Coffee House

Why won’t the Salmond / Darling debate be shown in England?

30 July 2014

The future of Britain is at stake, but you wouldn’t know it from how ITV is behaving. On Tuesday, STV will broadcast a live debate between Alex Salmond and the leader of the No campaign, Alistair Darling. This promises to be one of the pivotal moments in the referendum campaign.  But, depressingly, the only way anyone outside of Scotland will be able to watch it is on the internet via STV Player.

The failure to put it on ITV across the whole of the UK reflects the failure to understand that, while only the residents of Scotland may have vote in the independence referendum, the result will affect all of us. If Scotland votes for independence, the rest of the UK will be much diminished. It won’t be Great Britain anymore but little Britain.

The BBC is still negotiating for a Salmond / Darling debate. If agreement is reached, it is absolutely imperative that the BBC broadcasts it on terrestrial television to the whole of the UK. A failure to do so would be a gross breach of the BBC’s public service obligations.

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Show comments
  • Harry Peter Rose

    debate is not showing overseas …… cannot even get this right!

  • DaHitman

    “The future of Britain is at stake, but you wouldn’t know it from how ITV is behaving”

    ITV doesn’t have a presence in Scotland so you can’t blame them you idiot

    • Alan40

      I thought STV belonged to the ITV network.

      • Ken Bell

        Yeah, he’s just a mouth, playing pedantic games. The ITV network and ITV the company are not the same.

        The old ITV network of independent companies no longer exists as most were amalgamated into one outfit that calls itself, confusingly, ITV. However, in Scotland and Northern Ireland the independent TV channels kept their independence and so in Scotland people watch STV.

        That said, STV still belongs to what is left of the network, and takes and gives programmes to it, even though most of it is one company called ITV.

        Put simply, the network ITV could run the debate, but it seems to feel that it is only of interest to people who live north of the River Tweed.

        The good news is that it is available worldwide on the STV Player so anyone, anywhere can watch the stream.

        • Alan40

          I’ve tried, and you have to live in Scotland to watch it live.

      • DaHitman

        Nope, STV has to pay ITV for its programming

  • DaHitman

    They don’t want the English to hear about the subsidises Scotland gets from England, that’s why it’s not going to be on

  • The_greyhound

    If people in Scotland had the choice, it wouldn’t be screened here either.

    No one cares what the lying SNP has to say, and we are all heartily sick of the nonsensical subject. Fortunately the idiot salmond resigns on 19th September, and there will be an end of it.

    Only two months to go ……

    • zabazoom

      until the YES vote takes it.

      • Alan40

        “It” being, presumably, 40% of the vote.

  • Steven Anderson

    ‘a gross breach of the BBC’s public service obligations’
    The BBC has has been in gross breach of these every single day of the campaign and we have seen no complaint from the Unionist beneficiaries.

  • Malcolm Stevas

    As I understand it, Scotland contributes 7.3% of the Income Tax revenue of the UK, has 8.3% of the UK population, and receives 9.3% of total UK spending. So what is this “Little Britain” nonsense?

    • sarissa

      …they also contribute 9.9% of UK government revenue including its geographical share of N Sea assets

      • Malcolm Stevas

        You mean production and company taxes on oil and gas output? These tax revenues are now in decline.

  • English Majority

    I don’t understand why the Speccie is flogging this very dead, very rotten horse.

    It is very much in our interests that we rid ourselves of Scotland. They cost us 100’s of billions, they DEEPLY despise us, and, most importantly, if Scotland leaves, ENGLAND will finally get its own Parliament or other representative body.

    You need to sort your priorities, Specworth.

    • ChuckieStane

      Sorry to burst your bubble but we don’t despise you, in fact we really quite like you.
      And just like you, we would like to have our own parliament.

      • English Majority

        Stop being nice.

      • Alan40

        Which you have! In fact you have two, one at Westminster and one at Holyrood.

  • Pramston123

    The English have become observers to their own destiny. A desire to placate and favour all minorities has done for them as a Country. Perhaps Scotland going would be no bad thing if it woke the English up.

  • monty61

    What and interrupt Cornonation Street or some other soporific rubbish watched by the great unwashed? No money in that you know.

  • James Morrison

    Why? Presumably because ITV think the ratings would be minimal. Because England doesn’t care.

    • English Majority

      Yep. The ratings would be terrible.

      The English are having their nation permanently, relentlessly destroyed by Third World immigrants and sick Leftists; thus they (we) really don’t give a single sh*t about Scotland.

