Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling clash in TV debate

Salmond and Darling clash in live Scottish independence TV debate
Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling take part in a live television debate in Glasgow (Picture: Getty Images)

Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling clashed over Scottish independence in a live TV debate which saw the issues of currency, Europe and even attacks from Outer Space dominating.

Scotland’s first minister and former chancellor Mr Darling, who heads the Better Together campaign, both went on the attack in a heated clash hosted by STV’s political editor Bernard Ponsonby in front of a TV audience made up of both Yes and No supporters.

Both leaders were given the chance to read statements to kick off the debate, with Mr Salmond telling the audience: ‘The question is not whether Scotland could be independent but whether it should be independent.’

Mr Darling countered by stressing that Scots should not feel that patriotism is compromised by voting to remain part of the United Kingdom.

However, it was when the two men were given the chance to question each other that the debate became heated.

Mr Darling repeatedly asked Mr Salmond what his ‘plan B’ was for an independent Scotland’s currency, given all three of the main UK parties have said there will be no currency union.

Mr Salmond said his preference was to maintain the pound, saying: ‘It’s Scotland’s pound.’

He added that was a ‘logical and desirable’ viewpoint, saying those were words Mr Darling had used when discussing the issue in a previous TV interview, something his opponent disputed.

Mr Darling pressed his point, saying: ‘Any eight-year-old can tell you what the flag of a country, the capital of a country and the currency of a country is.

‘I assume the flag will be the Saltire, the capital will stay as Edinburgh, but you cannot tell us what currency we will have.’

When Mr Salmond was given the chance to quiz Mr Darling, he accused his opponent of presiding over a campaign dubbed ‘Project Fear’, citing examples of Unionists talking about what side of the road drivers would have to use in the event of independence and even how susceptibe Scotland would be to attacks from Outer Space.

He repeatedly asked Mr Darling if he agreed with David Cameron that Scotland could be a ‘successful independent country’, with Mr Darling answering: ‘I’ve always said all countries can go it alone if they take the risks that go with that.’

Mr Salmond repeated his question on a number of occasions, saying he felt like Jeremy Paxman interviewing former Tory Home Secretary Michael Howard in a famous Newsnight interview.

Mr Darling replied: ‘Well, you’re more like Michael Howard than Jeremy Paxman.’

The debate, held at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, moved into its final segment, with members of the audience given the chance to quiz both men.

A snap ICM poll for The Guardian gave the debate to Mr Darling by 56 per cent to 44 per cent.

There are now just over six weeks to go until voters in Scotland decided whether to remain in the UK or become an independent nation in the September 18 referendum.

Polls have so far failed to show a majority in favour of independence, but both campaigns are hoping to receive a boost in support as a result of the first major TV debate.




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5 August 2014 | 10:35 pm – Source:

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