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Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Campaigns give verdict on TV debate


Scottish independence: Campaigners give their verdict on Salmond v DarlingThe debate was held before an audience of 200 people at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
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Supporters of the Yes and No campaigns have given their verdict on Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling’s final TV debate ahead of the referendum.

Yes Scotland chief executive Blair Jenkins said Mr Salmond had “the better arguments” and accused Mr Darling of “floundering”.
Labour MP Douglas Alexander said Mr Darling had “asked the questions we need answers to”.
Viewing figures showed that 4.5 million people watched the debate on the BBC.
Mr Salmond and Mr Darling took part in a debate before an audience of 200 in Glasgow.
A snap poll by The Guardian newspaper and polling company ICM suggested 71% of those polled thought Mr Salmond had come out on top in the debate, against 29% for Mr Darling.
A similar poll of 500 Scottish voters, following their first clash on 5 August on STV, suggested the Better Together leader won that debate with the first minister by 56% to 44%.
Continue reading the main storyANALYSIS – BBC political editor Nick Robinson
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.
Continue reading the main story
Asked on BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme if each man had scored one victory each, Mr Jenkins said: “If it was a European tie over two legs there’s no doubt who would be going through to the next round.”
Asked whether the perceived victory would be reflected in polls voting intentions for the 18 September referendum, he responded: “You won’t necessarily get people instantly after last night but they will reflect on what they saw and what they heard.”
Mr Alexander denied Mr Darling got a “thumping” and argued the Better Together leader had “asked the questions we need answers to”.
He added: “Postal ballots drop in 48 hours’ time. We’re still in a position where we don’t have clarity from the first minister in relation to the currency, in relation to pensions, in relation to oil and actually I think the Yes campaign are where they didn’t expect to be.
“They’re haunted by a series of very basic questions as the postal votes drop.”
He accused the first minister of making the “quite extraordinary claim that if Scotland can’t force England, Wales and Northern Ireland into a currency union that opinion poll after opinion poll shows they don’t want, then Scotland will default on our debts”.
Currency union
Mr Jenkins claimed: “I think what people saw and heard last night was Alistair Darling squirming when he was confronted with the reality of what Tory government means to Scotland and found himself in a very uncomfortable position of being in bed with the Tories, and found that very hard to defend.
“He then found himself floundering yet again in terms of describing which new powers, if any, would come to Scotland in the unlikely event now of a ‘No’ vote.”
Mr Alexander again pressed the Yes campaign to set out a Plan B alternative to a currency union, but Mr Jenkins insisted the UK government would negotiate on currency.
“We’re no wiser at the end of last night’s debate than we were at the beginning,” Mr Alexander argued.
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”
Overnight viewing figures suggested that 843,000 people watched the debate on BBC One Scotland – a 37% share of the people watching television in Scotland at the time.
The average audience on BBC Two in the rest of the UK – 1.5m – represented a 6.8% share.
An average audience of 104,000 watched a Sky News simulcast of the debate, 52,000 watched on the BBC News channel and 60,000 watched a later repeat on STV.
Analysis by the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen found 64,000 tweets were sent during the 90 minute debate, compared to 50,000 tweets during the two hour STV debate.
Scotland will go to the polls in the referendum on 18 September, with voters being asked asked the “Yes/No” question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
Do you have questions?
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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