  • swatnan

    Look, if there is problem, then show it with subtitles, just like the excellent Montalbano and Wallender.

  • Shorne

    Perhaps nobody wants to buy advertising time for this programme? Because that’s what always governs commercial television.

  • Terry Field

    Its on Freesat 972 – retuning by pressing a button too hard for you? – what a bunch of half-dead can’t do scottieplonkers.

  • sunnydayrider

    A simple commercial decision. Who would but advertising time on a programme no one would watch? Irn Bru maybe.

  • Pickles

    This is extremely irritating, for I am resident in Scotland (though English born), and am to be one of the many voting for the first time and quite simply because I am to be in England on holiday with my family (who will be directly affected) I cannot watch it live. Also, even though those living in England do not have a right to have a say in the Scottish independence debate (in electoral terms, and frankly shouldn’t have the vote) they do have a right to have an informed view. I also feel obliged to say that the UK is greater than the sum of its parts, and should stay together.

    • Terry Field

      YOu need to be told what to think no doubt.
      A hole between your ears!
      Telebox will tell you what to do!
      Use your pin brain and vote YES then Bugger OFF

  • Guest

    This is extremely irritating, for I am resident in Scotland (though English born), and am to be one of the many voting for the first time and quite simply because I am to be in England on holiday with my family (who will be directly affected) I cannot watch it live. Also, even those living in England do not have a right to have a say in the Scottish independence debate (in electoral terms, and frankly shouldn’t) they do have a right to have an informed view. I also feel obliged to say that the UK is greater than the sum of its parts.

  • Phil T Tipp

    “If Scotland votes for independence, the rest of the UK will be much diminished. It won’t be Great Britain anymore but little Britain.”

    Firstly, I’m sorry to have to point out the bleeding obvious to you Forsyth – Britain has not been Great in a very, very long time.

    Secondly, in the happy event of a YES vote, the rest of the UK may well be much diminished, but our Scotland will be made, much, much more – as she rightly deserves.

  • Diggery Whiggery

    “Why won’t the Salmond / Darling debate be shown in England?

    Because it would mean taking of “Love Your Garden” with Alan Titchmarsh and seeing a good chunk of its 3.6m viewers switch to BBC1 to watch “Holby City”.

    Sorry Scotland, most English people would prefer to watch Alan Titchmarsh. Make of that what you will.

    • Ellie Mack

      Sorry Diggery Whiggery most Scots couldn’t care less what anyone else does. The debate isn’t about you, why would anyone care whether you watch or not? Odd concept.

      • Diggery Whiggery

        I didn’t say anyone in Scotland should care. I said “make of that what you will”. That you felt the need to respond in that way however, shows that you do, otherwise you wouldn’t have bothered.

    • El_Sid

      We’re now in a multichannel world so it doesn’t have to be on ITV1 – it could replace the repeat of The Cube: Celebrity Special on ITV2 or the repeat of Midsomer Murders on ITV3.

  • hyufd

    I doubt the average Brit in rUK will be happy missing Corrie and Emmerdale for a debate on a referendum in which they have no vote, political nerds can watch it online or on the BBC News Channel

  • Smithersjones2013

    Oh dear don’t the Westminster Freakshow squeal when they feel left out?

    Outside the sad little Westminster bubble hardly anybody cares (evidence 85% of those who identified themselves as English or Welsh in the 2011 census do not identify themselves as British) . Why should we?Blair corrupted the Union beyond repair and Cameron and co have done nothing to put things right.

  • davidshort10

    The idea that the country will be diminished with the exit of Scotland from the union is just laughable. It is a wholly overblown notion that reflects the fact that the senior people at the Spectator are Scottish. No one in the rest of the country will notice or care.

    • Terry Field

      Wiout Scita uts a pipsqueek squiddly wee thing – in fine, a wee Belgium across the water!

      • Malcolm Stevas

        I understood the word “Belgium” but nothing else.

        • Terry Field

          For those of us who are fluent in the ‘gllic’ it translates as follows:
          ‘Without Scotland it is a pipsqueak little thing – truly a small “Belgium across the water”

          Dy ya gang it noo, yon skonkie???

  • Terry Field

    AKh Greet wiggit!
    We will nay do wi’oot Rab C Neisbit!!!!!!!
    Gang oft ye flussocks!
    Pull yon Sporry untli ye sqirm!
    Sassenach Runtsters

  • GUBU

    God forbid…only if both men are dressed in the Tunnock’s teacake outfits worn in the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.

