Coffee House

Salmond and Darling’s Jeremy Kyle debate reinvigorates campaign

26 August 2014

Both camps in the Scottish independence debate have now has their shock: Alex Salmond was shaken to be beaten by Alistair Darling in the first debate, while a confident Darling seemed shaken last night that the First Minister wasn’t giving identical answers to the questions he repeated from his initial victorious round.

As we discussed on our View from 22 special podcast last night, it is very difficult to predict the impact of a resounding victory last night for Salmond on the final result.


But it means the ‘No’ camp have less of a reason to feel that they are cruising towards victory in the final weeks. Any Westminster MP or Better Together activist who had been wavering over whether to make one more campaigning visit will now know that they must make the effort. And the ‘Yes’ camp may feel they are the ones with a more impressive head of steam, even if they’re still behind their opponents.

But one thing both sides can surely agree on after last night’s bad-tempered encounter is that it will be a relief when the hostilities are over. Another encounter between Salmond and Darling would look more like an episode of the Jeremy Kyle Show than the sort of energising, passionate politics that we saw in the first debate. And if there’s to be any sort of attempt to preserve the political engagement that the referendum has encouraged, then it’s best to keep the two shouty men away from each other from now on.


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  • Jamie Devlin

    Although the SNP is the party of the devolved government, there is no guarantee it would win the first General Election of an independent Scotland. Some of the reasons for voting yes or no in the referendum have focused on policy decisions, rather than constitutional matters, which is odd. Voting yes in the referendum doesn’t necessarily mean a SNP dominated future with their policies on the NHS, welfare, tax, etc. In fact, post independence it is more likely the other parties would reposition themselves for Scotland and become genuine challengers to the SNP. What if the Scottish Conservatives won the first election? That would be interesting, highly amusing and perhaps not that unlikely!

    • P_S_W

      This is why Salmond’s anti-Conservative schtick is so disingenuous.

  • roger

    Oh dear. What a farce. Why was the audience top heavy with the yes voters? why was the moderator so weak? Why don’t people understand that it is vital for EVEN more private provision to be put into the NHS. Why is Salmond not being asked why he wants to give away so much hard won control to the EU if he wins? Salmond would be a disaster for Scotland but having seen him and his supporters last night I hope he gets away with it and we can dispense with twenty odd Labour MPs in the process.

    • Colonel Mustard

      It was the same old QT bollox. The ‘Yes’ voters in the audience represented activists and agitators which is probably why they were so noisy. Like the socialist bloc in Britain ‘Yes’ is the active agenda, the mission, the cause. It attracts all the strident zealots. Those who support the status quo won’t be inclined to agitation and shouting the odds.

      • Kennybhoy


  • swatnan

    It was pretty good entertainment and they were at it hammer and tongs; full marks to the Ref for not interfering too much. The Issues kept rolling out; it was good knockabout fun with a political message that got through. But it won’t have changed anyones views one bit. The Scots made their minds up weeks and months and even years ago. Scotland is still split down the middle between those that like the status quo with money coming up to Scotland, and those that want a radical change and not be a satrap to the English any longer.

    • Kennybhoy

      ” But it won’t have changed anyones views one bit. The Scots made their minds up weeks and months and even years ago.”

      This bit is sound…

  • Fraser Bailey

    I heard quite a lot of it on the radio. Yes, it was all rather boorish and predictable. It’s a shame that it’s all come down to money/currency and oil. There is little or no debate about the possibility of Scotland establishing a society that represents a real alternative to England i.e. a society that is not run for the benefit of bankers, corporate business, land owners and landlords.

    • HookesLaw

      Socialist twaddle. Half the banks are Scottish and the SNPs leading backer/cheerleader is a money grabbing corporate businessman. Its other celebrity backer lives in tax exile.

      • Alex Creel

        Tsk Tsk, rich people backing the SNP how disgraceful! Good thing you’ve no-one like that in the conservative party hey…oh wait – they occupy the entire front bench.

        • Colonel Mustard

          The Conservative front bench is backing the SNP? Well, who would have thunk it?

          • Alex Creel

            :-) The way Cameron’s handled the campaign you could almost believe it!

    • Colonel Mustard

      Yes, after all Scots put such a low priority on money anyway. Nowhere in Salmond’s vision of a Toff’n’Tory-less Scotland did he reference the Magic Money Tree that is essential for any socialist paradise. Odd that as it could have trumped anything Darling said.

    • P_S_W

      Do you have plans for landowners? How much land in Scotland is owned by Englishmen?

  • BigAl

    Salmond won on the soft emotional issues and Darling failed miserably on this count. Also, Darling was very poor on the question regarding additional jobs for Scotland.

    The currency issue will not go away but has become tedious for all.

    I do find it odd that Scotland will agree to permanently leave the UK before it has negotiated any exit terms. The £120B share of deficit is not enough of a bargaining chip as it is easy to call Salmond’s bluff. However, the long term damage to Scotland in the international financial community will last for a long time.

    • HookesLaw

      ‘odd’? Its blinking incredible. Its the debt share not deficit. Scotland’s deficit will be all its own.

    • Jambo25

      Its equally possible that the ‘financial community’ might see the position of rUK as being an over emotional, dog in the manger one created by feelings of rejection and therefore act against the interests of rUK.

      • Colonel Mustard

        rUK doesn’t exist. If you think a ‘Yes’ vote would change things only for Scotland you are naive.

