A largely defensive Clegg speech
Turn back the clock three years and Nick Clegg is not yet leader of his party.
Turn it back another three and he is not even an MP.
But you have to go back not six years, but six and a half decades, to reach the time his party was last in government.
In the circumstances, you might have thought this would be a moment for Nick Clegg to launch a wild celebration. Not a bit of it.
His speech to Lib Dem conference as Deputy Prime Minister was largely defensive.
"Stick with it," he told a country which he described as "anxious" and "unsure about the future" and a party which had "got used to being outsiders, against every every government that's come along".
The government's spending cuts would not - he insisted - be a return to the '30s or the '80s and were not driven by an ideological desire to cut the size of the state.
We will - he reassured his party - never lose our soul.
This was the speech of a man who knows that things - in the short term at least - can only get worse, but who wants party and country to keep their eyes on the prize.