  • ButcombeMan
  • global city

    I imagine that most in Scotland wish it wasn’t being shown there.

    The whole issue is a bore.

    • Terry Field

      Recant or I’ll scrunt yer Buntlie!!

      • Jambo25

        Oh pee-off you idiot. As funny as toothache.

        • Wessex Man

          a lot funnier that you ever be.

          • Jambo25

            But you were ever tasteless.

        • Terry Field

          AH a celtic fruitloon!!!!
          I have holed you below the caber-line!
          You gnash your teeth and smash you enormous celtic fist into the bairn’s shortbread!!!!!
          Got you!
          I win!!!!!
          ANGLOS rule OK

          • Phil T Tipp

            Anglos rule OK? Eh mebbes in little England, certainly nowhere else in the universe.

            • Terry Field

              You have probably never heard of the USA, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada.
              You should get out more.

              • Phil T Tipp

                Utter tripe, I live in NZ Anglo boy – you shabby lot certainly do not rule an inch of this place. Nor, might I add in the Soon-to-be-republic of Australasia. The Saffies would laugh you out of the door, the USA has been independent of angloland since 1776 and Canada’s very much Canadienne in case you hadn’t noticed. Get over yourself.

                • Terry Field

                  I thought an idiot may reply and you did not disappoint.
                  I refer to the peoples of England, not the political entity of England,

                • Phil T Tipp

                  That makes yours an idiot’s retort to the power of two, n’est-ce pas? I’m Scots by birth and education, and I seem to remember just before I left to come to the pleasant hemisphere, that “england’s peoples” to whom you refer, were largely millions of muzzies in Bradford and Birmingham and caribs and all the rest in London. They don’t rule much of anything at all as far as I can tell. Innit.

  • Blindsideflanker

    I don’t remember them showing the US presidential election debates, that too is an election we can’t participate in, but unlike the Scottish referendum, the US presidential election has much more effect on us.

    • global city

      They did, funnily enough.

      I always find it amusing that for all the creepy europhilia at the BBC they are obsessed with US politics. half of the parliament channel must be dedicated to Capitol Hill.

      I agree with you about the Scottish referendum….please keep it off our screens, as being a political idiot I will be compelled to watch it if they air it.

  • Colonel Mustard

    “It won’t be Great Britain anymore but little Britain.”

    Actually it will be England and Wales. But I guess desperate measures are needed when the existence of the former must be denied and the latter is already partly devolved.

    • HookesLaw

      England Wales and Northern Ireland.

      But since we do not have a vote it seems to me to be pointless to be involved. Especially since nothoing new will be divulged.
      We will get the edited highlights anyway.

      • itdoesntaddup


      • Colonel Mustard

        Well I wouldn’t have said that Northern Ireland was part of Great Britain…

        • Wessex Man

          I know but at the moment we are stuck with it.

    • Wessex Man

      Can’t see anything wrong with that, well it would be better if it was just England, that would be perfect!

  • davidofkent

    If Scotland votes YES, we will not be ‘Little Britain’. We will still be the Greater Part of Britain, both geographically and definitely economically.

    • lewis4671

      If Scotland leaves the UK, the UK will lose 32% of its land mass, 10% of its GDP and 8.3% of its population. This will have the effect of reducing the average GDP per head for the remainder of the UK to below the current level for the existing UK.

      • Greenslime


      • DaHitman

        England wont loose anything, Scotland costs us £11 billion and over half of Scotlands economy is Public Sector!

  • Colin56

    ‘The BBC is still negotiating …’ – Why? Why haven’t they got this sorted out weeks, months ago? Hasn’t word filtered through to Salford yet? After all, it is half way to Scotland 9depending on where you’re starting from, obv). No wonder no-one wants to be Chair of the BBC Trust.

    • lewis4671

      The problem is agreeing to who will debate.
      Salmond (leader of the Scottish government) wants to debate with Cameron (leader of the UK government campaign for a No vote) but Cameron refuses.
      Darling (leader of the No campaign) wants to debate with Salmond rather than with the leader of the Yes campaign, Dennis Canavan.

      • Wessex Man

        perhaps they can’t meet the Fat Controller’s appearance fee.

    • notplayin

      The problem is Salmond wants it in September closer to the referendum, he’s hoping for a last minute surge to get him over the line. BT have said it has to be in August because the postal votes are in by the end of August. A quarter of the votes are postal.

