Scottish independence: Salmond and Darling clash in heated TV debate

 
Alistair Darling and Alex Salmond The debate was held before an audience of 200 people at Glasgow's Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond and Better Together head Alistair Darling have clashed in their final TV debate ahead of the referendum.

Oil revenues, currency and the future of nuclear weapons were among the subjects of a heated discussion.

Mr Salmond said his opponent was siding with the Tories on policies which would push Scottish children into poverty.

Mr Darling rejected the charge and again challenged Mr Salmond to reveal his currency Plan B.

Following the debate, a snap poll by The Guardian newspaper and polling company ICM suggested Mr Salmond's score was 71%, against Mr Darling's 29%.

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ANALYSIS - BBC political editor Nick Robinson
holding hands, NHS

From the start it was clear that Darling, who won the first debate, was edgy and nervy whilst Salmond was better prepared and more confident.

Scotland's first minister had come prepared to answer the question that damaged him a few weeks ago - what's your Plan B? - if Westminster refuses to share the pound with a newly independent Scotland.

He declared he had not one but three Plan Bs but what he was seeking was a "mandate" from the people of Scotland - a word he repeated again and again - to negotiate to share the pound.

Salmond had also come with a new line of attack. He argued that the only way to protect the NHS and to stop welfare cuts was to ensure that the people of Scotland always got the government they voted for.

He accused Darling - to the former Labour chancellor's obvious fury - of "being in bed with the Tories". His aim was clear - to increase the risks in voters' minds of a No vote.

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The 90-minute broadcast was screened on BBC One Scotland, and to the rest of the UK on BBC Two.

The format saw the two political leaders deliver their opening addresses, before the debate moved on to four topics, each of which was introduced by a question from the audience.

Mr Salmond and Mr Darling were then each given the opportunity to cross-examine their rival for eight minutes.

The first minister opted to focus on the welfare state, saying Westminster reforms were pushing an estimated 100,000 Scottish children and a similar number of disabled people into poverty.

He said: "Yes, we've got troubled economic times, but the mark of a government is when you are in difficult economic times you don't take it out on the disabled and you don't take it out on families with children and you don't impose the bedroom tax, which must be the most ludicrous tax of all time."

Welfare reforms

In heated exchanges he told Mr Darling: "You're in bed with the Tory Party, in bed with the Tory Party."

He also challenged Mr Darling to name three job-creating powers which the pro-Union parties were offering the Scottish Parliament in the event of a "No" vote.

Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling

Mr Darling said as a Labour MP he did not support the UK government's welfare reforms.

But he argued that Scotland's ageing population meant it was better if the costs of providing social security were spread across the UK as a whole.

The Labour MP said: "No-one could support people who need help being denied, no-one could possibly support that. We have an obligation to help people who need support.

"However, to do that you need the means to do it. What concerns me is if you end up in the situation where you are cutting off opportunities for firms that generate wealth and therefore generate taxation, to pay for these things, it is going to be less likely you can provide the level of support you need in the future."

Earlier, Mr Darling had again pressed the first minister to spell out his Plan B on currency, if the rest of the UK refused to enter into a formal sterling currency union with an independent Scotland.

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Watch some of the highlights...

"Is it sensible?" Alex Salmond asked Alistair Darling four times, over the issue of the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapon programme

Alistair Darling on currency: "I want to know what Plan B is"

Alex Salmond: "This is our time, it's our moment, let us do it now"

Alistair Darling: "This is a decision for which there is no turning back"

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He put it to Mr Salmond: "You are taking a huge risk if you think it is just all going to fall into place.

"I think the currency union would be bad for Scotland because our budget would have to be approved not by us, but what would then be a foreign country. It wouldn't be best for the rest of the country either."

Mr Salmond responded: "I set out the options very clearly - three Plan Bs for the price of one. They are just like buses... you expect one and then three turn up at once."

He added: "We don't need permission to use our own currency. The argument actually is that they will deny us the assets of the Bank of England. The reason that won't happen is that if you deny us the financial assets, then the UK will get stuck with all of the liabilities."

Mr Salmond said no chancellor would let Scotland get away with escaping its share of the debt liabilities and therefore a currency union would be agreed.

salmond and darling
Alistair Darling and Alex Salmond

But Mr Darling argued: "If your first message in the world is here we are, here is Scotland, and by the way we've just defaulted on our debt, what do you think that would do to people who are lending us money in the future?

