UK Politics

Voter verdict on Scottish TV debate

The BBC gathered a group of undecided voters in a pub in North Queensferry to watch Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond debate Alistair Darling, leader of the pro-Union Better Together campaign.

Ahead of the 18 September Scottish independence referendum, the voters arrived with high hopes that the live, two-hour event on STV would make up their minds.

But, while the debate raged on, it seemed the real discussion in North Queensferry was going on among the voters themselves . . .

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35 minutes in . . .

Voters

Many of those watching had lost interest, and had started talking among themselves, frustrated that the issues that matter to them had not been addressed.

Gail Bell, a civil servant in the Department for Work and Pensions said: "There's no mention of pensions, yet that is what our generation is looking for."

Cynthia Bruce, added: "There's specific answers to questions that I'm hoping to get, but I haven't heard any of them answered yet."

There were some animated moments.

Applause broke out when Mr Salmond argued Scotland would keep the pound, while laughter filled the room following the first minister's accusation that Mr Darling had once claimed Scots would have to drive on the right hand side of the road, post-independence.

But for high school teacher Michaela Sullivan, it was no laughing matter.

She said, "It's playground tittle-tattle. As if any of this is going to effect my vote."

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90 minutes in . . .

Voters

There was noticeably more engagement from the group once the debate moved on to allow the studio audience a chance to get involved.

Student Myles McCallum, reflected: "It's nice to be informed by the debate, but I still don't know that much to be honest."

While Lauren Daly said: "I think I'm so scared now that I would be more leaning towards a 'No'. I'm concerned about my children's future."

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Who won?

Voters

Opinion was split.

While Myles thought Alex Salmond had swung it, another voter, Nicola Clark, plumped for Mr Darling after being impressed by his passionate plea.

"He's usually quite straight laced but tonight he was quite emotive and patriotic," she said.

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The verdict . . .

After two hours of hard debate, the voters all left the pub still undecided.

"A wasted opportunity" said Cynthia, "I still feel the same way as I did when I came in."

As she left to head home, voter Karen McGregor remarked, "I think between the eight of us here we've been more useful to each other in explaining the issues than the politicians have."