Ed Miliband delivered the Labour ranks a message they adored, that they were the only party that can deliver social justice and that the party of Alex Salmond is in essence a Tartan Tory party.

Mr Miliband did not actually use that phrase, although some speakers did earlier in the day, and the sentiments pleased the (somewhat under-filled) hall.

But is this message about Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon being secret Tories actually gaining traction among voters?

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It's easy to say, easier still to get a round of applause, but trickier to get across if your party introduced tuition fees, ordered the invasion of Iraq, wants to retain nuclear weapons and dared to coin the phrase, the "something for nothing" society.

The Labour leader worked the hall well, if briefly, and he sent out a message which clearly appealed to the party in areas such as being true to the legacy of John Smith, who died 20 years ago.

And he was strong in condemning the Budget and its subsequent presentation: "Have you ever seen a more condescending, patronising, haughty, condescending, out-of-touch piece of nonsense/"

Labour had got through a potentially difficult morning with a Devolution Commission debate which ended up with unanimous support and Miliband did his free-ranging, chatting on the hoof schtick to reasonable effect as he talked of the time his father spent in Inverkeithing in the Royal Navy during the war.

His belief in Labour values and the UK are palpable. It's just that in order to work he has to guarantee that he will win the 2015 UK General Election in advance of the September 2014 independence referendum. That's not possible.

His party faithful won't care. For them, it is enough to set up a bogeyman called Alex Salmond, knock him down and tap-dance on his grave.

In the real world it may be harder for Labour to destroy Salmond,and even harder to destroy what the SNP stands for which, in spite of all the claims to the contrary, is often, issue-by-issue well to the left of the party Tony Blair fashioned and possibly even that led by Miliband.