Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Live Reporting

Marianne Taylor, Steven Brocklehurst, Martin Currie and Camila Ruz

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodbye

    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.

  2. 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!!

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. Who won it?

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

    Alistair Darling and Alex Salmond debate, snap poll
  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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."

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. Post-debate poll

    The Guardian/ICM poll, which is just out, says 71% thought First Minister Alex Salmond did best in tonight's debate.

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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?

  17. 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

  18. 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."

  19. 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

  20. Debate finished

    Alistair Darling and Alex Salmond

    And that's it - the debate is over. More analysis to come, but the main event has finished.

  21. Closing statement - Darling

    Mr Darling says "of course Scotland can go it alone" but he does not believe the country will be as successful as it would be within the United Kingdom.

    "I make no apology for returning to the issue of currency," Mr Darling says, "because it is fundamental to the economy of Scotland" and Alex Salmond has no answers.

    "We have no option but to say politely but firmly No thanks to independence," he ends.

  22. Closing statement - Salmond

    Alex Salmond says independence is an opportunity that might not come again.

    He says it's about "taking the future of our country in to our own hands".

    The No campaign has nothing positive to says about the future of Scotland, he says.

    The first minister says in an independent Scotland there is one thing for certain and that is the people of Scotland will always get the government they vote for.

    "This is our time, let's seize it with both hands," he ends.

  23. Analysis - after the vote

    Andrew Black

    Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    Even though we've not had the referendum vote, people are wondering what happens on the 19th September, given the, at times, very heated nature of the campaign. Both Mr Salmond and Mr Darling say its in the interests for both sides to come together, whatever be outcome.

  24. Closing statements - Salmond

    And on to the closing statements, as the clock runs close to the end.

    Mr Salmond is first up.

    Alex Salmond
  25. Your views


    aileen phillip: #bbcindyref Why are the number of working age Scots falling in Scotland if it's such an attractive proposition Mr Salmond?

    neilmcevoy: Astonishing that Darling offered more devolution, but can't name 1 devolved job creating power they'd give. #bbcindyref

  26. After the referendum?

    We're on to the final section of the debate: "What happens after the independence referendum?"

    The question from the audience is "How will Westminster and Holyrood work together after this vote?"

    Mr Darling says the campaign has got much more heated in the past few weeks. He says both sides have to accept the result and then work together to build a better Scotland.

    Mr Salmond says it has been the most "extraordinary and energising" campaign in Scottish history.

    The first minister says he will pledge to have the best talent in Scotland to negotiate the best deal for Scotland after a "Yes" vote. He invites Alistair Darling to join Team Scotland.

  27. Get involved


    Sarah Baldwin: This cross examination is not working, the bickering is on an epic scale - talking over each other and can't distinguish what their points of view are.

    Sandra Young: As a Scot living in England, I understand why Alex Salmond has not allowed us to vote. I believe most would vote to keep the Union.

    Kenny Lambie: If Scotland does gain independence, can we in Orkney and Shetland get independence from Scotland? We would have a right to the oil as well if you believe all that Mr Salmond says.

  28. Analysis - defence

    Andrew Black

    Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    As expected, the issue of removing Trident nuclear weapons from their base on the Clyde under independence (a defining SNP policy) comes up.

    Aside from the moral and defence case for and against keeping them, Mr Darling says Trident removal risks 8,000 jobs, while Mr Salmond says a conventional Scottish defence force would employ more people.

  29. Defence

    Mr Salmond says conventional defence forces will generate more jobs than a nuclear missile system.

    Live debate

    Mr Darling says moving Trident could be very expensive and could take a very long time. It will also lead to a huge loss of jobs and expertise from Scotland.

  30. Get involved

    Text 61124

    Benji from Edinburgh: Darling evasive, defensive on question time - almost lost the plot! Blown away and bumbling!

    Norrie from Stevenson: What a pure rammy!! Alex Salmond was a disgrace, shouting over Alastair Darling to the point I almost switched off. We're supposed to be talking about the future of our country and the SNP cannot even guarantee our currency. What a shambles.

  31. Salmond on Trident

    There is a five-year timetable for the removal of Trident, Mr Salmond says. There would then be a 10-year period to build up Scottish defence forces.

    Mr Salmond says the people of England might not want Trident towed down to them and might make a "sensible choice" not to renew the nuclear weapons.

  32. Trident

    Scotland's place in the world is the next section.

    "What happens after Trident is removed from Scotland? What happens to Faslane, where it is based?" asks a member of the audience.