"Nobody would lend us any money in the future."

Mr Salmond had won a pre-debate coin toss and opted to deliver his opening address first, with Mr Darling going second.

Putting the case for independence, the first minister started by saying the eyes of the world were focused on Scotland.

He cited the 1979 referendum, when Scotland did not get a devolved assembly despite voting in favour of it, and said the country got 18 years of Tory rule instead.

Mr Salmond said: "Just like in 1979 the prophets of doom tell us we can't do it. We can't do what every country takes for granted - and just like then they are wrong.

"We are a rich nation, a resourceful people. We can create a prosperous nation and a fairer society. A real vision for the people of Scotland. This is our time, it's our moment - let us do it now."

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How did social media see it?
Twitter map

The debate was trending in the UK but, more surprisingly, hit the trending charts in Malaga, Gibraltar, Seville, and Spain as a whole. Were Spanish people keeping an eye on the debate with the Catalonian independence movement in mind? The debate generated a total of 255,559 tweets.

Throughout the debate, #bbcindyref, #indyref, and #scotdecides were trending in the UK on Facebook, and #bbcindyref and #indyref began trending globally by the end of the debate.

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Mr Darling opened by saying Mr Salmond was "asking us to take his word for it on everything. No Plan B for anything. Trust what he says - sorry I can't".

He said Mr Salmond wanted a separate state no matter what the risk or what the costs.

But he said a "No" vote would not mean the status quo, and said the pro-Union parties would deliver increased devolution.

He added: "This is a decision for which there is no turning back. Our children and the generations that follow will have to live with that decision."

The event was staged at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, and was hosted by BBC Scotland's Glenn Campbell.

The audience of 200 was selected by polling and research consultancy ComRes.

The debate was split into four sections;

  • Opening statements
  • The issues
  • Cross-examination
  • Closing statements

The issues section saw the two politicians debate four topics entitled Economy, Scotland at Home, Scotland in the World and What Happens after the Vote.

Each of the four issues was introduced by a question from the audience.

The first leaders' debate aired on STV on 5 August, with both sides claiming victory.

Scotland will go to the polls in the referendum on 18 September, with voters being asked the "Yes/No" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

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Do you have questions?
Question marks

As the people of Scotland weigh up how to vote in the independence referendum, they are asking questions on a range of topics from the economy to welfare.

In a series running up to polling day, BBC correspondents are looking at those major questions and by using statistics, analysis and expert views shining a light on some of the possible answers.

The issues they have looked at include Trident, Scottish economic growth, broadcasting, population, health and UK debt.

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The issues in graphics
public expenditure
North Sea oil
NHS spending
 

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  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 1989.

    If one votes for who shouts loudest and speaks better over the other person, then Salmond will win the vote hands down. I was disappointed that we never got to the real issues behind the arguments and until such time, it would be foolhardy for Scots to vote for the unknown.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1988.

    This whole issue is being looked at from the point of view of the Scottish voter. Why has the whole of the UK not been given the right to vote? Why is it a unilatteral decision while it affects everyone in the UK? Have common border issues been discussed? What will the nationality issue mean to the millions of immigrants who are now British? All in the name of financial gain for the Scots.

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 1987.

    Found it rather odd that Better Together have so few foot soldiers in Scotland that they had to bus them up from England and told not to speak because they'd give the show away.
    Today,we see the bitter English crying in their half pints because they have now realised they are about to have their bums kicked,not before time say I,we will vote for the government we want not what England gives us.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1986.

    The amount of English people commenting their views on Scottish independence is astonishing and rather laughable. Every single comment about pro-independence is getting down-voted, as I suspect this one will too. Why people think voting yes is a support for Alex Salmond, I'll never know. I do not like Darling or Salmond, but voting no in the referendum is idiotic.

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 1985.

    Both camps are obsessed with pocket money issues, ignoring the use of Scots as cannon fodder since the Union of the Crowns. The BBC's website on deaths in afghan shows the typical pattern: 36 scots servicemen killed, against 12 Londoners.