  • Alexsandr

    well we are told its nothing to do with us, its a scottish decision. now you are saying we should be interested.
    Well does it affect England, Wales and NI -so where is our vote, or does it not -so we dont need it on TV.

    • global city

      So you’ll be one of those then who thinks that people in Europe should have a say on whether we leave the EU?

      It is not a referendum on breaking up the UK, simply about whether Scotland stays within the union or leaves.

      It is ENTIRELY their choice….and none of our business what so ever.

      • Jules Wright

        Come on global city. Logic man. A ‘yes’ vote entails the breaking up of the UK as we know it. The Scots may decide to leave but they need English, Welsh and Northern Irish assent else it has no real mandate.

        By reason, it is entirely OUR collective choice. That in practice it’s a political sham driven by Salmond’s enormous ego, with Connery’s hypocritical blessing, merely highlights the lack of intellectual rigour in Whitehall and its failure to apply clear terms.

        Personally, I would happily give my assent to Scottish independence. It would be a small price to pay for the death of the Labour Party.

        • global city

          No it doesn’t. It means Scotland leaves the UK, just as our vote on the EU will determine whether we leave it or not. A vote to leave will not destroy the EU as we know it, so there is no legitimacy in any demand that anyone other than UK people should vote on the issue.

          I’m surprised that neither of you can understand that simple point.

          • Wessex Man

            then for the good of all European people we must increase our endeavours to leave and give freedom to all!

            • global city

              Yes. :)

        • hyufd

          Labour will not die without Scotland. They still would have won in 1945, 1950, 1966, October 1974, 1997, 2001 and 2005 even without Scottish MPs

        • James Morrison

          Westminster has already given assent by permitting the referendum to take place.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Uh, they want a currency union with the UK post independence although we have told them, rightly, to get stuffed. Salmond thus wants the UK taxpayer to guarantee the newly issued debt of a foreign country without being able to control how much they borrow or for how long. That is our business.

        • Jules Wright

          You got that right.

        • global city

          Oh, so you fell for the referendum as election manifesto to?

          • Inverted Meniscus

            Do you want to guarantee the debt of a foreign country?

            • global city

              Irrelevant. as I say, have you fallen for the election pledges of the SNP?

              They are nothing to do with the actual result of the referendum.

              • Inverted Meniscus

                Silly person. Ignore.

                • Wessex Man

                  He is a bit of a silly billy isn’t he.

      • Geoffbastin

        Scotland did not enter into a treaty although it signed up to an act of Union. That has been good for over three hundred years and only came about because the Scots had bankrupted themselves with the Darien adventure in Panama. In addition with their 9.5% of the UK’s population ( less than London’s) they are being allowed to end the union without the remainder having a vote. In fact many of those eligible to vote are not even Scottish by birth or decent so it’s just a non starter.
        The Scots already have more then their fair share of representation at Westminster with 59 MPs. They also have their own parliament and in 1707 were allowed to keep their own laws. It strikes me the poor old English have been getting the rough end of the stick for too long.

        • lewis4671

          The Treaty of Union was agreed in 1706 and then ratified by the parliaments of Scotland and England each passing an Act of Union.
          Darien did not bankrupt Scotland – no public finance had been invested in the venture so what happened was that wealthy people lost money (which is why the MPs were easily bribed to vote for Union.)
          Scotland is 8.3% of the UK population.
          Voting is a matter of residency – those who live and work in Scotland are the ones entitled to decide its future.
          By the way, we were not ‘allowed to keep our own laws” – that was one of the conditions the Scots insisted on as part of the treaty negotiations, and the English agreed to it!

          • Wessex Man


            You are talking a ficton, before correcting people I suggest you visit any of your Universites and study their extensive records of the Darien Project and their descriptions of a bankrupt Scotland. Don’t even trust the records that are held at Southampton University, which I somehow expect you would dispute.

          • Bo Williams

            It is going to be very frustrating if the majority of Scots vote Yes for independence but a No vote wins because nearly all of the 400,000 English residents of Scotland vote No, thus ensuring a tiny No vote victory.

            I can just see the headlines, Scots want independence but they cannot achieve it because of the English residents. That’ll go down well.

            • ChuckieStane

              I don’t see any issue with this at all. The ethnicity of the voters is irrelevent and how will anyone know how they voted?
              They are not English residents – they are Scottish residents. The fact that they may have been born in Scotland, England, Poland or Pakistan is of no consequence if they are legally on the electoral roll.