    Audience member

    Mr Salmond says Faslane will be the headquarters of the Scottish defence forces. He says he is "very conscious" of his responsibility to the local community in Faslane.

    Mr Darling says if Trident goes, all the other work will go too. He adds that Scotland can ill-afford to lose 8,000 jobs from the Clyde.

    "Towing the nuclear warheads down the coast to England" will not mean there are any fewer nuclear weapons in the world but it will be a massive blow to the economy of the west of Scotland, he says.

  33. Get involved


    Caroline Cheetham: I have learned nothing tonight. Grown men squabbling like my two children. How to put people off politics! #bbcindyref

    John Mead: If Salmonds negotiation tactics is to talk over anybody that disagrees with him, Good Luck Scotland

    Sandy Gavryluk: Got to say Alex is controlling this debate. Last 15 mins should be 3 x 4 mins rounds of no hold barns #bbcindyref

  34. Live from Aberdeen

    Louise Sayers

    BBC Scotland

    As an Aberdonian, "No" voter Robyn Shepherd is concerned about Scotland's economy being based on oil.

    "I live in a city that is oil rich but this wealth isn't shared. Property in Aberdeen is so expensive, so many people are struggling and find it impossible to get on the housing ladder," she says.

  35. Get involved


    James Paterson: Nothing new in the debate, shouting back and forth, and will just alienate people about politics.

    Margaret Anderson emails: It's 9.30pm and they're interrupting each other so much that it's turned into a rabble. I'm switching over!

    Duncan Livingstone emails: Salmond will say anything to get applause. He promises everything to everyone and relies on Anglophobic rhetoric - he's the worst kind of nationalist

    Mark Collie emails: How bad is this? I wouldn't teach my kids to argue like that never mind debate. Darling would be better playing it cool and just listen to what is being said instead of his prepared script.

  36. Analysis - 'relentless' questioning

    Brian Taylor

    Political editor, Scotland

    Mr Salmond's turn and he pursues AD over the issues of welfare and the NHS. He quotes Unison as discerning a threat to expenditure upon health - and repeatedly invites Mr Darling to agree with the statement. He does not.

    Again, on the next topic, the FM's approach is to question Mr Darling relentlessly, asking for job creating powers under enhanced devolution. It is argument by attrition. Mr Salmond appears content that he had discomfited the former Chancellor. Mr Darling says his rival's arguments are absolute nonsense.

  37. On and on it goes....

    How much will replacing Trident cost? asks Mr Salmond. £4bn a year, Mr Salmond says. Is it a sensible use of resources when the NHS is under pressure? he asks.

    And on Mr Salmond goes. He's on a roll now. "Name three job-creating powers that you will guarantee to the Scottish Parliament?".

    Mr Darling says the Scottish Parliament already has many powers. He says staying part of the UK is the best way of creating jobs in the future. He says the only thing you have to offer is cutting the rate of corporation tax, that would be "great for Starbucks but no-one else".

    It all got very hectic and shouty and Glenn Campbell calls a break.

  38. Analysis - agreement?

    Andrew Black

    Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    There are some things Mr Salmond and Mr Darling actually agree on, like doing away with controversial welfare reforms and UK spending cuts - but even these issues are a source of dispute.

    Mr Darling says the solution is a Labour government at the next UK election, while Mr Salmond says the party has shown its true colours by getting "in bed" with the Tories as part of the Better Together campaign to keep the Union.

  39. Better off?

    Emily Craig

    Political analyst, BBC News

    Alex Salmond says an independent Scotland would have been £8bn better off. He used this figure in the first debate and it wasn't immediately clear where it was from.

    The Scottish government has pointed us to an analysis suggesting an independent Scotland would have seen an extra £8.3bn over the last five years, which is the difference (in cash terms) between the Scottish and UK deficits during that period.

    This scenario assumes Scotland would have kept a geographical share of North Sea oil and gas revenues.

  40. Analysis - cross-examination

    Brian Taylor

    Political editor, Scotland

    To cross questioning. Alistair Darling started with the currency - and a further demand for Plan B.

    Mr Salmond said there were three plan Bs: a flexible currency, a currency fixed to the pound and unilateral use of the pound. The FM repeatedly noted that Mr Darling had agreed that Scotland could not be stopped from using the pound.

    In this section, Mr Salmond repeatedly tried to turn it round and demand answers from Mr Darling. Would he support a sterling zone in the event of a Yes vote? The FM wanted the same comment as delivered by Jackson Carlaw of the Tories who said he would man the barricades for a sterling zone in the event of independence.

