Bella backs common sense
Scotland has contributed hugely to global intellectual history: think Adam Smith and the peerless David Hume. But there are others, including Thomas Reid, Dugald Stewart and others from the self-styled Common Sense school.
They held for pragmatic beliefs, based upon the world around us and disavowing the temptations of philosophical paradox so beloved of others.
Now, that school - which flourished in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries - has a contemporary political advocate. Bella backs Common Sense.
Which means what? That, in her self-image, Annabel Goldie "tells it as it is", that she is frank about the scope of the crisis afflicting the economy and hence public spending, that there are limits to the goodies which can be on offer to the voters at this coming Holyrood election.
To a degree, she is simply coping with the hand she has been dealt. It is political pragmatism.
A Conservative-led UK Government is delivering spending cuts to address the deficit.
She chooses to back that Government, aware that any dissent would meet with scepticism from the voters.
But there is more. It is calculated to build upon her character, the impression she appears to leave with the voters.
David Cameron once called her his "favourite Scottish auntie".
I'm not sure she was hugely chuffed at the time - but it is the image which has since become her own: a cheery, droll, trustworthy personality.
Certainly, she dwelt heavily upon that in her speech to the conference here in Perth.
She sought to contrast her own approach with that of her rivals - notably Iain Gray.
Intriguingly, there was no mention of the Liberal Democrats. The constraints of UK coalition, perhaps? Earlier, the Scotland Office Minister David Mundell had similarly steered clear of attacking - or even mildly satirising - the party with which he coalesces in government.
But back to Bella. Her attack on Iain Gray was prolonged and pointed, drawing in particular upon his newly-announced support for a continuing council tax freeze.
Mr Gray, she said, was "the master of the cartwheel, the political gymnast extraordinaire."
Meanwhile, at the Labour gig in Glasgow, Ed Miliband was returning the compliment with a direct attack upon the Tories: the UK Tories, David Cameron's Tories.
Which fits their narrative: that Labour is best placed to defend Scotland from the depredations of Westminster Tory cuts and economic strategy.
Labour's hope is that this positioning which worked in the UK election in Scotland can be replicated for the Holyrood poll, turning voters' heads to some extent away from the Scottish government and towards the UK government.
That proposed council tax freeze will feature on Labour's pledge card for this election, reflecting, says Labour, their determination to protect hard-pressed families.
Back to Bella, again.
She says such a promise is (literally) incredible - and will seem so to the voters.
By contrast, she says the Tories will address potentially unpalatable issues - such as the need for graduate contributions to help fund universities.
Once more, this is making a virtue of necessity.
Offering a tough perspective in tough times. But there are some goodies too: maintaining police numbers, funding the health service, continuing the council tax freeze with an added bonus of a £200 cut for every pensioner household.
Why that latter policy?
Support, say the Tories, for people who have worked hard all their days. Plus pensioners tend to vote.
And, the Tories hope, may be prevailed upon to vote Conservative in disproportionate numbers.
In the speech, there were sharp words for Alex Salmond too, a reminder of promises which he had failed to deliver.
But the rhetoric was notably milder than that addressed at Iain Gray. A reflection, partly, of the budget deals which the Tories have done with the SNP over the last four years - and, just perhaps, the prospect of comparable dealing in the future.
Here, at the conference, the Common Sense strategy - or pragmatism - wins overwhelming support.
Tories like tough talking. But there is some subterranean grumbling too - which surfaced on the fringe.
There is some disquiet over the party's avowed support for the Scotland Bill which will introduce greater tax and borrowing powers for the Scottish Parliament.
That disquiet was voiced in forceful fashion by Lord Forsyth, the former Scottish Secretary.
That's a policy issue. But it's also a leadership question.. Some MSPs are murmuring that the Holyrood group should have been given a bigger say as the policy was promulgated.
Others counter that the party's membership of the Calman Commission - and the subsequent inclusion of a Calman pledge in the manifesto - were overt, upfront and involved substantial consultation.
Overwhelmingly, the party representatives here are keen to see their party, led by Annabel Goldie, make a distinctive, united pitch to the voters. It's only common sense.