As campaign launches go, Jess Phillips’ bid to become Labour leader got off to a strong start. Her slick promotional video racked up over one million views in its first day. The slogan: ‘’Speak Truth: Win Power’’ was well-received. Over 12,000 people have signed up to help with her campaign. Media types - who are unashamedly thrilled at the prospect of straight-talking Phillips becoming Labour leader - were gushing in their praise.

She has the kind of profile that more experienced MPs would be envious of. Since being elected in 2015 she has become a regular on political programmes. Her unfiltered style and quick wit are catnip to broadcasters.

Amidst the grey suits of Westminster, it’s obvious why the wise-cracking Brummie attracts attention.

READ MORE: Jess Phillips aims to be ‘different kind of leader’ for Labour party 

Phillips is being billed as an everywoman candidate who can reinvigorate the beleaguered Labour party and sprinkle some stardust where it is so badly needed. While she isn’t the front runner in these early days of the leadership campaign, she is certainly one to watch.

Change is especially appealing when what came before was so dire. In Boris Johnson, the Conservative party chose the antithesis to the robotic and stilted Theresa May. While Jeremy Corbyn’s personal brand was much hyped, he was a woeful performer in the House of Commons. His dreary delivery and hostility towards the media meant he struggled to win support beyond his ardent fanbase.

During the general election campaign, he lacked the agility to take on the strong personality of a figure like Boris Johnson.

We saw this during the leader’s debates. In one head-to-head between Corbyn and Johnson, an audience member pointedly asked a question about the importance of truthfulness in politics. It was an obvious jab at the prime minister and an open invitation for Jeremy Corbyn to give a barnstorming response, listing the well-documented lies of his opponent.

Instead, Corbyn offered a characteristically underwhelming soundbite about why we should all strive to tell the truth.

Jess Phillips wouldn’t have missed that opportunity. It’s easy to imagine the viral clip that would have followed in the hours after the debate, showing Phillips decimating the character and career of the red-faced man standing next to her.

Her supporters believe she has the charisma to hold her own against Johnson and show how hollow his ‘’people’s government’’ shtick really is. The allure of fighting a big personality with another is understandable, but for this moment, it isn’t enough.

The Labour party is fractured, bloody and broken. Its successes were scarce in the previous decade and its electoral disasters are well remembered.

During this period of healing, they require a leader with experience, not another untested backbencher - however impressive they may be.

Labour members who loathe or fear a Conservative government want radical change. They want it fast and furious and they want it yesterday. But that change should come in the form of a radical pursuit of power, not a continuation of personality politics.

The turmoil of recent years has meant that parties have been forced to be reactive in their strategies. Short-term thinking has reigned supreme, particularly in the Labour party. Do they really have the time and energy to waste on another wildcard leader?

Labour should be asking themselves who is best placed to rebuild their tarnished brand and bring an air of seriousness back to the party. They need to look again like a government-in-waiting, not a party waiting for the electorate to suddenly agree that their failed approach is the right one.

For all her undeniable strengths, Jess Phillips is not that person.

READ MORE: Letters: Beware this Tory Government with far too much power 

As the contest gets underway, polling suggests that Sir Keir Starmer is the odds-on favourite to win. He would be a safe choice and the steady pair of hands the party needs in the years ahead. So too would Yvette Cooper, who is also expected to announce her intention to run.

It’s time for Labour to get serious. They won’t undo the mistakes of the past by repeating them with a far-left continuity candidate, in the form of Rebecca Long Bailey or by trying to out-shine Boris Johnson, with Jess Phillips.

They need a leader with front-bench experience and an appeal that reaches beyond the membership.

As the general election showed, voters aren’t looking for a wish list of fantasy policies, nor do they require their political leaders to be saintly beacons of morality. Their expectations are far lower – they just want leaders they can trust, with policies that are credible and deliverable.

In December, the electorate judged that the Conservative party under Boris Johnson offered both those things more convincingly than the Labour party. If a further wake-up call were needed about just how far the party had fallen, that surely was it.

There’s a risk for Labour in believing that because there is no general election in the foreseeable future, that they have plenty of time to continue looking inward. Campaigns can focus minds but votes for a future Labour government need to be won well before we reach that point.

The Brexit saga is far from over and the depleted Labour benches will have to be smarter and better if they are to have any influence whatsoever on the negotiations to follow.

Will the party surprise us all and – finally – make the changes demanded of them by that damning general election result?

Leadership contests take on a life of their own as the race gets going. Those sitting comfortably in front shouldn’t be complacent about their chances.

Whoever wins has their work cut out for them. It’s not star quality the Labour party needs, it’s a competent manager who can bring them back from the brink.