    Mr Darling said alternatives to the Union involved rotten currency options.

    Mr Darling's second question focused on oil. The debate was feisty - but with no common ground. Mr Darling talked of estimates below that used by the Scottish Government. Mr Salmond disputed that - and referred repeatedly to Mr Darling's tenure as Chancellor.

  41. Get involved


    Robert Nugent: All the topics under discussion are secondary to the key question of whether an independent Scotland has sufficient tax revenue to finance all their plans and what that implies for tax rates.

    Charles Campbell: Why should a voter give any credibility to the politically biased views of a politician whose party sold out to the city of London and who, having crashed the economy and having failed to supervise the banks, took ownership of HBOS and RBS (at huge expense and indebtedness to the taxpayer) without exercising control and instituting any meaningful reform?

    George Taylor: This referendum should be cancelled. With only a few weeks to go, we, the electorate still don't know what we are being asked to choose. No clear answers on currency, Europe, NATO, armed forces etc. This is the first election in history when nobody knows what they're choosing.

  42. Child poverty

    Only two questions from Alistair Darling during his cross-examination. Now it is Alex Salmond's turn.

    He asks "how many children are moving into poverty by the UK government's welfare reforms?"


    Mr Salmond asks why Mr Darling is defending the Conservative-led government's policies.

    Mr Darling says he does not support the current government's policies but he still believes the UK is the best chance of getting a fairer society.

  43. Darling's cross-examination

    Alistair Darling's cross-examination turns to oil revenues. If your oil revenues are £6bn less than expected in a single year, what would you do, asks the Better Together leader.

    Mr Salmond says North Sea oil production is going up. He says you save money when you have more than you expect and spend it when you need to. He says Labour had a deficit of £150bn when Mr Darling was chancellor.

  44. Politicians' views


    SNP MSP Humza Yousaf: Alistair Darling knows he's losing this he's flailing, shouting, wagging finger, going red in the face - they huff and they puff #bbcindyref

    Scottish Conservatives MSP Murdo Fraser: Not sure the Salmond 'I am never wrong' approach will go down well with the voters #bbcindyref

    Labour MP Lucy Powell: Just switched on. My ears hurt! #indyref

  45. Your views


    Craig Livingstone: #bbcindyref Ridiculous waste of cross examination from Darling...what is he doing? How many times does he need the same answer?

    Matthew Crowther: Alex Salmond can't give an answer he just shouts popular things for a cheer. He doesn't seem to have any intelligence #bbcindyref

  46. Back and forth

    The currency is the foundation of our economy, Mr Darling says. Imagine you are wrong, he says, what is your plan B?

    "Even your insults are retreads from the last debate," Mr Salmond says.

    The first minister asks if the people of Scotland give him the mandate to have a currency union with the rest of the UK, would Mr Darling support that?

    "We cannot be stopped from using the pound," says Mr Salmond.

    "So that is plan B?" asks Mr Darling.

  47. The pound - again

    Andrew Black

    Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    Mr Salmond says Mr Darling's comments that an independent Scotland could use the pound is the most important revelation of the debate.

    Mr Darling says the point is that an independent Scotland, without a currency union, would have little economic control.

  48. Cross examination

    On to the cross-examination. Alistair Darling starts.

    Salmond and Darling

    He wants to raise the currency again, he says. The audience groans and Mr Salmond calls him a "one-trick pony".

  49. Voter verdict in Aberdeen

    Louise Sayers

    BBC Scotland

    Forty minutes into the debate, "Yes" voter Gillian Martin says: "There are so many more important things than currency. It's a red herring... Salmond has already set out a plan A, B, C and D."

    James Bream, undecided, has been scribbling furiously during the currency discussion.

    But he admits that the debate might not actually help him decide on how to vote, saying: "My decision might be what I feel on the day."

  50. Welfare

    On welfare, Mr Salmond says the Scottish Parliament took £50m from other areas to compensate vulnerable Scots being penalised by the "bedroom tax".

    Mr Darling says the so-called bedroom tax will be repealed by a future Labour government. But Alex Salmond accused Mr Darling of being "in bed with the Tories" in the Better Together campaign.

  51. Jobs

    The Better Together leader says the UK is better together. Things are difficult just now but we would be making a huge mistake to take the risk of independence, says Mr Darling.

