In 2015, a friend of a friend answered her door to a guy who introduced himself as the Labour candidate in the forthcoming general election. After chatting for 20 minutes, she was impressed. So impressed that, though he’d never run for parliament before, she lumped £200 on him one day to be prime minister at 800-1.

No cigar for guessing a) that candidate’s identity or b) that the odds have shrunk. Today, Keir Starmer is a 5-2 shot to succeed Boris Johnson.

The holder of that Wonka-esque golden ticket has a dilemma: cash in now for a large sum (if a fraction of the potential payout), or hold onto it in the hope of collecting the full £160,000 after the general election of 2024. In ordinary times, the case against option two would be easier to make. In a frantic multimedia era, it goes, Starmer is a dinosaur; a political throwback to an age before 24-hour news. He doesn’t do soundbites (though “now we know who the key workers really are” on Andrew Marr wasn’t bad); wit and jollity aren’t his thing. Doggedly industrious and stolidly dependable, Starmer seems ill-suited to our craving for political pyrotechnics.

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