 

Comments 5 of 1989

 

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  46.  
    Text using 80295 Anti-Irish bigotry - Your views

    John, Wishaw: Just shows you ignorance of some people. Teachers in Catholic schools don't need to be of Catholic faith. My son's teacher wasn't a Catholic.

    Anon: When I attended a Catholic school 40 years ago we had many Protestant teachers. It's nonsense to claim otherwise.

    Jono from Fife: The real issue in Scotland now is anti-English not anti-Irish bigotry. I'm Irish but have lived here for 30 plus years. An Irish accent has never been a problem for me.

     
  47.  
    13:35: PM presses Labour on SNP deal Tim Reid Political correspondent, BBC News

    Prime Minister David Cameron has urged Labour to rule out a deal with the SNP after the general election in order to prevent what he called a "grubby deal" which could threaten the UK's Trident nuclear deterrent, based on the Clyde.

    His remarks were prompted by a question from the former Conservative defence secretary Liam Fox, during Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons.

    Dr Fox said it would be wrong if there was a "shabby deal" between opposition parties "simply to get the keys to number 10".

    The prime minister agreed and said it was "time for Labour to rule out a deal".

    The SNP wants to get rid of Trident; some Labour MPs agree, but it is not party policy.

     
  48.  
    13:27: Aberdeen City Council leaves Cosla

    Aberdeen City Council has voted to quit the local government body Cosla to join a new rival group.

    marishal

    Three other councils are expected to follow after years of dissatisfaction with the local government organisation.

    Glasgow, Renfrewshire and South Lanarkshire will join Aberdeen in a new Labour block of authorities, called the Scottish Local Government Partnership.

    The Labour-led council in Aberdeen voted 23 to 14 in favour of leaving.

     
  49.  
    13:19: Fatal hit and run driver jailed

    A hit-and-run driver who knocked down and killed an 89-year-old man has been jailed for eight years.

    Crash scene

    Paul Mowatt had taken a cocktail of methadone, cannabis and Valium before he knocked down Kenneth Robertson in Forfar in August 2013 and fled the scene.

    The retired farmed died in Ninewells Hospital two weeks later.

    Mowatt, 34, pled guilty to causing death by dangerous driving while under the influence of drugs.

     
  50.  
    13:08: School sorry for Palestinian 'slur'

    A North Lanarkshire school has apologised following complaints about a homework worksheet which labelled Palestinians as "terrorists".

    School worksheet

    The handout, given to P7 pupils at New Stevenson Primary School, states "Palestinians feel they have the RIGHT to use terrorism against the Israelis."

    North Lanarkshire Council, which produced the worksheet, said it would ensure that it would no longer be used.

    But a Palestinian group said the council had sought to "demonise" them.

     
  51.  
    12:59: Dog tags

    All dogs in Scotland will need to be micro chipped from April 2016, under a planned change to the law by the Scottish government.

    A dog looks mournfully at the camera as a vet injects him with a microchip

    A public consultation in 2014 showed that more than 83% of those who took part favoured making micro chipping compulsory.

    The government said that the move would be a "huge help" in reducing the number of lost and abandoned dogs in Scotland.

    The change will come into effect at the same time as changes in England and Wales.

     
  52.  
    Text using 80295 Anti-Irish bigtory - Your views

    Anon: There are bigots in every walk of life but to brand a nation as bigoted as the result of the actions of a few is wrong. I work in Scotland, England and Ireland and have never heard any such comments. I would also have no issue in confronting anyone who behaved in this manner in my company.

    John: Not sure about anti-Irish bigotry but there are certainly plenty of west of Scotland Scots who were born raised, and living here but who appear to want to identify themselves as being Irish.

    Anon: Sectarianism works both ways: a Protestant cannot teach in a Catholic school.

    Danny, Ayrshire: It's not confined to the west of Scotland. This bigotry is seen in Edinburgh Aberdeen and Dundee, as can be seen from the way Neil Lennon was treated both as a player and a manager.

     
  53.  
    12:47: Mystery of Bruce carving solved

    The mystery of a carving unearthed in an Angus village of Robert the Bruce reading the Declaration of Arbroath has been solved.

    Easthaven carving

    East Haven residents initially thought the carving could be a historical artefact, but it was actually made as part of a college project in the 1960s.