    Referring to Mr Darling's example of shipbuilding jobs which come from being part of the UK, Mr Salmond says shipbuilding employment in Scotland has gone from "tens of thousands to three of thousands". How is that better together, he asks.

  52. Would an independent Scotland be wealthier?

    Emily Craig

    Political analyst, BBC News

    Alex Salmond started off by repeating a claim he made in the first debate. He says an independent Scotland would be the 14th richest economy in the OECD. This is about GDP per head (that's the total amount of goods and services produced by the economy divided by the population). The current rankings of GDP per head among OECD countries puts the UK in 18th place but the Yes campaign says with a geographical share of oil Scotland would rise up the ranks.

    There's more BBC analysis here.

  53. Public spending figures

    Public spending
  54. Politicians' views

    Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Ed Balls: There will be no currency union. Scotland would probably end up with the Euro - the least worst option for Scotland #BBCIndyRef

    SNP MP Stewart Hosie: #bbcindyref. Darling now defending the UK Tory Government. Tory cuts to the NHS are OK now then are they? #voteyes

  55. NHS spending in Scotland

    Emily Craig

    Political analyst, BBC News

    Alistair Darling says the NHS in Scotland has spent nearly £100m in the last couple of years on private sector providers. It's not immediately clear where this figure is from. Earlier this year the SNP's Health Secretary said the NHS had spent £28m on independent providers (0.8% of its total budget) in 2012/13. He added that this would fall to around £25m in 2013/14.

  56. Get involved


    Calum Macdonald: I don't see why Scotland would not be able to adopt its own currency; you could simply call it the Scottish Pound. If all of the Scandinavian countries are able to function with their own respective currencies, then there is no reason why Scotland can't either.

    Clive Chalk: Can you please put to Mr Salmond: If he maintains that the pound is equally as much Scotland's as rest of the Union, will he not also accept that UK oil equally belongs to the rest of the Union too?

  57. Next question

    "If we are Better Together, why are we not better together already?"

  58. The NHS

    Alistair Darling says most people want to see a "strong and thriving health service". He says he is against going down a route that will see public services more squeezed than they would be by remaining part of the UK.

    Mr Salmond asks if Mr Darling s the only person who "does not realise what is happening to the NHS in England and Wales".

  59. Get involved


    Richard Woolley in Cheshire emails: The English will not allow their government to let Scotland use the pound. Scotland cannot have its cake and eat it. Independence means they are on their own.

    I feel sorry for all the Scots who live in the rest of the UK who have been deprived of the vote.

  60. Uncomfortable moment?

    Mr Darling is taken to task by an audience member for "his Labour government" starting the privatisation of the NHS. An uncomfortable moment for the Better Together leader.

    BBC debate
  61. Love for Glenn...

    Observer columnist Kevin McKenna: Glenn Campbell playing a blinder too. Assured, sharp and knowledgeable...

    gideonwilliams: Most impressed with Glenn Campbell so far - not at all overawed and putting both in their place. Conscious of the audience #bbcindyref

    Kenny MacKenzie: #bbcindyref Glenn Campbell's having a good night. #NoNonsense

  62. Analysis - NHS

    Brian Taylor

    Political editor, Scotland

    From the economy to public services - and the NHS.

    Alex Salmond expands upon his argument that the NHS in Scotland is potentially jeopardised by the continuation of the Union.

    It is not, he says, that Scotland can be forced to privatise the NHS - because control of the service is devolved.

    The issue, he says, is that financial control does not ultimately lie in Scotland. If there is charging in England, for example, he says that reduces the scope of the public provision in England and, via Barnett, cuts the money available to Scotland.

    Alistair Darling responds by accusing his rival of scare-mongering. He says some of the issues raised by the supporters of independence in this regard amount to complete fabrication.

  63. Public spending

    Emily Craig

    Political analyst, BBC News

    Alistair Darling says public spending in Scotland is £1,200 per head more than in the rest of the UK.

    According to the House of Commons Library, in 2012/13 public spending per head in the UK as a whole was £8,788 and for Scotland it was £10,152 - a difference of more than £1,300.

  64. The NHS

    Scotland at home is the next section of the debate.

    "How would independence change the NHS, for everyone but mainly for those with chronic illnesses?" asks a member of the audience.

    Mr Salmond says the danger for Scotland is if England goes down the road of privatisation and cuts in funding for Scotland have an impact. He says Scotland cannot be forced to go down the privatisation route but the financial constraints can make life difficult.

    Mr Darling says the strength and security of the UK means public spending is higher in Scotland. He accuses Alex Salmond of running a "scare" campaign about what is happening to the NHS in England.

