YESTERDAY it was Rishi Sunak mouthing vague patronising platitudes and, not to be outdone, today it was the turn of Keir Starmer. Conscious of my obligations to the readers of this esteemed publication, I tried to listen to the speech all the way through, fully intending to jot down notes at the interesting bits. However, after 55 interminable minutes I was left with a blank laptop screen while staring at a curling corner of wallpaper and wondering if we were going to need to redecorate. This was particularly remarkable because Starmer spoke for less than 40 minutes.

Essentially what we have here in the next UK General Election is a choice between two political parties, one of which will leave your granny to die on a hospital trolley while denying that there is any problem with NHS funding, and the other will leave your granny to die on a hospital trolley while looking very sad about it.

The most notable thing about this speech was the way in which Starmer shamelessly nicked so many Conservative and Vote Leave slogans. Take Back Control, only a Labour party hopelessly in thrall to a Conservative agenda could imagine it was a good idea to pick up and run with a discredited slogan that has become a byword for political lies and deceit. Next week Starmer will be touring the UK in a bus with £350 million a week for the NHS on the side of it. The clear hope here was to pack his speech with enough English nationalist dog-whistling to get Lassie and the entire canine entries at Crufts to sit up and beg for a Union flag sausage.

Starmer went on to draw a false equivalence between voting for Brexit and voting for Scottish independence, saying: "I couldn't disagree with the basic case so many leave voters made to me. People who wanted public services they could rely on. High streets they could be proud of."

None of these things are related to Brexit at all, not unless you're the kind of voter for whom “high streets to be proud of” means “not hearing people speaking foreign on the bus”. Starmer completely ignored the role of English nationalism and xenophobia in the Brexit vote.

He went on: "It was the same in the Scottish referendum in 2014 – many of those who voted ‘yes’ did so for similar reasons. And it's not an unreasonable demand."

And a lot of those who voted No did so because Keir Starmer's party told them that it was the only way that Scotland could stay in the European Union.

What Starmer had to say about Scotland's Yes voters was total arrant, arrogant, and out-of-touch nonsense. People in Scotland who voted Yes did not do so because of a fear of immigration, or because of distrust of Europe, they did so because they recognised that the Westminster system is fundamentally broken. They wanted a Scotland that was better integrated into the international community, not one whose relationships with other countries are mediated by the imperial great power delusions of British nationalist exceptionalism.

Starmer tries to co-opt the "take back control" slogan but won't say how Scotland could take back control if it wanted to. How does Scotland take back control of the referendum process if this is indeed a voluntary union? Starmer has no answer. His Take Back Control Bill won't allow Scotland to take control of its own future. Any promise to decentralise Westminster's power that isn't tied to major reforms such as PR and the abolition of the House of Lords is worthless. It's like promising to redistribute the hoard of treasure guarded by a dragon while leaving the dragon in place.

Unlike the Brexit voters in the north and Midlands of England, the voters of Scotland don't need to be pandered to by Starmer's Labour party because they won't vote Tory anyway, so they can be ignored and marginalised while Starmer goes full throttle for the English nationalist vote. Labour's priorities are crystal clear: bugger Scotland, we need to get Hartlepool back. There was absolutely nothing in this speech to reassure voters in Scotland that the democratic choices of the Scottish electorate will be respected. For all Starmer's talk of decentralisation, he proposes to do nothing at all about the House of Commons, the dysfunctional heart of British political and constitutional malaise.

For its part, the Conservatives have claimed that Keir Starmer was just offering “empty slogans” in his speech. The irony meter lost control and exploded into a million sovereign pieces.