    A local man made the carving at Dundee College, before later moving to Spain.

    The terracotta sculpture depicts Robert the Bruce reading the 1320 declaration, signed at nearby Arbroath Abbey.

     
  54.  
    Text using 80295 Anti-Irish bigotry - Your views

    John Griffin, Penicuik: I am a 57-year-old from an Irish Catholic background. I am Scottish but I am openly proud of my Irishness. I am a season book holder at Celtic Park and have been attending since late 60s. I live in Midlothian and have worked throughout the Lothians for 40 years. I have never experienced anti-Irish bigotry outside of football. It does not exist in Edinburgh.

    Alan: Yes, there is anti-Irish bigotry in Scotland, and it probably dates back to the Reformation when Catholicism was outlawed in this country.

    RD, Troon: It's great being still called a 'tatty muncher' in 2015. This comes from people who don't recognise how important the Irish have been in helping to build the infrastructure of Scotland.

    Paula, very annoyed in Glasgow: Once again a debate about racism is hijacked by mostly white people to discuss sectarianism and now anti-Irish bigotry. For once could we please discuss racism as it affects those of us who are Black, Asian, Chinese, etc? We are visually different and face overt & subtle racism on a daily basis but in Scotland it's assumed racism isn't an issue because of sectarianism. It's ridiculous!

     
  55.  
    12:33: Before the bridge

    The Forth Bridge is one of the world's most recognisable landmarks.

    It was a milestone in engineering history when it opened 125 years ago.

    Before that, there were numerous attempts to traverse the waters between Edinburgh and Fife - many of them ingenious, others downright bizarre.

    Vincenzo Lunardi
     
  56.  
    @bbcchrismclaug GB or not GB? That is the question... Chris McLaughlin BBC Sport

    .@ScottishFA against football Team GB for Rio 2016. Same stance as 2012. Fears it would compromise status within FIFA.

    Daniel Sturridge and Aaron Ramsey

    SFA would not prevent players taking part but remain against the idea in principle. #TeamGB

     
  57.  
    12:18: Deila's domestic dream

    Celtic manager Ronny Deila insists his in-form side have what it takes to secure the domestic treble this season.

    Ronny Deila

    A win over St Johnstone tonight will take Deila's team nine points clear at the top of the table.

    They are already in the League Cup final, and the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup - both against Dundee United.

    "If we don't do it then we are not good enough but high goals gets high demands and good performances - and this group can handle it," Deila said.

     
  58.  
    @BBCJohnBeattie Never Miss A Beatt... John Beattie BBC Scotland

    On air and asking a fundamental question after half 12 today: is there anti-Irish bigotry in Scotland?

    The John Beattie show

    You can listen live to the programme here.

     
  59.  
    11:59: Pupil charged with assault at school Philip Sim Tayside and Central reporter, BBC Scotland

    A schoolboy has been charged with assault after an alleged attack on a teacher at a school in Kirriemuir.

    The teenager was arrested at Websters High School on Friday and held in custody over the weekend.

    He was charged with assault and was due to make an appearance at Forfar Sheriff Court, but was instead released by the procurator fiscal.

    The Crown Office said the case remains under consideration and a prosecution could be brought at a later date.

     
  60.  
    11:54: Economy forecast to grow despite oil price drop

    The Scottish economy will continue to pick up pace, despite the lower oil price having an adverse impact on the oil and gas industry.

    The Fraser of Allander Institute's regular forecast shows the boost to oil users in Scotland outweighs the harm to North Sea producers.

    Oil rig in the North Sea

    The institute said tightening public spending could still hurt the economy.

    But it said "strengthening" investment was a reason to expect higher growth than it had forecast in November.

     
  61.  
    11:50: Man charged over '106mph driving'

    Two men have been charged over allegations of driving at 106mph and 96mph on a stretch of road in Aberdeenshire.

    Police Scotland said the men, aged 19 and 21, were clocked on the A952 Toll of Birness to Fraserburgh road, which has a 60mph limit.

    They were stopped in separate incidents on Tuesday,

     
  62.  
    11:46: Udder despair on the M80

    Problems are continuing on the M80 this morning after a cattle trailer overturned.

    The road was closed for a short time in both directions between junction 6 and junction 7.

