Fairness in the Fair City
In Perth for the Scottish Liberal Democrat conference.
Attention, at least in part, is elsewhere. Some party eyes wander towards the telly to catch up with what Gordon Brown is saying at the Iraq inquiry.
Nick Clegg is no different. He delayed his speech in order to be able to offer an instantaneous reaction, minutes after Mr Brown's evidence ended.
The PM had defended the Iraq invasion as "right". That, according to Mr Clegg, sums up why Mr Brown cannot be trusted with the continuing leadership of the UK.
But who, then, can? Again, attention elsewhere. Would the LibDems endorse the Labour Party or the Conservative Party in a potential Westminster coalition?
I can understand that this must be exasperating for the LibDems who simply want to say . . . vote for us and here's why.
It remains, however, a cogent question.
Fundamentally, of course, the LibDems and everyone else would be driven by the voters. If the sums don't add up, then no deal. If they do, then possible bargain.
The starting point in such circumstances would be for the largest party at Westminster to seek to govern with or without the support of others.
But can the LibDems' rivals all be treated with absolute equity?
In a webcast interview, I posited a particular scenario to Alistair Carmichael, the party's spokesperson on Scottish Affairs at Westminster.
What might happen, I queried, if Labour had lost ground, had lost seats but remained, just, the largest party? Mr Carmichael frankly acknowledged that it would be difficult in such a scenario for the LibDems to restore Mr Brown to power.
I suppose it might also depend on what has happened to voting share. It is conceivable, for example, that Labour retains the largest number of seats while polling below the Tories on overall share.
All entertaining stuff - but for the future. Right now, the LibDems say they will set out the core values upon which they stand - and which, by implication, they'd bring to any negotiating table in the event of a hung parliament.
These are all, they say, motivated by fairness. Support for a child's early years (devolved, of course.) Cleaner politics.
Tax reform to cut the burden on the lowest paid while adding to the imposition on the richest. Breaking up the banks in the longer term, imposing a levy on their profits for now (if, of course, they are making any.) Investment in Green technology to create jobs.