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%.

line
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.

line

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.

line
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"

line

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."

line
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.

line

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?"

line
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.

line
The issues in graphics
public expenditure
North Sea oil
NHS spending
 

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • 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

 

More Scotland politics stories

RSS

Scotland Live

  1.  
    Kheredine Idessane BBC Scotland

    .@andy_murray coach @AmeMauresmo says media criticism didnt bother her, and hasnt deflected them from their path

     
  2.  
    09:23: Arrest after woman robbed of car

    A man has been arrested after a woman was attacked and robbed of her car in the Leith area of Edinburgh.

    The incident happened at about 11:30 on Wednesday when a man approached the 61-year-old woman in Jane Street and asked for directions. He assaulted her before driving her silver Honda Civic towards Leith Walk.

    Police said a 34-year-old had been charged and was expected to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court later today.

     
  3.  
    09:16: Business crime fighters Evening Telegraph

    A city business group has pledged to double the number of subscribers to crime-fighting tool DUNCAN.

    That is if Dundee City Council agrees to fund the scheme — which helps traders identify troublemakers — for another year, rather than axe it as part of budget cuts.

     
  4.  
    09:10: FBU demands urgent action BBC Radio Scotland

    Roddy Robertson from FBU Scotland tells Good Morning Scotland urgent action is needed after research by Stirling University says firefighters face an unacceptable level of risk. Over the past ten years, fourteen have died in the line of duty.

    Mr Robertson says: "After the 2002/2003 fire dispute we had we lost a number of, as we see it, structures, that bound together the fire service.

    Firefighters

    He says: "Things like standards, so breathing apparatus all the type of equipment we use, the type of fire engine we've got, type of equipment we have got on that fire engine.

    "We've seen a gradual but a diversion of type of equipment and training and it's not as joined up as used to be and when you don't have joined up training in an emergency situation, that's when you have problems."

    The Scottish Government says the number of lives lost to fire is the joint lowest in the last ten years and ministers will consider the findings of the report.

     
  5.  
    09:07: Apprenticeships: 'Very clear focus' BBC Radio Scotland

    Fair Work, Skills and Training Secretary Roseanna Cunningham tells Good Morning Scotland the Scottish government has a "very clear focus" on vocational education and is delivering "a very high number of modern apprenticeships year on year".

    Her comments came after an educational charity, the National Centre for Excellence, said half the people it surveyed here had said there weren't enough opportunities to do apprenticeships.

    Apprentice at work

    Ms Cunningham says 25,000 opportunities each year is the current target, with 13,000 achieved after the second quarter.

    She continues: "There needs to be a clear partnership between schools colleges and local employers. Each of those three parts of the system are extremely important, and they need to work together."

    We need to make sure opportunities are available across the wide spectrum not just university, she adds, although there are modern apprenticeships delivered at universities as well so its "not a case of either or".

     
  6.  
    #scotsnow #scotlandlive 09:05: Your Snow Pictures

    Devin Scobie sent this image of a snowy Balerno street this morning.

    snow in Balerno

    How does it look where you are?

    Email: newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk or tweet us using #Scotlandlive

     
  7.  
    @bbcbigdebate The Big Debate

    We're on the banks of the River Nith today for today's debate in snowy #Dumfries. Tune in at 12:00 on @BBCRadioScot

    River Nith
     
  8.  
    08:53: Armed police Morning Call BBC Radio Scotland

    Police Scotland has been criticised for the way it brought in its controversial policy allowing some armed officers to carry out routine duties.

    Are you concerned? Or is it a good thing to have officers ready to respond to the most serious incidents quickly?

    Call Kay on 0500 92 95 00.

    Text: 80295.

    email: morningcallscotland@bbc.co.uk or use http://www.facebook.com/bbcradioscotland or twitter @bbcradioscot.

     
  9.  
    08:45: Camp spirit BBC Sport Scotland

    Amelie Mauresmo praised the spirit in the Andy Murray camp after his dramatic win over Tomas Berdych at the Australian Open.

    Amelie Mauresmo

    Murray, seeded sixth, recovered from losing a tense first set to win in four and reach his eighth Grand Slam final.

     
  10.  
    @trafficscotland Traffic Scotland

    #A85 just South of Dunbeg is *closed* due a RTC. Police are on scene & we will update asap. #BeAware & avoid the area if you can. #StaySafe

     
  11.  
    08:35: Brown secures devolution debate

    The former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown has secured a further debate at Westminster on the promise of further powers for Scotland.

    Gordon Brown

    He is widely credited for helping to secure as part of the so-called "Vow" during the referendum.

    The MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath will also use the occasion, next week, to condemn Conservative plans for English votes for English laws.

     
  12.  
    @trafficscotland Traffic Scotland

    #A9 Drumochter is partially blocked in both directions due to RTC with van. Traffic is busy but getting by & police are on the scene.

     
  13.  
    08:24: Marine protection fears

    Coastal communities around Scotland will be hit the hardest, if the Scottish government fails to manage Marine Protected Areas properly - according to a coalition of environment charities.