    Two hours after Traffic Scotland first highlighted the incident, they tweet: UPDATE 11:30 #M80 N/B traffic being held due to cattle being moved into another trailer. S/B traffic now moooving but very slowly...

    We are not sure if the cow puns will cheer up those stuck on the road but, for everyone else, send your best efforts to newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk

     
  63.  
    @TomEnglishSport 11:42: The Tom English column BBC Sport Scotland

    In his weekly column, Tom English looks at Dave Mackay the man and golf's perception issue.

    Scotland legend Dave Mackay, who passed away this week aged 80
     
  64.  
    11:29: Images of new five-star hotel issued Angie Brown BBC Scotland, Edinburgh and East reporter

    Images of how the new hotel at the St James development in Edinburgh will look have been released showing it wrapped in ribbons of bronze cladding.

    Edinburgh St James hotel

    The 210-room hotel will include a top-floor bar offering panoramic 360 degree views, according to plans drawn up by architects Jestico + Whiles.

    It is part of the £850m development to replace the St James Centre at the east end of Princes Street.

    Work is due to start on the development by the end of the year.

     
  65.  
    11:18: Scottish Power hit with sales ban

    Energy supplier Scottish Power has accepted a 12-day sales ban after failing to meet Ofgem's customer service targets, the watchdog has said.

    Gas rings

    The firm cannot engage in "proactive sales" for a dozen days from 4 March.

    It came after the supplier failed to meet Ofgem's targets to clear up all outstanding Energy Ombudsman decisions regarding customer complaints.

    Scottish Power said it was "committed to delivering the best service possible and treating our customers fairly".

     
  66.  
    11:09: Airport firm not lost on space idea Steven McKenzie BBC Scotland Highlands and Islands reporter

    The operator of airports at Stornoway and Campbeltown says it is open to the idea of either site being developed as a UK spaceport.

    Artist's concept of Skylon

    Highlands and Islands Airport Limited (Hail) said it did not have the resources to take on the project itself.

    But Hial's chairman Grenville Johnson added that the company would probably offer what help it could to an organisation that could fund it.

    Stornoway and Campbeltown are on a list of possible spaceport locations.

     
  67.  
    @BBCRadioScot Audience members wanted... BBC Radio Scotland

    For BBC Radio Scotland's @bigdebate in Arbroath on 13 March. Apply here to be part of the audience.

     
  68.  
    10:52: Boost for Scots economy forecast Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    The Scottish economy will continue to pick up pace, despite the impact for the oil and gas industry of the lower oil price.

    The Fraser of Allander Institute's regular forecast shows the boost to oil users in Scotland outweighs the harm to oil producers.

    That runs counter to the view of the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, who said he expected the UK economy to be helped by lower prices, while the Scottish economy would not.

    The economic group says a tightening of public spending could still hurt the economy, but growth in investment is a reason to expect higher growth than it forecast last November.

     
  69.  
    10:43: New wind farm bid near Inverness Steven McKenzie BBC Scotland Highlands and Islands reporter

    A 12-turbine wind farm has been proposed for a site next to a 33-turbine project being constructed south of Inverness.

    Wind farm

    Developer RES has submitted a planning application to Highland Council for Aberarder Wind Farm.

    In 2010, RES secured approval for the 33-turbine Dunmaglass Wind Farm about 20 miles (32km) from Inverness. SSE is now developing the site.

    Conservationists had opposed the scheme.

    Ornithologist Roy Dennis and biologist Dr David Bellamy joined campaigns opposed to the project on the site in the Monadhliath hills.

    The Cairngorms National Park Authority and John Muir Trust were also against the scheme, which was given planning permission by the Scottish government.

     
  70.  
    10:36: Fancy being a baywatcher?

    A charity which saves lives at sea is looking to recruit for a post it has described as "Fife's best summer job".

    RNLI lifeguard

    The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) wants a lifeguard to patrol beaches at St Andrews East, Leven, Burntisland and Aberdour Silver Sands.

    It wants strong, fit, swimmers who are courageous, trustworthy and dependable.

    The RNLI said successful applicants would "receive world class training in search and rescue, lifesaving and casualty care techniques".

    You can watch a short film here, to get a flavour of what working as a lifeguard is like.