  65. Analysis - NHS

    Emily Craig

    Political analyst, BBC News

    Alex Salmond says Scotland doesn't have "financial control" of the NHS. The Scottish budget is decided by the 'Barnett formula'. This means that when the UK government decides to change the level of spending in a devolved area, the Scottish government's Budget is adjusted in proportion.

    However, the Scottish government can allocate money wherever it chooses. So even if the UK government did decide to spend less on health, the Scottish government could maintain or increase its spending on the NHS provided it found the money elsewhere. But there would be pressure on other areas of its budget.

  66. Analysis - currency

    Andrew Black

    Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    Both sides are sticking to their guns, unsurprisingly, on currency. Mr Darling again asks Mr Salmond for a currency Plan B, saying there's no will for the UK parties to make a currency union work.

    The first minister says his plan is in the best interests of an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK.

  67. Oil revenues

    @YesScotland: Why do the No campaign think oil is a massive burden for Scotland, but a tremendous asset for every other country in the world? #bbcindyref

    @theSNP: Wood's North Sea downgrade forecast dismissed by Oil & Gas UK #indyref

    @SkyNews: "Oil and gas revenues are very unpredictable and expected to decline over the long term." Via @FullFact #IndyRef

  68. NHS figures - last 5 years

    NHS budget
  69. Analysis - trade within the UK

    Emily Craig

    Political analyst, BBC News

    Alex Salmond has been talking about trade. He says the UK is Scotland's biggest export market and Scotland is the second largest market for the rest of the UK.

    The figures back him up. Scottish government statistics suggest 65% of Scottish exports were destined for the rest of the UK in 2012. (That's excluding oil and gas, which is counted as a UK export.)

    Meanwhile the UK Treasury says Scotland is second biggest market for the rest of the UK, after the United States.

  70. Still on currency

    Mr Salmond says Scotland will take a fair share of the UK debt if it gets a currency union.

    Mr Darling is asked what he would choose as "plan B". He refuses to choose one. He says the current arrangement with the pound sterling within the UK is the best option.

  71. The pound

    Mr Salmond asks if the people of Scotland back the plan to keep the pound sterling would Mr Darling accept that?

    Mr Darling says the pound sterling only works if you have a political and monetary union.

    The Scottish first minister says that if Scotland is denied the assets of the Bank of England, it will be denied the liabilities. Scotland will not have to pay about £5bn to service the current debt, he says.

    Debate live

    Mr Darling denies that Scotland will lose its liabilities for UK debt if it does not get a currency union. But Mr Salmond says the UK Treasury has admitted liability for the debt.

  72. Get involved


    Lynne Brown: I appreciate apprehension re currency but should we trust Darling? He was involved in running the show when the banks crashed #bbcindyref

    Nick Turner: This mandate Salmond keeps mentioning is gibberish. #bbcindyref

  73. Currency - your views


    Iain Nelson: 68% of people in England against a currency union with Scotland. That's about as popular as joining the Euro. #bbcindyref

    Clare Clarke: Salmond is the better orator once again. #bbcindyref #ScotlandDecides #ScotDecides

    STV's Claire Stewart: I feel quite sorry for Panama!

  74. Analysis

    Andrew Black

    Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    The debate gets straight into currency, one of the biggest issues in this campaign. Again we hear the argument from Mr Salmond that an independent Scotland is perfectly entitled to use the pound. Mr Darling says the Scottish government's preferred currency union deal won't work.

  75. Currency union?

    Mr Salmond said he was seeking a "mandate" (a word he has used a few times already tonight) to keep the pound sterling in a currency union. He says he would not go into a negotiation with something that was "second best".

    Salmond and Darling debate

    Mr Darling says a currency union would be bad for Scotland because the country's budget would have to be approved by what would be a foreign country. The Better Together leader is back to asking Mr Salmond what his plan B is on the currency.

  76. Analysis - oil revenues

    Emily Craig

    Political analyst, BBC News

    Alistair Darling says UK revenues from North Sea oil and gas are "volatile" and were £5bn less than expected last year.

    Scottish government statistics show there was indeed a drop in UK revenue of around £4.4bn - from £10bn to £5.6bn. As Mr Darling says, £4.4bn is around half of the annual Scottish health budget.

  77. Pens poised...

    Louise Sayers

    BBC Scotland

    From the get-go voters James Bream, George Paterson and Maureen Paterson have been taking notes...

