After hearing the word "change" 61 times it began to have less clarity, not more.

Labour is the self-styled party of change and, good God, don't they want you to know it. In an indulgently long speech to the Scottish Labour party conference last Friday, leader Anas Sarwar was battering home the message.

Whack! Like Timmy Mallett's foam mallet, Sarwar bopped us with the word. A staccato, constant repetition built to a crescendoing catchphrase.

"That's what change means," Sarwar's silver hammer came down upon all our heads. "That's why change matters". This phrase repeated 12 times.

I'm not sure a British electorate needs an explanation of why change matters. We are ground near to dust by political ineptitude, scandal, nonsense and government-by-gimmick (phone ban? Cat-napping ban? Rwanda?). A coup d'état by the cast of Geordie Shore might make a competent change at this point.

But an explanation of what the much-trumpeted "the change" means would be eminently useful, not least to stop Labour merely sounding faintly menopausal. Repeating a word might be nicely hypnotic, it might implant itself in voters' brains if you say it enough, but folk ain't stupid.

They want to know how much bang they're going to get for their buck before they make a decision at the ballot box. Polling, yes, is (almost) consistently favourable towards Labour but polling is, to some extent, like star gazing: the light is old before you see it.

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That is, voter intention is always a little out of date and, with the current pace of political calamity, some fresh incident has invariably occurred between the temperature being taken and the temperature being reported.

Sir Keir Starmer, in his speech on Sunday in Glasgow, acknowledged that positive polling is not enough to rely on. He acknowledged that - however unlikely - the possibility of a Conservative win at the next General Election cannot and should not be ruled out.

Complacency is the enemy of success and it was, in a way, refreshing to hear the Labour leader talk of the struggle ahead to secure a Labour victory. It is, if nothing else, an acknowledgement that Labour cannot rely on the failure of others for its achievements.

So what sort of change is on offer? Back to Scottish Labour: after an hour of confident rhetoric, delivered with Anas Sarwar's trademark charm, we were left with a microwave speech, reheating existing pledges and offering nothing fresh.

Sir Keir, too, was light on policy and certainly void of anything new. This is the relentless complaint - Labour is avoiding setting out its stall, policy-wise, and is focusing on a vibes-based approach centred on how it is going to do politics, rather than what it will do.

Interrogation of this policy-lite strategy tends to focus on a few usual - and sensible - points. Labour wants to avoid more allegations of u-turning or wavering on policies so is keeping its powder dry until closer to an election date; the party doesn't want to show its hand too soon lest it comes in for fatal criticism from its opponents.

Look at the now-scrapped £28 billion green economic policy - a headache all round.

The limited specifics we heard at Scottish Labour conference included a clear divergence on tax between Scottish Labour and the SNP. Anas Sarwar was keen to use his rhetorical rubber mallet to bash home the message that Scottish Labour is on the side of middle income earners and would use tax raising powers on energy firms instead - although this has proven to be a policy statement not without incident.

The Herald:

Less explicit but still striking was Sir Keir's rhetoric around class. In a marked move away from the Blair-era focus on aspiration, Starmer had something different to say.

While he has never been afraid of talking about class he's not able to define it - in an LBC interview last year he tied himself in knots when asked directly what "working class" means - his position is not, as with New Labour, that success is moving up and out of one's class.

Rather, aspiration is not necessarily about having more but about having enough, comfortably. His views are shaped by his own background and are where having a party leader and potential prime minister from a working class background becomes interesting.

A new biography of Keir Starmer was trailed last week and serialised sections give a vital insight into the man who could be PM. While Starmer is fond of telling us about the pebble-dash semi he grew up in and his father being a tool maker, it was startling to learn what a difficult and emotionally devastating upbringing he actually had.

The book - in Starmer's typical prosaic style, simply titled Keir Starmer: The Biography - humanises him in an insightful way.

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Starmer is criticised constantly as boring but we are quick to confuse reserve with dullness. We are more used now to being emotionally manipulated with hard luck stories and reality TV-style strategic tears.

Starmer's reserve is unusual and, as such, we don't always know what to do with it. Another man, a more cynical man, might try to use this element of his identity - his chronically ill mother, his emotionally distant father, his highly controlled and straitened childhood - to win the public onside.

Yet he has, until external pressure was applied, seen no reason to milk his private life for points. These new revelations about him - of him darning his little sister's torn dress so she might avoid their father's wrath - show a man pragmatically fixing problems as they arise, without fuss. There is a useful change.

Having become so used to personality politics and so unused to gravitas, we have forgotten that one does not have to be emotional to be emotionally literate; seriousness is not the same as dullness.

Charisma is captivating but not always trustworthy. It's a show, charisma, and people who like to perform are generally more interested in themselves than their audience.

Labour's problem is that its most obvious and straightforward definition of "change" is still largely "we're not those other guys". Soon it will have to have clear and promotable policy ideas for the notion of change to be credible.

But there is a change more nuanced and difficult afoot in Starmer's non-flashy, genuinely meant politics-as-service approach. It is a change Britain is desperate for, if only it might recognise it.