Scottish independence: Kirkcaldy referendum debate round-up

  • 19 March 2014
  • From the section Scotland
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With six months to go until Scotland's independence referendum, BBC Scotland gave voters a chance to quiz politicians and commentators at the heart of the debate.

But the debate isn't just for the audience facing the panel - you let us know what you think through social media, making '#bbcindyref' the top trending topic in the UK.

Here are some of the highlights from the on-air discussion, and the pick of what you said about our debate in Kirkcaldy.

The town

Name: Kirkcaldy

Where: Fife, on the east coast of Scotland

Notable residents: Economist Adam Smith, former prime minister Gordon Brown and Guy Berryman from Coldplay were all raised in the town

Something interesting: The Beatles name-checked "The Duchess of Kirkcaldy" in the White Album song 'Cry Baby Cry'

The panellists

John Swinney: SNP MSP for Perthshire North and the finance secretary for the Scottish government

Jackie Baillie: Labour MSP for the Dumbarton constituency

Tessa Hartmann: Businesswoman and founder of the Scottish Fashion Awards

Michael Fry: A leading historian who supports independence

The questions

1. Cameron Berwick asked: "Is today's devolution announcement from Scottish Labour: "Too little, too late"?

2. Susan Adam asked: "With the numerous companies who have voiced that they would leave Scotland if it becomes independent, what job opportunities are going to be available for my age group?"

3.Sandie Steele asked: "Does the panel believe the BBC have been impartial in their coverage of the Scottish Referendum?"

4. Mary Turnbull asked: "With recent reported falls in North Sea oil revenues and tax receipts would an independent Scotland be overly exposed to volatility in oil revenues?"

5. Grant Blair asked: "The words engraved on the Scottish Mace are Wisdom, Justice, Compassion and Integrity - have our politicians demonstrated these values in the run up to the referendum?"

The tweetgraph

Image caption This graph shows the spikes in last night's tweets

BBC data journalist Marc Ellison said: "There was a total of 1,187 tweets sent last night - slightly down from 1,228 for last debate

"Twitter was most active during the discussion about BBC impartiality, particularly at 9.41pm when 41 tweets were posted.

"Other topics which got Twitter going were Mary Turnbull's question on oil revenues, and Susan Adam's question on the job market in an independent Scotland.

"You can explore last night's tweets and see what got people talking using this tweetgraph tool."

The tweets

"I'd watch more #indyref debates if they promised to just tell us about linoleum in Kirkcaldy."

Paul Cairney enjoys finding out more about Kirkcaldy in the program's mini documentary on the town.

"Gosh, thanks to the nice lady in green, but we don't claim to be "impartial" on Wings, just honest and factual. #bbcindyref"

Wings Over Scotland, a Scottish political blog, reacts to an audience member saying she goes to them for impartial news.

"Jings!!! Surprised the impartiality question was allowed! #bbcindyref #indyref"

David Fletcher's eyebrows were raised by the question on BBC impartiality.

"The letter "T" is distinctly absent from this live broadcast. Oh, Kirkcaldy. #bbcindyref

Davey Gaga on the distinctive Kirkcaldy accent.

The pictures

Image caption Our diligent host, James Cook, prepares his notes before the debate
Image caption The eager audience prepare to enter the theatre
Image caption It's time to start the music, it's time to light the lights

The arguments

Responding to Grant Blair's question on whether Scotland's politicians had displayed "wisdom, justice, compassion and integrity" in the referendum debate, the panellists said:

John Swinney: "I don't think the debate to date has been a credit to Scotland. We have got six months from tonight to make the debate one that lives up to those values of wisdom, compassion, justice and integrity."

Jackie Baillie: "Whatever the result, we need to move forward with each other and I am really concerned that the debate has become so vitriolic, so intense, that are we actually going to be able to do that?"

Michael Fry: "So far people have just been reacting to what people have said in the debate, whereas the time is coming when we have to decide. Very few nations get the privilege of deciding what their future is going to be and we are going to have that."

Tessa Hartmann: "To see politicians squabble and fight all the time is part of the game, but then every time things don't go the way they want them to, they throw their toys out of the pram."

The iPlayer

If you missed the referendum debate from Kirkcaldy, check it out on BBC iPlayer.

It will be available to watch until 18 Mar 2015.

Join in

Image caption A series of BBC TV debates is taking place in the run up to the independence referendum in September

If you've enjoyed tweeting, texting and messaging on the Scottish independence referendum, you might now like to be in the TV audience, putting your questions directly to the politicians.

The next debate is in Kirkwall on Tuesday, 15 April.

Email your details to or fill in this form to apply.