Scotland politics

Scottish independence: Edinburgh referendum debate round-up

Twitter icons Image copyright PA

Ahead of the 18 September independence referendum, BBC Scotland hosted a debate in Edinburgh giving voters the chance to quiz politicians and commentators at the heart of the historic vote.

But the event wasn't just for the audience facing the panel - through social media, using the #bbcindyref hashtag, plus email and text - you told us what you thought.

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

The panellists

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

Johann Lamont: MSP for Glasgow Pollok and leader of the Scottish Labour Party.

Charles Kennedy: MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber and former leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Joyce McMillan: Columnist for The Scotsman.

The questions

1. Are the SNP trying to mislead the public over the NHS?

2. A recent study has shown almost 1 million Scots are classed as poor. How will a No or a Yes vote address this problem?

3. In last night's debate in Glasgow, do the panel think Mr Salmond was able to allay the concerns to the electorate regarding the currency issue?

4. The amount of oil to be obtained in the future has been reported with conflicting views. So who is telling the truth?

The tweetgraph

BBC data journalist, Marc Ellison, developed an online tool to follow what was being said on social media using the #bbcindyref hashtag.

He explains: "There were three distinct surges in online discussion during the hour-long debate, with online chatter peaking at the 21:42 mark as an audience member raised the ever-contentious issue of the currency."

"The second largest spike in Twitter activity came in the wake of Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont accusing Finance Secretary John Swinney of "promising everybody the earth" in an independent Scotland.

"Surprisingly the third largest spike (30 tweets) came in the closing minutes of the debate when historically the Twitter users have become less engaged. This peak was prompted by the final question from the audience: The amount of oil to be obtained in the future has been reported with conflicting views - so who is telling the truth?"

What you said

Image copyright PA

Maria Cure: "Oh reflection, it maybe wasn't great how many people laughed at the mention of Prof Ronald MacDonald's name. #bbcindyref"

Paul Cairney: "Hipster in the audience calls it the Barnette formula #bbcindyref"

Paul Hutcheon: Brutal question by @BBCJamesCook to @JohannLamont on Labour's poverty record #bbcindyref

Jackie: Better quality debate tonight than last night #bbcindyref Can actually hear what the speakers are saying.

The arguments

Finance Secretary John Swinney confirmed Scotland will not pay its share of the UK debt if it does not get a currency union after independence.

He said: "If the UK is going to seize the assets then it is welcome to all the liabilities and we won't be having any of them if that is how the UK behaves."

But Charles Kennedy replied: "If you did not (take some debt), on day one of an independent Scotland, never mind London and the terrible people down there, the international markets would have you for breakfast lunch and dinner."

Read the full story here.

The iPlayer

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

Join in

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

If you would like to be in the studio audience for the remaining debates, email your details to or fill in this form to apply.

1. Name and address

2. Which programme location are you applying for?

3. Which two issues would you most like to discuss?

4. How old are you?

5. What is your gender?

6. What is your occupation? If you are retired, what was your occupation before retiring?

7. Which ethnic group do you belong to?

Other (please specify)

8. Do you consider yourself to have any disabilities?

9. If disabled, do you require wheelchair access?

10. If there were a General Election tomorrow, which political party would you be most likely to vote for?

Other (please state)

11. If there was a Scottish Election tomorrow which political party would you be most likely to vote for?

Other (please state)

12. If there was an independence referendum tomorrow how would you vote?

13. How did you vote at the last General Election?

14. How did you vote at the last Scottish Election?

15. Are you a member of a political party?

16. If you are a member do you take an active role?

17. Are you active in any campaign groups?

18. Are you active in any referendum campaign groups?

Other (please specify)

19. We contact applicants individually - if any of your friends or family are applying with you please supply their names and telephone numbers so that we may contact them to discuss their applications.

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