THERE are two dead certs in politics: one, that an election beckons this year, and two, that it will end with Keir Starmer as prime minister. His handful of genuine devotees, who surprisingly exist, may delude themselves into believing that Starmer’s inevitable arrival in Number 10 will be down to his clear vision and unswerving principle, mixed with his renowned charm and intoxicating charisma. In truth he will win by default, because no governing party in British democratic history has so thoroughly self-immolated as the Tories.

This basic truth was underlined by Starmer’s set piece speech this year. Guilty, I’m a critic and my standards are low, but my attempt to maintain an open mind collided with a series of focus-grouped platitudes and vacuous nothings. Having abandoned the solemn pledges he made to the Labour membership in order to secure the leadership – from higher taxes on the well-to-do to public ownership to scrapping English tuition fees–- he’s now even reneging on more recent promises, such as watering down his £28 billion-a-year green investment fund.

Say what you want about New Labour – and I have – but by this point, they had clear signature policies, such as a minimum wage, a windfall tax on privatised utilities, "education, education, education" and indeed devolution. Tony Blair may have had a vision I found unappealing and unambitious, but it was there. This time, Britain is a far worse state, and yet the offer of the government-in-waiting is far more threadbare.

The National: Sir Tony Blair (Steve Parsons/PA)

There was one line which was of interest, albeit inadvertently so: The promise of “a politics that treads a little lighter on our lives.”

It is this sentence which explains the appeal of Starmer to the tiny fringe who are genuinely enthused by him, rather than those who simply see Labour as the only available means to dispose of Tory rule at Westminster level. Their main objection to Tory rule isn’t substance – that is, their policies – but rather, vibes. The Tories are simply vulgar and uncouth, and therefore unfit to rule: Furthermore they’re a cause of international embarrassment.

That’s all true, mind, but it is rather less important than their ruinous policies and their consequences, from slash-and-burn cuts to public services and the welfare state to an unprecedented squeeze of living standards. But Starmerism offers little tangible to address such crises – that would require large-scale public investment, for a start, but Labour has ruled that out, along with the tax rises on the thriving rich which would be required to pay for it. But that doesn’t bother his most devout cheerleaders, who tend to be well-off themselves.

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For the ardent Starmer champion, a once tranquil Britain descended into some sort of madness in 2016. There were clear blue skies, then a bolt of lightning in the form of Brexit set everything on fire. They almost obsessively look back to Danny Boyle’s commendable 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony, speaking of it as a supposedly halcyon era when Britain was peaceful and at ease with itself, erasing the fact it was four years after the financial crash, and two years into a Tory government driving through the economic poison of austerity.

All of this represents a failure to understand that the UK’s seemingly never ending political turmoil was driven, above all else, by a broken economic model that left millions condemned to ever growing security Instead, it all simply seemed to be down to a national mania which would be cured by the "grown-ups being back in the room" – that is, the reassuring maturity of Sir Keir Starmer at the helm would scrub all this silliness away.

It was a sentiment widely shared by Joe Biden’s devotees back in 2020. It was eloquently summed up by protest placards such as "If Hillary was President, we’d be at brunch". If a seemingly moderate capable administrator was in charge, tranquillity would once more reign - or so went that logic. Well, three years into Biden, look across the Atlantic, and tell me if it’s tranquillity you see.

The National: President Joe Biden (Evan Vucci/AP)

The truth is that Tory rule has made an already broken economic model even crueller and dysfunctional. Fixing that needs a colossal amount of ambition. After the Nazis reduced much of the UK mainland to rubble – and the economy was trashed – Clement Attlee’s post-war government understood that scaling back radicalism was exactly the wrong approach. From that rubble emerged the NHS, the welfare state, nationalised utilities and strong trade unions.

This time round, Starmer believes economic growth will solve all our problems. There is nothing innately wrong with such a proposition, but as someone aptly put it to me, this is like yelling "score more goals!" at a football match. Liz Truss couldn’t have been more wrong in her prescriptions, but in her analysis she said one correct truth: Britain has only had stagnant growth since the 1980s. She was right, but failed to mention this coincided with the imposition of the Thatcherite dogma she wanted to double down on. And even worse, that meagre growth was far less equitably distributed than what came before. What has Starmer promised which will deal with either problem in practice, other than appearing a bit more grown-up?

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And here’s the danger a Starmer administration faces. What happens, after a year or two, when the average Scottish, English or Welsh citizen sees a paypacket which remains stagnant, a housing crisis still gnawing at their living standards, or public services still wretchedly under-resourced? How will a frontline worker feel when their salaries haven’t been restored? At first there will be a honeymoon – we will really feel relieved to be free of Tory rule. But what happens when little seems to change? Disillusionment will set in, and that’s the principal driver of our age of turmoil.

For those who want politics to stop intruding on their Twitter timeline, like an unwelcome ranting pub bore who won’t take the hint, their dream may initially seem to come true. They may find themselves swiftly grievously disappointed.