THERE'S substance to the cliche that only boring people get bored.

Even under the most straitened circumstance, stimuli-wise, anyone with the slightest imagination can take themselves off into a fantasy world of diverting heroics or entertaining whimsy.

The persistent problem, then, for Sir Keir Starmer is less that he's boring than that the British public themselves are boring, an electorate that needs to be coddled with 24/7 roiling nonsense in order to maintain an interest in the people who are working the state levers.

Instead of tolerating a little boredom, we seem to have taken ourselves off into a fantasy world of diverting chaos because we prefer to vote for someone who seems like good craic over a pint than someone who might not steer the country into a recession as the world looks on, bemused and pitying.

Or, as one of the local BBC radio presenters phrased it when grilling Liz Truss, take the keys to the country and drive it off a cliff.

That was a nice turn of phrase among a glut of nice turns of phrases that should have had elitist London media types eating their words.

The snobbery of Truss's team in thinking that a regional set of interviews for the prime minister's return after a few days in hiding would be a gentle easing back was desperately telling.

London media pundits posted some pathetic commentary about local radio giving soft soap interviews. Truss should be so lucky, she was comprehensively drubbed. Her bumbling and inability to answer a direct question with a direct answer was cringe listening of an almost unbearable type.

In June Keir Starmer tried to persuade his shadow cabinet to stop briefing the press that he's boring. "What's boring," he said, "Is being in opposition".

What is meant by boring? Do we mean lacking in charisma? Barack Obama oozed charisma and used it as a force for good. Bill Clinton similarly oozed charisma but it was a character trait with its decided ups and downs. It also didn't stave off charges of being boring, which is remarkable, all things considered.

One of his speeches was so deathly dull he later appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson to say sorry.

Being persistently boring should, at this stage, be viewed as a superpower.

Remaining steady and straight when the temptation is to mount a cannon or ride a zipwire waving a flag is only to be praised.

An absence of substance leaves personality filling the void and into the gaping void of leadership came sideshow acts and shysters.

An excess of personality in lieu of sensible policy was once exorcised by jolly photo ops that would fill the top half of a newspaper page or generate a few thousands retweets but be otherwise harmless.

The sideshow then became the main event and now, here we are. We don't need exciting politicians, we need compelling argument, empathy and a period of calm.

In the US, post-Trump chaos has been met by the de-stimulating effect of Joe Biden, cautiously showing his working during every speech. He even ended one of his own appearances – during a nationwide tour to set out economic plans last July - with the words: "I know that’s a boring speech."

Don't apologise, Joe. Our last prime minister couldn't move his mouth without a totally irrelevant quote from Homer popping out and the current one is so stumbling as to allow you a nap between syllables.

We should rather an explainer-in-chief than a man who couldn't manage a grammatically correct tweet.

The latest YouGov poll shows a surging 33 point lead for Labour over the Conservatives. Until recently it was easy enough to discuss the party's successes as not progress for Labour but regression for the Tories.

At the Labour party conference this week there was plenty of detailed setting out of stalls. But the public aren't as interested in the fine sands of detail as they are in the big bricks when it comes to rebuilding the economy.

And so the lighter issues make a bigger impact – the singing of the national anthem, say. But voters will also have seen an increasingly confident Labour Party this week and an increasingly competent and confident Sir Keir putting forward some interested and meaningful ideas.

Of course, if no one will listen to you then your policies fall at the first hurdle - you need someone who can express them in an engaging manner while also setting out the nitty gritty.

There is a gulf between inspiration and explanation. The trouble for any lively scriptwriter is how to energise and stimulate while getting substantial but potentially dull facts across.

How do you add some salt for flavour rather than take the easier option of a massive sugar rush?

Donald Trump thought the nickname Sleepy Joe would help see off Biden but, after four years of disruption, the idea of a valerian leader was temptation.

God, a prime minister who might rock you to sleep with a lullaby of robust fiscal policy and a housebuilding stimulus package, what a delight.

This is exactly the time for dullness as a virtue, for dependability and decency.

Yet earlier this week a radio host was needling a Labour MP to give one exciting thing about Keir Starmer. Just one. She couldn't do it and she shouldn't have to.

I will happily be bored into a coma in exchange for being able to pay my gas bill this winter.

Speaking of shoehorning in an ancient reference, the Roman philosopher Seneca analysed the state of boredom: "How long the same things? Surely I will yawn, I will sleep, I will eat, I will be thirsty, I will be cold, I will be hot. Is there no end?"

With rising energy bills, the one thing we will not be is hot. Cold, though, more certainly. How long the same things? Is there no end?

There must be an end, there must be new things, a break from the unending adrenaline spike of incompetence. A change is as good as a rest and a new enthusiasm for boredom is the change we need.

Read more from Catriona Stewart:

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The Queue for the Queen taught us to seize the day – but not like that