    Undecided voters in Aberdeen
  78. Question two - the currency

    Second question.

    "What currency will use if we don't use sterling?"

    The audience member, Kathy, wants a "definitive" answer

  79. Analysis

    Brian Taylor

    Political editor, Scotland

    The debate gets under way - and it starts where the last one left off. With the currency.

    Asked about the economy, Alistair Darling immediately links that to the question of sterling by arguing that Alex Salmond cannot offer certainty. That, he said, poses a problem in the economy as it affects individuals - on issues like the household economy and mortgages.

    In similar style, Alex Salmond walked to the front of the stage to confront the currency directly. He said he was seeking a mandate from the people to ensure that sterling would be retained as part of a currency zone.

    The argument here is that the people of Scotland would be voting for the totality of the White Paper, including the pound's retention.

    Next onto oil - and an argument about the North Sea reserves. AD says once it is gone, it is gone. Cannot be dependent on volatile asset.

    AS, a former economist, says it is ludicrous to depict oil as a burden. And that Scotland's economy is successful, even without oil.

  80. Oil revenues - the estimates

    Oil figures
  81. Salmond

    Mr Salmond says that Mr Darling has previously not been so keen on the Office for Budget Responsibility.

    He says North Sea is an asset and he says Mr Darling thinks it is a curse.

    Alex Salmond

    Mr Darling says North Sea oil has been a boon but he does not want to see his country so dependent on something so volatile.

  82. Oil

    On to Oil. How much black gold is there left to extracted?

    Glenn Campbell asks if the figures from the UK Treasury's OBR on the amount of oil left in the North Sea are too low.


    Alistair Darling says historically the projected revenues from the North Sea have been over-estimated.

    Mr Darling is pressed on whether he thinks the current figures are too pessimistic, but he repeats that they have historically been too optimistic. He says North Sea oil revenues are volatile.

  83. The view from Aberdeen

    Louise Sayers

    BBC Scotland

    Everyone has settled down to watch the debate...

    Voters in Aberdeen
  84. Currency

    Alistair Darling turns straight to attacking on the currency. Mr Darling says Scotland is stronger being part of the United Kingdom.

    Alex Salmond says: "Yes, Scotland will be safe and secure as an independent country."


    Mr Salmond says he want to share the currency in a union with rest of the UK. He says it makes sense for both Scotland and the rest of the UK.

  85. All smiles

    Before the debate got under way, there was the formality of a handshake.

  86. First question

    The first section is on the economy.

    The question from the audience is: "Would we be financially safe in an independent Scotland?"

  87. Analysis

    Andrew Black

    Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    Alex Salmond uses his opening statement to present independence as the completion of a home rule journey.

    He says the vote against devolution in 1979 resulted in years of Tory rule, while the establishment of the Scottish Parliament delivered polices like free care for the elderly, but independence, the first minister argues, is needed for Scotland to realise its full potential.

  88. Darling

    In his opening staement, Alistair Darling says Mr Salmond is asking us to "take his word for it on everything".

    He says Mr Salmond wants a separate state no matter what the risk or what the costs. No Thanks will not mean No change, says Mr Darling, we have delivered before and we will deliver again.

    Mr Darling asks his opposite number for answers on currency, on oil.

    "It is answers now we need, otherwise for our children and generations to come we have to say 'No thanks'", says Mr Darling.

  89. Salmond

    Alex Salmond has two minutes to make an opening statement. He says the eyes of the world are focused on Scotland. He cites the 1979 referendum when Scotland did not get devolution and got 18 years of Tory rule instead.

    In 1997, Scotland took its chance and got devolution. But while Scotland can run some of its own affairs there are still more powers it needs, he says.

    "No-one will run this country better than the people who live and work in Scotland," Mr Salmond says.

    "This is our time. It is our moment. Let us do it now."

  90. Post update

    Peter Geoghegan: Breaking news: both sides claim victory in #bbcindyref debate.

  91. Post update

    Ed Thomas

    North of England Correspondent, BBC News

    Steve Clarkson is a writer and journalist who lives in York but has spent five years living in Scotland. He has written a blog on Scottish independence.

    Steve Clarkson in York

    He told the BBC: "Scottish independence would give Yorkshire a stronger regional voice in Westminster.

    "From an English perspective, we think the United Kingdom is fine only because we are the dominant country but the Scottish perspective is very different, they have their own sharper identity.

    "Five million live in the Yorkshire region and having a Britain made up of different confederations is an interesting prospect for democracy."

