The fact that Sir Keir Starmer once took violin lessons with the DJ and record producer Fat Boy Slim doesn’t mean he’d make a ‘hip’ Prime Minister.
However, as prices rocket, living standards plummet, and the Conservative party implodes, maybe his mundane, steady Eddie approach will be his ticket to Downing St, as Boris Johnson’s rollercoaster ride finally leaves the rails.
That would require the Labour Party to win a general election, of course.
But the one-time lawyer, who makes former snooker star Steve ‘Interesting’ Davis look like a court jester in some people’s eyes, could be the man to break the Tories’ hold on government at Westminster.
The Conservatives aren’t completely snookered. But there aren’t many safety shots left on the table for them after Johnson’s demeaning of the office of PM.
The end of his short reign has given Starmer his cue to appeal to those sickened by his prevarication and his party’s complicity in it.
Johnson will leave a party that’s seen as damaged goods, riddled with hypocrisy and double dealing.
Conduct under his leadership has been offensive to everyone who lives by general principles of decency.
Starmer – stuck in the middle with fairness and decency
Keir Starmer is deeply disliked by many on the left.
But that might endear him to former Labour voters in what’s dubbed the ‘Red Wall’ after they deserted them at the last election.
And he might also appeal to soft conservatives disgusted at his opponents’ descent into chicanery.
Starmer is a centrist. But those who regard themselves as left-leaning must know by now that the UK, including Scotland for all our mouthy bravado, has been reluctant to embrace overtly socialist policies.
Apart from the fact that such policies have struggled where they’ve been tried – and haven’t lasted for any length of time or produced lasting change – they don’t seem to work in practice.
They appear to be irreconcilable with human nature and personal aspirations.
It has taken me a long time to admit this to myself but, by and large, we’re a middle of the road lot.
And the overwhelming mindset of the majority is for basic fairness and common decency, not revolution.
Since the Tories have failed to act in the national interest, Labour will.
We've put down a vote of no confidence in this discredited Prime Minister and his government.
The Tories can’t let him cling on for weeks and weeks and weeks.
It would be intolerable for the country.
— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) July 12, 2022
You don’t have to be a Catholic, or religious at all, to know that the Catholic Church for all its many failings had this fact nailed long ago with its doctrine of social teaching.
Chief among those principles are human dignity, common good, solidarity, and subsidiarity as a middle way between the worst excesses of capitalism and socialism.
Can Starmer make levelling-up more than a soundbite?
It’s been interesting to see Keir Starmer – and I’m no great fan of his – attacked by both the left and the Tories for being middle class and apparently well-to-do.
But everything is relative, including poverty, wealth, and status.
What is regarded as a good salary by one person may be regarded as inadequate by another.
What is seen as opulent and extravagant by some may be normal to someone else.
And what one individual regards as ambition can be viewed as social climbing in another’s eyes.
Starmer sees Tony Blair’s third way as fertile ground as the Tories wilt in the heat.
Our society is deeply split in terms of wealth and prosperity. But I still suspect Starmer offers more opportunity of “levelling up” that great divide than Boris Johnson ever dreamt about doing.
SNP are far from radical at this point
Just as the SNP are a broad church in Scotland, containing views from left, right, and centre, so too is Starmer’s Labour Party.
It’s a home overwhelmingly to middle of the road social democrats, who have no intention of overthrowing the capitalist system but rather would like one which is more tightly and fairly regulated.
It’s also an uneasy berth for the kind of socialists driven by the twin engines of compassion and envy, liberally sprinkled with hope but smothered with disgust at their fellow citizens’ failure to follow them in waging the class war.
The SNP is no different from Labour, except for the obvious caveat that they want an independent Scotland, albeit one where the knee would be bowed before Brussels and not Westminster.
Anyone kidding themselves on that we’d be an independent left wing Nirvana has surely had a rude awakening with the realities of Nicola Sturgeon’s party in power.
In their 15-year reign they’ve become increasingly timorous and anything but radical with our devolved powers.
There’s been no danger of importing the policies of Castro to Caledonia. The SNP right wing would have rebelled at the prospect.
Starmer is our best hope for greater equality
I’ve thought for a while that Nicola Sturgeon has fluffed any imminent chance of independence.
Now it’s all just bluster, bluff, and buying time from those who were charged with delivering it.
So for those who still have some regard for the notion of society, Keir Starmer’s Labour Party seems the only medium-term hope for a degree of equity and fairness for the majority.
His pledge to reboot the economy, end the cost of living crisis, and revitalise public services is a much more appealing prospect than the continuation of a Tory government awash with avarice, excess, and mendacity.