     
  71.  
    @trafficscotland Cows on the M80

    Traffic Scotland tweets: #M80 b/w CLOSED btw J7 Haggs & J6 Old Inns due to potential cattle on the road. Traffic being diverted off the slips. Police there #BeAware

     
  72.  
    10:21: 'Unsafe practice' after workman dies

    A workman was crushed to death by a road-roller because safe working practices were not observed, a fatal accident inquiry has concluded.

    David McClorey

    David McClorey died after being trapped between his digger and the roller as he worked on a new power line near Kinbuck, Stirlingshire, in April 2012.

    The 31-year-old, from Stranraer, died at the scene after a fuel exchange operation went wrong.

    A sheriff ruled that there had been "a defect in the system of working".

     
  73.  
    ScottishPower punished Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    ScottishPower banned from proactive sales activity for 12 days, as Ofgem punishment for failing to make customer service improvements

     
  74.  
    10:10: Call for Dave Mackay stand Edinburgh Evening News

    Hearts fans today called for a stand at Tynecastle to be renamed in honour of Dave Mackay.

    Dave Mackay

    Supporters joined sports stars and politicians in paying tribute to the club legend who died aged 80 on Monday in hospital in Nottingham.

     
  75.  
    10:02: Marischal Square talks 'behind closed doors'

    Much of a special meeting to discuss the future of the controversial Marischal Square project in Aberdeen could be held behind closed doors.

    Marischal Square

    The SNP group will use Thursday's meeting to call for a moratorium on the £107m development, which would include shops, offices and restaurants.

    However the talks could be held in private if discussions turn to the issue of legal advice.

    Hundreds of people have taken part in protests against the project.

     
  76.  
    09:50: Pair held over jewel raid released

    A man and a woman who were detained in connection with an armed robbery at an Edinburgh jewellers have been released without charge.

    Laing the jewellers in Frederick Street Pic: Brian Innes

    The 27-year-old man and 31-year-old woman were held on Tuesday after a police operation at an address in the capital's Easter Drylaw.

    The house was searched in connection with a robbery at Laing the Jewellers in Frederick Street on Monday morning.

    Items including watches worth around £100,000 were taken in the raid.

     
  77.  
    Text using 80295 Super ID database - Your views

    Gordon, Shetland: Hi, this database in my view is hypocritical as HMRC have access to it, presumably to track down tax avoiders. It's not that long ago this government excused poll tax avoiders because they were tracked down when registering to vote in the Referendum.

     
  78.  
    09:41: The beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning?

    The struggle for control of Rangers turned into an epic saga, but battle weariness won't be allowed to accompany the incoming directors through the front doors at Ibrox.

    Richard Gough, Paul Murray, Dave King and John Gilligan

    Dave King, Paul Murray and John Gilligan face a rebuilding challenge that makes the fight to enter the boardroom seem like merely setting up base camp at the foot of Everest.

     
  79.  
    Text using 80295 Super ID database - Get involved

    Anon: To Mike: "only people with nothing to hide" is a ridiculous statement. I'm a member of the SNP who is against the use of our details by any government body without consent. This argument isn't by someone who wants to hide; it's made by someone who cares about the government diminishing our civil liberties.

     
  80.  
    09:29: Fred Goodwin's office put to new use

    The grand office built for Fred Goodwin when he was chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland is being turned over to 80 entrepreneurs.

    Fred Goodwin

    RBS announced that the "executive wing" at its Gogarburn headquarters in west Edinburgh was to be occupied by those setting up in business.

    The centre will house staff from business organisations such as Entrepreneurial Spark.

    It will be home to its "business accelerator hub".

     
  81.  
    09:25: Blaze at historic mansion

    A blaze has damaged part of an historic mansion on the outskirts of Dumfries.

    Carnsalloch

    The flames engulfed an annex of the derelict Carnsalloch House at about 23:00 on Tuesday.

    Three fire appliances were deployed to the scene, with water drawn from the nearby River Nith used to douse the flames.

    There are no details at the moment on the cause of the incident at the 18th Century building.

     
  82.  
    Text using 80295 Super ID database - Your views

    Mike: Only people with something to hide don't want to be on a UK database. Such as the ex non payers of the council tax.

