were on different tracks. He appeared to believe then that membership of the then EC was a mistake Britain would eventually correct; he and his newspaper loathed the influence of the Franco-German alliance. In many ways Brexit is the ultimate outworking of his journalistic approach then, which eventually saw the commission setting up a unit to counter what would now be deemed 'fake news' in the London media. Having delivered on those goals it is ironic that Hastings recently described Johnson as someone 'utterly unfit' to be prime minister. However he now has the job he believed he was destined for since he entered politics.

How long the Johnson era will be is open to question. Even with support from the DUP his Commons majority is wafer thin. The anti-no deal Conservatives will be the same thorn in his flesh that the Brexiteers were to his predecessors right back to John Major. The bottom line remains that he was made prime minister thanks to the votes of fewer than 100,000 people out of 60 million. He has a lot to prove to others.

Close to thirty years on from those days in Brussels his acceptance speech this week confirmed that he has lost none of his bravado or communication skills. He was never a detail man; he was never someone to let the facts get too much in the way of a good story. However as prime minister he will have to spread his focus well beyond Brexit; detail and issues far beyond Brexit will demand his time and he will have to stop being a one-trick pony. He was a poor and disinterested foreign secretary, but issues in Iran will be more pressing for him on day one than Brexit.

He is now like a comedian that people paid to see who has stormed onto the stage to great applause. However to succeed he has to be really funny, and even for the best comedians that is never easy. Like any politician he promised the earth to get elected, but now that he has the job he can back-pedal or fudge those commitments.

What he told the Tory faithful he would secure from Brussels is almost certainly undeliverable. However Johnson has sufficient backing in the party to dress up not a lot of change as more than it is to get it through. His promise to deliver Brexit by the end of October, do or die, is equally undeliverable because of the voting arithmetic of the House of Commons.

It is unlikely that agriculture will be on the Johnson radar at this stage but the Scottish farming lobby will not let him off the hook on his promise to deliver extra funds. However the real challenge goes far beyond that. Agriculture needs new support structures agreed and put in place, whether it is do or die or not at the end of October.

It also needs assurances about access to markets and a commitment that the industry will not be swamped by a surge of cheap imports. These issues are more important than convergence payments for the long term health of the industry. They are complex and about detail, but that is central to moving from radical commentator to prime minister.