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Party warms to virulent Scott

Brian Taylor | 15:14 UK time, Sunday, 15 March 2009

Perhaps understandably, Tavish Scott started a little nervously.

It was, after all, his first speech to a full-blooded conference since assuming the leadership of the Scottish LibDems.

But he built it up strongly and finished with every evidence of a substantial conflagration in his innards.

They liked it, of course, and delegates were full of praise later.

However, it is now standard to describe leaders's speeches as featuring the finest oratory since Cato was a Senator.

So we may discount the more glowing reports.

Seriously, though, delegates here in Perth warmed to the address. They liked the funnies.

They liked the virulent - notably virulent - attacks on the party's rivals.

And they liked the sense of history - a theme at this conference.

Why, they even presented themselves with a cake to mark the 21st birthday of the Liberal Democrats.

Still in historical mood, I was intrigued by Mr Scott's references to "what we would do in government".

He used that phrase - or comparable formulations - at various points in his speech.

Primarily, I suppose, it was a reference to a possible hung Parliament at Westminster after the next UK General Election. I

Indeed, Mr Scott talked explicitly of Vince Cable entering Downing Street. Number 11, that is.

However, this theme could just as easily translate to the situation post the next Holyrood elections.

With Labour again? With the SNP?

There are, as noted earlier, one or two tiny obstacles in the path of that latter prospect.

Electoral arithmetic, party motivations, the small matter of an independence referendum - plus the fact that some key figures in the LibDems, notably at Westminster, would strive mightily to avoid any deal with the Nationalists, whatever the temptations.

PS: Is it not about time we had video replays to assist our referees in football?

I wasn't at Fir Park yesterday (I was here, in Perth) - but from all accounts United should have had a penalty.

In the resultant stramash (author, Arthur Montford), the Well ran up the park - or trudged through the mud - and scored a jammy winner.

I did manage to catch the rugby on the telly yesterday - and video refereeing was used to good effect. (Well, bad, actually in that it confirmed an Irish try - but you get the point.)

In football, one duff decision can determine a game, a league, an entire season.

Yet we leave it to a single guy - and force him to decide without any technological back-up whatsoever.

As ever, football is stuck in the previous century.

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