     
  83.  
    09:10: 'We've obviously got issues'

    Aberdeen City Council is expected to confirm that it is quitting the local government body Cosla to join a new rival group.

    Jenny Laing, leader of the city council, told BBC Scotland that Aberdeen's voice "wasn't being heard within Cosla".

    "We've obviously got issues around our funding settlement, having been the lowest funded council in Scotland for some time," she said.

    "It is important for us, and me as a council leader, that we are getting that message across to Scottish government.

    "We don't feel we can do that through Cosla and we are looking for other ways in which we can."

     
  84.  
    09:05: Flying the flag

    A Berwickshire councillor has asked whether flags other than the Saltire can be flown on the Scottish side of the border with England.

    Scottish and English flag

    Michael Cook has made the inquiry regarding provision at Lamberton on the boundary between the Scottish Borders and Northumberland.

    He said three Saltires currently fly on the Scottish side.

    Mr Cook asked whether a county flag of Berwickshire or the union jack could also be flown north of the border.

     
  85.  
    @BBCRadioScot Coming up...

    Today on #MorningCall: Would you welcome more organisations having access to your personal data? Call 0500 92 95 00.

    Morning Call

    Listen live to the programme here.

     
  86.  
    08:48: What's on the back pages?

    The Rangers extraordinary general meeting will go ahead despite shareholder Dave King claiming a "landslide" victory in his bid to get rid of the current board, reports The Scotsman.

    Scott Allan

    Former Motherwell and Rangers defender Craig Paterson has urged Scotland manager Gordon Strachan to give Hibernian's Scott Allan a call-up.

    And Celtic will offer goalkeeper Craig Gordon a new long-term deal to fend off interest from English clubs.

     
  87.  
    Text using 80295 Council shake-up - Your views

    Gordie, Glenrothes: With councils leaving Cosla, the councils no longer overseeing a local police service, social work moving from councils to integrate with health and financial challenges, the Scottish government will now have the confidence to reduce the number of councils in Scotland! We don't need 32, with 32 chief executives, directors of education, directors of housing etc.

     
  88.  
    08:31: Tourism centre closed

    A trend towards tourists accessing information online has been cited as a reason behind plans to shut a south of Scotland visitor centre.

    Tourism office

    Dumfries and Galloway councillors are being asked to agree to close a face-to-face service in Newton Stewart.

    It comes after usage figures showed a 66% drop in footfall over the past five years.

    A 12-month pilot of providing visitor information at another site in the town is being proposed.

     
  89.  
    08:20: Fan ownership Alasdair Lamont BBC Scotland

    Fan representation in Scottish football has been in the news a lot recently, with the Rangers Supporters Trust and Rangers First building their shareholding at Ibrox.

    Ian Murray

    Often, fan ownership comes about from a crisis situation at a club, such as has happened with Rangers and Hearts.

     
  90.  
    08:12: Read all about it

    There are taxing issues on the front of a number of Scottish newspapers on Wednesday.

    The Scotsman says that Nicola Sturgeon has ditched the SNP government's flagship pledge to slash big business taxes in Scotland.

    Wednesday's front pages

    As the first minister unveiled her economic vision for Scotland, she revealed a change in stance on corporation tax, focusing on "targeted changes in tax allowances" rather than a "blanket approach".

    The Herald says that UK chancellor George Osborne has come under intense pressure from business chiefs to reverse in full his controversial tax grab on the embattled North Sea oil and gas industry.

    Read the rest of our newspaper round-up here.

     
  91.  
    08:04: Goulding to perform at Glasgow festival

    Ellie Goulding will perform at the Glasgow Summer Sessions festival later this year.

    Ellie Goulding

    Goulding, who is currently top of the charts with her song Love Me Like You Do, will support headliner Calvin Harris and will take to the stage in Bellahouston Park on Sunday, 30 August.

    John Newman, Disciples and Burns will also perform.

    Tickets go on sale this Friday.

     
  92.  
    08:02: Swinney defends database plans

    Deputy First Minister John Swinney, in response to concerns over plans for a super database, told Good Morning Scotland that the proposal is "not a new database".

    John Swinney

    He added: "The database that is proposed to be used under this system is the NHS National Register, which has existed since the 1950s.

    "What we are trying to do is make it possible and practical for members of the public to access public services online, and being able to do that safely and securely.