  92. Questions, questions, questions

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

    In a special series, we are looking at those major questions and by using statistics, analysis and expert views shining a light on some of the possible answers.

    Questions posed and looked at so far include....

  93. Get involved


    Martin McDonald: Good chance to comprehensibly deal with Darling and shatter anti-Scottish No campaign. Good luck Alex! #bbcindyref

    John: Even if Salmond puts in a perfect performance tonight with good answers and honesty, he cant undo the damage. #bbcindyref

    The Scotsman's Kenny Farquharson: Wonder if the big-hall venue will make for a different tone of debate - old-style hustings rather than TV studio-style discussion? #indyref

  94. Roll titles...

    The TV programme is starting right now.

    Tonight's 90-minute debate will be staged at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow in front of an audience of 200 people selected by polling and research consultancy ComRes.

    The debate is being presented by Glenn Campbell and will begin with opening statements from both Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling.

  95. Get involved


    Robbie Nicoll, 16-year-old vice chair of Aberdeenshire Youth Council, emailed: I've been helping to organise two debates with an equal amount of speakers on both sides specifically for young people, but both of these debates have been barred by the council.

    Pupils in parts of Aberdeenshire have been told today that campaign materials have been banned and teachers will not be permitted to discuss the referendum with pupils. When I asked why in the first instance the head teacher, who said he was only the messenger, said it was because we were in purdah and in the second case I was told because officials 'up on high' had banned it.

    I don't understand why these have been banned when we were told by council officials both times that it would be ok and when the council has claimed they were happy for participation to happen and campaigns to be allowed?

  96. Still undecided?

    Polling expert Prof Curtice said there were probably only 10% to 15% of people who were undecided at this stage.

    "There is another body of people, probably twice as big as that, who say to the pollsters they have an idea of what they are going to do, but maybe they will change their mind," he said.

  97. Curtice on strategy

    Prof Curtice told the BBC: "Mr Salmond needs to win this debate in such a way that it is does not simply suggest to voters that he got the better of Mr Darling but actually persuades them that voting 'Yes' is what they should do on the 18 September.

    "The truth is that Mr Darling's job is to hang on to what he has got. He needs to avoid losing on any of the significant arguments."

    John Curtice
  98. Get involved


    Sailesh Patel: I'm looking forward to the #bbcindyref - love political debates and Salmond and Darling should a lively debate.

    Iain MacLaren: But seriously #BBCindyref the debate is not between these two guys its about two possible futures. not parties.

    The Sunday Herald's Paul Hutcheon: I understand the FM won't be mentioning aliens tonight #bbcindyref

  99. Curtice on the polls

    Polling expert Prof John Curtice of Strathclyde University told the BBC news channel the "Yes" campaign made some progress in the polls over the winter.

    He said: "On average the Yes side, once you take out the don't knows, increased from around the 39% mark to around the 43% mark."

    "But since then, frankly, very little has changed. If you take the average of the last half dozen polls that have been conducted, it is still 43% for 'Yes' and 57% for 'No'.

    "Given what happened three weeks ago with the first leaders' debate, that to some degree comes as something of a relief to the 'Yes' side because it was felt that Mr Salmond lost that debate and the first opinion poll after that debate suggested 'Yes' had gone down.

    "Of course, don't believe one opinion poll. Three subsequent opinion polls suggested, if anything, maybe 'Yes' support had gone up a little bit."

  100. Strong views

    Jackson Carlaw MSP: Will Salmond have learned to answer questions directly following the 1st #ScotDecides debate? A nearly thirty year political career says no.

    Head of Sport for Yes Michael Stewart: Don't allow NO to con us into allowing them to squander the next 40 years of OIL. The industry is booming #indyref

  101. What the voters want

    Louise Sayers

    BBC Scotland

    What do our voters in Aberdeen hope to get out of tonight's debate?

    Undecided voters in Aberdeen

    David Braunholtz, left, is undecided. He said: "I would like to hear more information about what maximum devolution might come about in the event of a No vote."

    Stuart Bowler, centre, is voting "No". He said: "I hope Alistair Darling doesn't get bogged down in data. I want to know what the real benefits would be of staying in the union."

    Gillian Martin, right, is voting "Yes". She said: "I want to hear a debate that isn't just about currency and the EU. The message is more important to me than performance. Boxing match-style debates are quite annoying."

  102. Get involved

    You can give us your thoughts now, or once the debate has started, on Twitter using #BBCindyref, by texting 61124 or by emailing

  103. Salmond arrives

    First Minister Alex Salmond has also arrived at the venue.

