If someone had gone to Netflix with an idea for a drama based on recent events, their producers would have deemed it too far-fetched.

Stranger Things might have become a surprise runaway hit, but even that does not rival current reality for unexpected twists. A pandemic; a war on Europe's doorstep; a government that collapsed because of lies; and a crisis in food and energy. Add into that mix hyper-inflation and, for the UK, an economy on the edge of recession, and we have good cause to wish reality was just a movie script. As in any script, just when things seem to be going better, a spanner is thrown into the mix.

For much of this year the EU has been confident that it was on course for another good grain harvest. With supplies from Ukraine out of the picture, that was important and optimism reflected good establishment of crops and a favourable spring. Then along came record breaking temperatures, which have left many key European farming areas facing drought. This has reversed optimistic yield forecasts and the EU is now suggesting production will be down on last year, but still above the five-year average.

Globally, there is more optimism, but the old adage about counting chickens applies, in that what matters is the grain that ends up in store after the harvest. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has reported a drop in global food prices for June, the third month in a row its index has fallen. This was led by grain, notably wheat, and the drop reflected optimism about the global harvest. This was however before Europe rolled back its predictions.

The May to June index drop for all food was modest at 2%, and prices are still 23% ahead of the same time last year. The drop for wheat was 6%, but prices are still almost 50% ahead of 2021. This confirms there will be no early return to an era of cheap food. While current prices are unsustainable, now that they are on a higher plateau farmers must ensure the new normality is not a return to unprofitable production.

People now value food more than in the past and respect farmers more. That is how it should be. Interestingly, in the FAO figures the only commodity that did not dip in price in June was dairy, with demand high, because of concerns about the impact drought is having on grazing and yields.

This level of volatility, even around prices likely to remain high is not healthy. Farmers, like consumers, crave stability and that remains elusive. The world is in a perfect storm of shortages and dislocation of trade from the war in Ukraine. This is driving inflation in food prices and the weather impacts are only playing a small part. The contrast is stark between what is being said in Europe about the key issues in politics and what is being said by the Conservative party leadership hopefuls.

The new Czech presidency of the EU has confirmed that food security will remain at the top of its agenda for the rest of the is year and beyond. An EU debate is continuing about how far environmental policies can go against that absolute need for food security. It says it remains committed to eliminating chemical pesticides, but it is hard to match this to food availability without a reliance on imports. This is however what debate around food policy is all about and it is realistic, provided it is against a background of delivery without compromising food security.

By contrast the Conservative party hopefuls have been pedalling fantasy economics that make as much sense as fantasy sports leagues. They are suggesting they have worked out how to cut taxes, while maintaining public spending in the short term for an economy facing zero growth in 2023 and potentially a recession by the time they grab the reins of power. This is impossible, and promising it is building a campaign on lies, which is ironic when it was lies that brought about the demise of Boris Johnson.

As the race tightens they are seeking only to please the 160,000 Conservative party members who will decide their fate, rather than the tens of millions of taxpayers they will really work for. They would love to hear from them that commitment to food security and affordability that remains top of the European agenda.