    "Public bodies will not be able to interrogate some database, they will not be able to look through peoples' records. It is a verification and matching system to make sure we are delivering public services online to individuals who require and are entitled to those services."

     
  93.  
    07:55: High note for Calvin Harris fans

    Calvin Harris has been announced as the first headline act for Glasgow's Summer Sessions.

    The Scots DJ will take to the stage at Bellhouston Park on 30 August.

    Calvin Harris

    Summer Sessions is Scotland's only annual outdoor city music festival.

    Last year, The Killers, and DJs David Guetta and Steve Angello performed to more than 100,000 people at Bellahouston across three dates. Tickets for the 2015 event go on sale on Friday.

     
  94.  
    07:50: 'Stick to talking to Cosla'

    With news that four councils are leaving the local government umbrella group Cosla, to join a rival body, Professor Richard Kerley, chair of the Centre for Scottish Public Policy, predicts an "unpredictable future".

    "This has gone on for some considerable time," he told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland.

    "It seems to me that some of their (the four councils) arguments for being very important are not really material to what the Scottish government is going to want to know, which is: which representative organisation do we discuss local government matters with?

    Council gritter

    "I assume, at the moment, they will stick to talking to Cosla, which will continue to represent 28 councils.

    "Aberdeen has for many years now argued that it receives a lesser amount of financial support from the Scottish government than it is due to than other councils do.

    "The objective criteria used to determine most of that distribution don't favour Aberdeen. It has pockets of poverty, that's undeniable, there are people living in Aberdeen who are struggling.

    "But, by and large, it's a very prosperous area; [it has] little in common with Glasgow, Renfrewshire and to a certain extent South Lanarkshire."

    Cosla insists the move is not the end for the umbrella group and that the four councils will be welcome back any time.

     
  95.  
    07:44: 'Creeping' towards identity cards

    Plans for a new identity database are to be debated by MSPs later amid civil liberty concerns.

    Willie Rennie

    Under the proposals more than 100 public bodies, including HMRC, would be able to access adults' private data on the NHS Central Register (NHSCR).

    One of the politicians opposed to the scheme is the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie.

    The MSP told Good Morning Scotland: "The main concern is the creeping nature towards a single number - a universal database - right across the public sector. It is one small step away from creating an identity card.

    "I know the Scottish government say they are against identity cards, but these are identity cards in all but name."

     
  96.  
    07:38: Play to champion disabled acting

    A play featuring a number of disabled actors is set to take to the stage in Dundee.

    Thousands of pounds has been spent improving disabled access at the city's Rep Theatre for the new production of Blood Wedding.

    Dundee play rehearsal

    The cast includes deaf actors and wheelchair users, and is backed by the Graeae Theatre Company, which promotes the work of disabled thespians.

    Blood Wedding runs at the Dundee Rep until 14 March.

     
  97.  
    07:30: Man arrested over bus sex attacks

    A 36-year-old man has been arrested in connection with alleged sexual assaults in the city centre of Glasgow.

    It comes after police released images of a man they were keen to trace in relation to a series of incidents on buses in the city.

    Three women were allegedly assaulted between 19 and 27 November last year.

     
  98.  
    07:28: SSE donation 'window dressing'

    An organisation campaigning for cheaper electricity charges for people living on the Western isles has criticised a £40,000 donation from SSE to a charity.

    light bulb

    The money will be used by Energy Action Scotland to raise awareness of the help available to people struggling to pay their household fuel bills.

    Describing the money as "window dressing", Western Isles Poverty Action Group said SSE could afford to do more.

    SSE said the donation was aimed at helping its most vulnerable customers.

     
  99.  
    @BBCScotWeather Ice risk BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    Take care this morning, folks - widespread risk of ice.

    Ice warning
     
  100.  
    07:22: Forth Bridge birthday

    On its 125th birthday, we have published a selection of your best pictures of the Forth Bridge.

    Forth Bridge

    The cantilever railway bridge which spans the Firth of Forth from nine miles (14 km) west of Edinburgh city centre to North Queensferry in Fife, is one of Scotland's most famous landmarks.

    A fly-past by a Spitfire and an RAF Typhoon will mark the 125th anniversary at 13.25 GMT.

     

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