    Salmond arrives
  104. More regional powers?

    Ed Thomas

    North of England Correspondent, BBC News

    Diana Wallis is a former MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber who supports more powers for the English regions.

    Ahead of tonight's debate, she told the BBC: "If Scotland can have something and they have the same population as us, Wales has something, what about Yorkshire, why can't we have something? I think we are underpowered."

  105. Where to watch

    TELEVISION: It all starts at 20:30 and runs until 22:00. Viewers in Scotland can watch the broadcast on BBC One Scotland, while viewers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland can watch on BBC Two.

    The debate will also be shown on the BBC News Channel and BBC World News. If you miss it live, you can tune-in to BBC One between midnight and 01:30 to watch again. And of course the programme will be available on the BBC iPlayer.

  106. Darling arrives

    The chairman of the Better Together campaign, Alistair Darling, has arrived at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

    Darling arrives
  107. Latest poll

    This latest poll of voters puts the "No" side ahead.


    Professor John Curtice has called tonight's debate an "invaluable second chance for Alex Salmond".

  108. Massie's view

    Journalist Alex Massie said the problem Alex Salmond has is that "the case for independence is on trial and he has to satisfy beyond reasonable doubt that the case is robust enough to make it a worthwhile venture.

    "Alistair Darling has a much easier task. He just needs to hug Alex Salmond close. If you think of it in terms of a football match, a dull scoreless draw will suit Alistair Darling fine this evening.

    "Kill the clock, kill time, prevent anything happening, park the bus to avoid giving Alex Salmond the opportunity to have a good evening and the momentum he would get as a result of that.

    "Alex Salmond needs a clear-cut victory if this debate is to change anything."

  109. Lines of attack?

    As the minutes tick down to the debate, the BBC's Gavin Esler was talking to journalist Ruth Wishart, who is in favour of independence and Alex Massie, who wants to keep the union.

    Ruth Wishart said she expected Alistair Darling to pounce on the currency issue once again.

    She said a favourable line of attack for Mr Salmond would be to continue his assertion that the NHS in Scotland is under threat, linking this from the fact that the NHS in England has taken a significantly different route.

    The NHS is quite a good issue for female voters, Ruth Wishart said. And the Yes campaign has found women harder to attract.

  110. The spin room

    BBC political reporter Andrew Black: Spin room filling up ahead of Salmond v Darling showdown. Main man Prof John Curtice here to keep us right #indyref

    Andrew Black's tweet
  111. Car crash?

    Louise Sayers

    BBC Scotland

    Robyn Shepherd - who will be voting "No" - hopes tonight's debate will be an improvement on the first one, which she describes as "car crash television".

    NO and YES voters

    Howard Kennedy will vote "Yes", and he believes the biggest surprise at the last debate was Alex Salmond's tone.

    He said: "He's normally quite robust but for this he took a step back."

  112. Mechanics of the debate

    How will tonight's debate work? The broadcast will be split up into four sections.

    SECTION ONE: Opening statements - Alex Salmond will go first, Alistair Darling second.

    SECTION TWO: The issues- the two men will debate four topics titled;


    2.Scotland at home

    3.Scotland in the world

    4.What happens after the vote?

    Each will be introduced with a question from the audience.

    SECTION THREE: Cross-examination - Alistair Darling will go first, Alex Salmond second.

    SECTION FOUR: Closing statements - Alex Salmond will go first, Alistair Darling second.

  113. People's panel

    Louise Sayers

    BBC Scotland

    Before last month's STV debate the BBC gathered a group of undecided voters together in Fife to watch the debate.

    For tonight's debate we're in Aberdeen to get reaction from nine voters - three voting "Yes", three "No" and three who are still undecided.

    We'll be bringing your their thoughts on the debate throughout the night.

  114. Post update

    With the first of the postal votes about to be sent out and only a little over three weeks until the independence referendum, this looks like it will be the last head-to-head debate between the two figureheads.

    It will be screened on BBC One in Scotland.

    Across the rest of the UK it will be on BBC Two, from 20:30 BST.

  115. Date with destiny

    There's not long to go until Scotland votes in the referendum...

    Referendum date
  116. Welcome

    Steven Brocklehurst

    BBC Scotland news website

    Welcome to the BBC's live text coverage of the Scottish independence debate between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling.

    Scotland's First Minister and the leader of the Better Together campaign will be going head-to-head in an hour's time.