Day two of the Scottish Liberal Democrat conference has been a textbook display of the virtues of Liberalism. A good and positive speech from Tavish Scott - the Scottish Leader- was certainly very well received, and there is indeed much to be optimistic about. The SNP proposals to reduce the power of local councils in Scotland seems to underline why the Liberal approach towards the Scottish devolution settlement is so much more grown up than the infantilism of the Nationalists. It is ridiculous to oppose a state centralised on London and then propose a state centralised on Edinburgh. The Scottish people grow tired of Alex Salmond's bombastic posturing.
Yet the Conservatives remain totally irrelevant in Scotland , and the rage against Labour grows sharper. Listening to Fred Mackintosh- the Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate in Edinburgh South- I feel more convinced than ever that the party will not only hold the seats we have, but make gains as well. Speaking to local people in Perth, there is substantial goodwill towards the party and a few say that they are thinking of voting our way for the first time. Perth, it is fair to say, has not hitherto been a bastion of Liberalism, so I am surprised that when a few people notice my conference badge, instead of the usual indifference or hostile looks, I get a thumbs up from what looks like a group of young farmers.
Conference is usually a time of reflection, but a boisterous Scottish Liberal Democrat Youth event shows that the party is attracting youngsters in considerable numbers. After I address a meeting on democracy a few of them - serious and committed- ask some exceptionally well informed questions.
Now, time for the last afternoon session and then the conference dinner.