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Starmer is heir to the Queen’s “brilliant blandness”

Christopher Furlong/Getty

Among the Queen’s many qualities was a “brilliant blandness”, says Emma Duncan in The Times. “Her presence was unforgettable, and her words unremarkable.” We only had “occasional glimpses” of her witty, charming private self – a clip of a G7 reception in 1991, for instance, in which she ribs a pompous Ted Heath, who’s been talking over her. But these are scarce, for she “took great pains to keep her real self under wraps”, knowing it would make her a better monarch.

This is what explains the appeal of “the Queen’s real heir: Sir Keir Starmer, the Duke of Dullness”. After three years of Boris Johnson, “the market value of charisma has plummeted”. Starmer has done nothing interesting since he became leader of the Labour Party. “He has made no barnstorming speeches nor introduced any radical policies”; there is no “messianic gleam” in his eye. That’s a good thing: across the Atlantic, Joe Biden’s amiable, polite manner has helped him get a lot done as president. With the Tories in slow-motion collapse, Starmer is perfectly placed to offer swing voters a reassuring, rather than exciting, alternative. It’s just a shame he and the Queen will never have “cosy chats” in the palace. “I suspect they would have got on.”