September 18th 2014 | Scotland

Better Together Response: What advice would you give your representative in the next TV debate?

no inside

The STV debate between Alistair Darling and Alex Salmond last week was a huge event, watched by 1.2 million people in Scotland. In the weeks leading up to it, senior nationalists were suggesting the debate was going to be Alex Salmond’s “Bannockburn”, but it ended up being his Waterloo instead.

I firmly believe that this referendum will be won on doorsteps, and in the conversations families, friends and colleagues have round the kitchen table or down the pub, for many scots it will have been the first time they have seen the arguments for and against breaking up the United Kingdom presented in any great detail.

The polls show it was a debate won convincingly by Alistair Darling, who put forward a positive vision for Scotland’s future. Scotland can have the best of both worlds – a strong Scottish Parliament with more powers over taxation and welfare on the way, backed up by the strength, security and stability of the United Kingdom.

Crucially though, Alistair Darling also asked the basic questions that Scotland needs answers to. Alex Salmond’s failure to deliver straightforward answers was there for all to see. Even the audience was turning against him as time went on.

 In the days following the debate the First Minister still will not tell us his Plan B on currency, I think this is disrespectful to voters in Scotland. The First Minister needs to realise that the people deserve answers on what currency their wages, pensions and benefits will be paid in.

As Alistair said – an eight year old can name the flag, capital and currency of a country, and yet Alex Salmond wants people in Scotland to risk their savings, mortgages, pensions and earnings without knowing the basics. He cannot continue to dodge the question for the next 37 days.

Alistair gave a strong performance but what matters more is that we believe his case will prove more persuasive with the remaining undecided voters. He used his time to ask the big questions about our economy.

By contrast, Alex Salmond, who has spent his entire political career working up to this moment, chose to talk about pandas, aliens, and driving on the right hand side of the road.

It should have been obvious to the First Minister that this is a serious issue, the biggest decision we’ll ever have to make in Scotland. If that’s the best he has then the people of Scotland will continue to say No Thanks to his plans for separation.

Ahead of the next debate Alistair will continue to make that positive case for the UK, for a Scottish Parliament with more powers guaranteed whilst having the security of being part of something bigger.

Salmond now only seems to be making the case for independence based on scaremongering on issues like education and the NHS which are already devolved to the Scottish Parliament. The SNP will become increasingly desperate and increasingly negative as they run out of answers, and run out of time. 

Reproduced from an email sent by Better Together, promoted by Blair McDougall on behalf of Better Together.