LiveScottish independence: Salmond v Darling debate as it happened


  1. Alex Salmond & Alistair Darling went head-to-head in their second televised debate on Mon 25 Aug
  2. In fiery exchanges, they clashed on currency, but also oil revenues, the NHS & Trident
  3. The referendum on Scottish independence takes place on 18 September
  4. Voters in Scotland will be asked: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

Live Reporting

By Marianne Taylor, Steven Brocklehurst, Martin Currie and Camila Ruz

All times stated are UK


Right, that's all from us for now. For more comment and reaction on the debate, go to BBC Radio Scotland 810 MW for Referendum Tonight, with Graham Stewart.

If you missed the debate, you can watch it by clicking on the Live Coverage tab at the top of this page.

And don't forget, you can keep up to date with all the latest news, views and analysis of the independence referendum on the Scotland Decides website.

Get involved

Text 61124

John, Dundee: Salmond lost again. He couldn't answer the key economic questions. Darling gave a true statesman-like performance! "No Thanks Alex!".

Dan, Edinburgh: The referendum question is the wrong one. Scotland is already a country, with a proud identity and free to make lots of economic and social decisions independent of Westminster. Surely we should all be asking ourselves: "Do we believe Scotland can grow richer outside the UK"?

Colin, Liverpool: After what l saw of the debate, l'd be more concerned at the quality of Scottish politicians if Salmond and Darling are the best of the bunch. Both are second rate!!

The verdict


Kevin O'Donnell: Salmond heavily reliant on people not understanding difference between a currency union & sterlingisation. Alex, we aren't stupid #indyref

Riddle Like: No one in Yes says everything will be perfect: it's about embracing challenges and making it work #indyref

The verdict


michael round: Watched that as independent English person - easy win for Salmond by a country mile #bbcindyref

Rupert Myers: Salmond needed a big victory. He didn't get it. He needed to have answers to the questions raised in the first debate #bbcindyref #indyref

The Observer's Toby Helm: Salmond performed better on the night but will people trust him more as a result? Reckon it is about who is more reassuring ultimately.

Limmy: Goodnight, Darling. #bbcindyref

Who won it?

A snap poll by the Guardian newspaper, in conjunction with ICM, suggests Alex Salmond won the contest against opponent Alistair Darling.


More reaction

The BBC's special correspondent Allan Little says most people are making up their minds after having serious conversations with friends and colleagues around the country, rather than relying on the views of two men in suits on TV.

BBC Scotland's Brian Taylor says that may be true, but Mr Salmond's side will have much more of a spring in their step after tonight's performance.

Yes side 'far happier'

BBC Scotland's political editor Brian Taylor says supporters of "Yes" are far happier than they were last time. They think their man won, he says.

Final thoughts from Aberdeen

Louise Sayers

BBC Scotland

In Aberdeen, "No" voter Robyn Shepherd says: "There was a little bit more substance tonight, and it was nice to see a broader discussion than we've seen before, and the NHS being mentioned."

"Yes" voter Gillian Martin says Darling made a major slip up in the debate: "In his closing statement Alistair Darling said 'whether he wins or I win'. It's not about winning for either person, neither of them are representative of either side of the debate."

Scotland 2014 - analysis

In the Scotland 2014 studio, Sarah Smith is joined by the Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Labour MP Douglas Alexander, who has been campaigning for Better Together.

Nicola Sturgeon says she thought Alex Salmond performed very strongly. She says the No campaign has spent two years saying the debate is all about Alex Salmond - yet as soon as he wins the debate, they say it is not about personalities.

Mr Alexander says Alex Salmond tried to elicit fear about the NHS. He adds there would be more cuts if Scotland were to become independent.

Your verdict


Daniel Hamilton: Super Alex Goes ballistic Darling is atrocious #goAlex #VoteYes #bbcindyref #indyref

lauren: That debate's got me decided, Alistair's closing statement got me #VoteNo #bettertogether #BBCIndyRef

Jamie Bartlett: The quality debate among actual ordinary Scots has been significantly higher than between the two campaign leaders. #bbcindyref

Get involved


Craig Alexander: I'm about to start university next week and am delighted I don't need to pay £9000 a year like English students. It's this reason that I feel I have to vote Yes - education must remain free!

Francis Sephton: We will know how 'better together' we are now when both independent Scotland and the United Kingdom find themselves poorer without each other!

Get involved


Keith Bostel: Devonport within the region of Devon & Cornwall has been identified as an alternative base for the Trident fleet. Perhaps not all but many of us here in Cornwall might hope for such a massive boost to our economy and crucially employment in the event of a "Yes" vote for Scottish independence.

Prof John Curtice's verdict

Prof Curtice says this was a better evening for Mr Salmond compared to the STV debate three weeks ago.

He says Mr Darling again stumbled over the issue of more powers for Scotland if it does not vote for independence.

However, Mr Darling did try to press home the risks of independence, Mr Curtice says.

The polling expert says we heard little about the management of the Scottish economy, an issue that is very important to voters.

We heard about the currency and about oil but little on the future shape of a Scottish economy, Mr Curtice says.

More facts and figures

Emily Craig

Political analyst, BBC News

Alex Salmond says because of Westminster welfare reforms there will be an extra 100,000 children in poverty by 2020. That number is from the Child Poverty Action Group, which in turn refers to an analysis from the Institute of Fiscal Studies.

Alex Salmond says Scotland is saddled with its share of the £100bn cost of Trident. That's a figure for the total "in-service" costs, as estimated by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. But the Ministry of Defence puts the cost at between £11bn and £14bn, according to this report from the House of Commons Library.

Scotland 2014

On BBC Scotland, the Scotland 2014 programme has post-match analysis now.

Did Alex Salmond do enough to narrow the polls and put Scotland on track for a "Yes" vote, asks Scotland 2014 presenter Sarah Smith.

Or did Alistair Darling manage to put the case for a "No" vote?

The verdict


Conservative MP Christopher Pincher: Strong finish from #Alistairdarling making clear the Union is better together. Alex Salmond still won't/can't answer currency Q #indyref

David Torrance: A win, IMHO, for the FM, even if on several points it was a triumph of style over substance. Any Yessers watching shd be pleased #bbcindyref

Ewan MacAskill: Improved Salmond in second, more heated and noisy referendum debate. Doubt it changed many, if any, votes. Draw. #scotlanddecides #indyref

The view from Aberdeen

Louise Sayers

BBC Scotland

"Yes" voters Howard Kennedy and George Paterson weren't impressed with to the quality of debate from the Mr Salmond or Mr Darling.

Howard says: "I don't think the ping-ponging format is very conducive to good debate."

George says: "It's getting too much down to personalities. There's too much shouting - both sides should be getting the chance to have their say."

Your views


Stewart McDonald: That, ladies and gents, is why Alex Salmond is our First Minister. First class! #bbcindyref

Duncan Hothersall: Salmond guarantees we would get the government we vote for if we vote Yes. 55% Scots didn't vote SNP but have an SNP government. #bbcindyref

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