              • Bo Williams

                They would know by exit polling.

            • benbecula

              It would never be lived down. A lot of Scots won’t be happy about non-Scots settling the referendum outcome (which I believe could be a source of anger for some) , but I personally blame Salmond for this dog’s dinner.

              If they were going to base it on residency (wrong in my opinion) then there should have been a residency test of 10 years which would have excluded most non-Scots and made the referendum fairer. The idea that newly arrived 16 year Nigerians , Pakistani’s or Poles can influence this once in a lifetime referendum while genuine Scots temporary abroad are denied, fills me with contempt for the architect of this plan. Salmond has calculated that the ethnic minorities/foreigners were more inclined to vote YES but never bargained that the much bigger English vote would vote NO – scoring a massive own goal.

              The reality of Salmond’s referendum is likely to increase division but not just between Scots and English, but Scot against Scot, Scot against foreigner.

    • Geoffbastin

      I’m sure if it’s on BBC Scotland then we will be able to receive it as well. It’ll just mean changing channel.

      • Alexsandr

        mebbe on sky or cable but not freeview. prob on iplayer tho.

      • Bo Williams

        The debate is on STV not BBC. The BBC are trying to arrange a separate debate.

  • you_kid

    There is yet another debate? I thought the deal was done.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …you better send in the goat, lad.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        The goat’s too busy marching for Hamas.

  • Auldreekie

    Realistically, only a small minority of the population of England know very much that is true about Scotland and the issues pertinent to the independence debate. That’s not to say, however, that a great many think they do, and are ready to pontificate. And that includes leading politicians, economists, journalists and commentators.

    Ready to believe anything in support of the union? The first and third items in this clip are only slightly less far-fetched than the unionist parties’ and media’s propaganda…

  • ohforheavensake

    I’d guess because it’s about a vote in Scotland, which is a different country.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Fine as long as there is no negative economic impact on the UK. I can safely assume you will be dropping all the currency union nonsense then? No benefit for the UK in guaranteeing the debt of a “different country” after all.

      • global city

        You’re giving the europhiles arguments to justify giving the population of the continent a vote and involvement in OUR referendum.

        • Wessex Man

          No he’s not he’s just stating a simple fact..

          • Jules Wright

            Let’s face it folks. This exercise is so poorly worked out as to be meaningless – it has no firm edges whatsoever. It simply looks to me like Salmond running the brink to win devo-max concessions …

            • Geoffbastin

              Exactly right. Devo-max was always what would be the end result. There is no possibility of a separate Scotland forming a central bank with a new currency, new tax raising proposals and having adequate liquidity within the eighteen months they have given themselves after a Yes vote. It won’t happen and the majority know it.

          • global city

            So, you will be happy for Germans to get a vote on whether the UK should leave the European Union?

            • David S

              You keep repeating this mantra but that doesn’t make it true. The EU is an entity formed by a series of treaties between sovereign nations, which have the right to terminate them. Treaties have come and gone throughout history.
              The UK is, for the time being, a single nation. There is no reason why giving the English Welsh and Northern Irish a vote on Scottish independence should have any implications for the EU as a whole. Catalonia would be a different kettle of fish, though.

        • Jules Wright

          EU member states are neither part of the UK nor are UK citizens. So how so?

          • Geoffbastin

            You’re right and so there won’t be any vote within the EU over our membership whether they have Qualified majority Voting or not. The EU is a separate entity with which we will soon relinquish our ties. When that happens many other member states will follow and we will then have a proper renegotiation rather then Cameron’s waffle.

          • global city

            You missed the point. If it is pertinent for other people in the UK to have a vote on whether Scotland should leave the Union then it should follow that Europeans should have a vote on whether we leave theirs?

            That’s crazy, man!

            The vote is for Scotland to decide.

            • Wessex Man

              On this we agree and I’m sure that if there were a referendum across the entire EU the EU would vanish! Bring it on!

    • Geoffbastin

      Scotland is not a separate country and has not been since 1707. It is an integral part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
      All this England, Scotland, Ireland , Wales thing only exists for the sake of football teams.

      • Phil T Tipp

        To paraphrase Sir Frankie of Boyle: “Unionism: The belief that two similar countries might fare better together. Unless they’re both part of Ireland.”

      • James Morrison

        and most other sports teams
        and the law
        and the education system
        and the health service
        Yeah, apart from that…

  • Amir

    Read my interview with Norman Lamont over the Scottish independence, economy, reshuffle, immigration and europe:

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