Back to the future
It's back to the future at the Conservative conference in Perth.
There's a fair old degree of optimism. They can detect the stench emanating from Westminster.
But, within that, the Tories can scent victory too.
However, to borrow Annabel Goldie's phrase, there are "echoes of the past" too.
Forgive me if I focus upon those echoes - or rather upon Miss Goldie's efforts to quench them.
Future Tory prospects rest entirely with the voters who can make up their own minds when the UK general election is called.
So just what did Bella mean?
What did she mean when she said that "for many people, voting Conservative in Scotland is a big ask"? When she urged voters to ignore those echoes and consider the contemporary Tory Party.
I think she meant that the Conservatives had contrived, down the years, to make themselves seem like an alien force in Scotland: not necessarily anti-Scotland, although some felt that, but perhaps "other than" Scottish.
And when did this sentiment manifest itself, when did it grow? When Margaret Thatcher was in power. Rightly or wrongly, many Scots took against her.
She was seen here in Scotland, according to Malcolm Rifkind, as a "bossy, English woman".
Sir Malcolm reckons the Scots could have tolerated one or maybe two of those characteristics. Not all three.
But of course talk like this, especially from Tories, is seen by some other Tories as tantamount to treason.
They don't appreciate delphic utterances about setting aside the past from their leader.
Those who adhere to that perspective would have been attracted by the fringe meeting here in Perth called to commemorate Margaret Thatcher's legacy. Couldn't attend myself owing to pressure of work - but bet it was fun.
The keynote speaker at the fringe was Murdo Fraser, Miss Goldie's deputy.
In search of innocent merriment, I asked Mr Fraser whether his attendance was inclined - or even designed - to stir up the "echoes of the past" disowned by his boss.
Not at all, he assured me with a grin which, I think, recognised exactly what I was up to.
To each of my mischievous inquiries, he said that he was concerned to draw comparisons between the 1970s and today when, according to Murdo, a strong Tory leader had had to replace a failing and discredited Labour government, while rescuing a wrecked economy.
Enough, Brian, enough. Back to the future. Back to considering the Tory pitch for the next UK election and, subsequently, for Holyrood.
But still it can be entertaining to reflect upon varying views of history too.