    Flame shells

    They've criticised government plans as too cautious, protecting only small patches of the seabed. Ministers says the conservation areas will help to enhance the marine environment. A public consultation is due to close on Monday.

     
  14.  
    08:17: Daily Record

    Old Firm wifebeaters are set to receive a police visit in a bid to stamp out violence sparked by Glasgow derby.

    Domestic violence

    Extra officers have been drafted in to target known offenders during Sunday's Old Firm match and the other semi-final between Aberdeen And Dundee United tomorrow.

     
  15.  
    BBC Scotland Travel Latest

    #FortAugustus #A82 RTC between Canal Side (Fort Augustus) and A887 (Invermoriston).

    Bout 1 1/2 miles N of Fort Augustus.

     
  16.  
    08:06: BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    A cold, icy start in places with frost away from the coast. A chilly day ahead with a good amount of dry and sunny weather for the Central Lowlands, east coast and south.

    For the Highlands, Northern Grampian and the Isles, frequent showers through the day. These are of rain or sleet to low levels, and of snow on high ground and high road routes. Winds remains strong in the north from a northerly direction.

    Highs this afternoon around 5 or 6 C - colder where there is snow on the ground.

     
  17.  
    07:59: Continental market suspended

    A continental market's licence to trade in Stranraer has been suspended.

    Stranraer

    The decision was made after a number of the market's traders set up in the town last July without booking in advance.

    Their position in Castle Square meant an event organised by Stranraer Music Town had to be cancelled.

     
  18.  
    07:53: End of poll tax debts approved in principle

    Plans to end the collection of poll tax debts in Scotland have been approved in principle by the Scottish Parliament.

    Poll tax

    The community charge debt bill was passed by 96 votes to 14, although it still faces two further stages of scrutiny before becoming law. Some councils are opposed to the legislation.

     
  19.  
    07:41: Scotland's papers

    Andy Murray's fiancée Kim Sears features on many of the front pages as he secured his place in the Australian Open final. What the papers say.

    PAPERS
     
  20.  
    07:34: More snow falls overnight

    Eddie Ross, BEAR Scotland's North West Operating Company Representative, says: ''The North West and North East Trunk Roads have experienced intermittent snow showers throughout the night on most routes.

    A835 at Altguish near Garve in Highlands

    "Our winter teams have worked throughout the night and the Trunk Roads in North West and North East are clear and currently have no issues.

    ''We will continue to monitor weather conditions and patrol and treat routes as necessary throughout this period of winter weather. We encourage motorists to check travel updates before setting out, prepare for their journeys and drive with care as these wintery conditions are set to continue into next week."

     
  21.  
    newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk 07:27: Your Pictures

    Neil Cameron sent this image of a sunset on Loch Linnhe taken from Camusnagaul ferry.

    Sunset on Loch Linnhe

    Email your pictures to newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk

    You can also tell us what you think of the week's pictures on the BBC Scotland News facebook page.

     
  22.  
    07:18: BBC Scotland Travel Latest

    Roads: A77 Girvan road is described as "just passable" because of snow between Girvan and Stranraer; the road was closed from 9 last night till just after midnight.

    A risk of ice wherever there's been a bit of thaw, especially on side roads.

    Trains: No reported problems

    Ferries: Cal Mac- No sailings to and from Lewis-(Ullapool -Stornoway). Tomorrow's sailings are on amber alert.

    Northlink- Possible disruption between Aberdeen and Lerwick.

     
  23.  
    07:10: Firefighter deaths 'should have been prevented'

    The deaths of some firefighters in the UK since 2004 "could and should have been prevented", a report has said.

    Building on fire

    The report - commissioned by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) - looked into 14 deaths of firefighters in the last 10 years and warned "good practice" had sometimes been ignored.

    Research was carried out at the University of Stirling.

     
  24.  
    07:04: More snow and ice forecast

    The Met Office has issued yellow "be aware" warnings for snow and ice across Scotland this morning.

    Snowy composite

    The warnings will also remain in place for northern and western regions of the country for Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

    Showers of sleet and hail are also expected, with between 1-3cm of further snow at lower levels.

    The A77 Girvan to Stranraer road was described as "just passable" due to snow.

     
  25.  
    07:00: Good morning Sandy Murray BBC Scotland news

    Hullo and welcome to Scotland Live on Friday.

    If you are driving anywhere this morning, leave enough time to clear your car windows. Like I should have done.

    Throughout the day, we will keep you up to date with the latest weather, travel, news and sport.

     

Features

  • SnowIn pictures

    Images of the snow which has fallen across many parts of Scotland


  • WW1 gas mask being demonstratedTrench terror

    Did the soldiers of WW1 have an irrational fear of poison gas?


  • Gabrielle Derameaux in her class Class struggle

    French teachers on the front line after Charlie Hebdo attack


  • ManDay in the life

    What really goes on in a care home?


  • Baby in boxStrange case

    The remarkable appeal of the Finnish baby boxes


Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.