        • Jambo25

          Are you suggesting that rUK would then split up into its constituent elements of England, Wales and N Ireland (In some kind of association with the Republic.)?

          • Colonel Mustard

            How should I know what will happen? The point is that the “rUK” does not exist as any entity, even as a presumption. It is merely a Scottish Nationalist projection of the UK without Scotland, beginning and ending there.

  • PG

    If we needed a reason to vote No, Salmond’s performance last night gave it to us. He used every trick in the toolkit of the demagogue, added some smugness all of his own, and with his repeated mantraabout the sovereign mandate of the Scottish people came within a whisker of revealing the Blut und Boden arguments that actually underlie the nationalist position.

    • Bo Williams

      Salmond’s argument that a Yes vote was a mandate for Currency Union is completely fallacious. Currency Union is not mentioned on the ballot and many Yes voters themselves want Scotland to set up a new currency.

      If Salmond wants a mandate to negotiate a Currency Union he should have a second referendum after a Yes vote. Even then the rest of the United Kingdom will not grant him his wish. Why Darling did not pick up on this I do not know.

    • abystander

      But its not a vote for or against Salmond, who post independence will just be another candidate for the FM post, assuming the SNP keeps him.

      Your Blut and Boden remark is ridiculous.

      • Makroon

        Daft comment.
        As the “hero of independence”, Salmond would be in power for the duration. Like Devalera.

        • abystander

          Well if he is, that will be the democratically expressed preference of the Scottish people.

          Unlike being stuck with some toffy nosed Tory boy none of us want.

          • P_S_W

            I bet if you actually vote for independence that you will have a Conservative government within 10 years.

            • monty61

              Have you ever been to Scotland? Laughable comment.

            • Kitty MLB

              Hello P-S-W. They really do seem to have a unreasonable
              hatred for our party. Strange after Labours country wrecking rampage. And if they get independence they can have Brown
              and all the other many Scottish labour MP’s back again with
              our blessing.

          • Colonel Mustard

            What’s the Scots opposite of a “toffy nosed Tory boy” or don’t your prejudices extend that far?

          • whs1954

            No more than the people of South East England voted for Labour between 1997 and 2010, but we still got them. That’s the magic of a nationwide election, quite often the party that wins hasn’t won every single seat.

        • Conway

          What do you mean, “for the duration”? Are we at war?

      • Colonel Mustard

        Salmond is shaping up to become Scotland’s Nasser.

        “Just another candidate” . . . yeah, right.

        • abystander

          He has nationalised the Caledonian Canal!

          Will you be sending one of those aircraft carriers without planes?

          • Colonel Mustard

            I don’t have an aircraft carrier, with or without planes. But there was more to Nasser than Suez. You should read up on him and note the parallels with the way Salmond operates.

            • abystander

              Condescending clown.

              • Colonel Mustard

                You should still read up on him. It’s your country not mine and I’m not the one proposing to establish myself as Scotland’s answer to Colonel Gaddafi.

    • Kitty MLB

      Salmond is dreadful. A ballooned ego floating around within his self- esteem
      smug because her was amongst those with the largest chips on their shoulders in the whole of Scotland.

      • Colonel Mustard

        The contrived chummy walk out from behind the lectern made the bile rise. I thought “snake oil salesman working the punters”.

        • Kitty MLB

          It was all so very fake Colonel. Salmond doesn’t give a toss about Scotland. Independence is the end game for him. He has no plan for afterwards.. everything is about that one moment. And if Scotland trusts him they are deluded fools.

          • Alex Creel

            All I hear is a bad case of sour grapes. Darling was out manoeuvred by a shrewd political battler – get over it. Why didn’t bitter together put up someone believable, with less political baggage?

            • Colonel Mustard

              “shrewd political battler” – that’s a good one!

      • bazinga

        The guy with the massive shoulders was a no voter in the audience.

  • Andrew Hamilton

    Darling stood his ground and attacked the YES lies about the NHS effectively. Can’t see how it was a victory for Salmond

    • In2minds

      It has to be victory for Salmond otherwise it’s ‘unfair’! The man does not have a chip on his shoulder it’s a timber yard.

    • AtMyDeskToday

      If “stood his ground” means being irascible, bad tempered and lots of pointy fingers, then yes.

    • Jambo25

      Unfortunately for you 71% of those polled thought it was.

      • HookesLaw

        500 people and ICM have given a health warning.

        • Jambo25


    • ChuckieStane

      Andrew, funny how even the New Statesman have admitted it was Darling who was lying on the NHS in the debate.

  • DavidL

    To this English onlooker, it was a nasty, brutish and over-long debate last night, featuring a lot of shouting, but no killer arguments. To my mind, nobody “won”, although Salmond showed more aggression, which is probably why the polls call it for him. The whole independence debate has become both polarised and very unpleasant. Whatever the outcome, the effects will be felt in Scottish politics for a long time to come.

    • Makroon

      Utterly uninclined to watch this garbage, or the demented and increasingly feverish efforts of the BRITISH Broadcasting Corporation’s daily attempts to foment the break-up of the union.

      But here’s a thought – Salmond wants to encourage immigration to Scotland, to boost the stagnant population. Post-break-up, we are likely to see a steady drift of Scots to England and other countries, and, an immigrant surge using Scotland and it’s open borders, as an easy-access route to England (thus returning Scotland to it’s historic role as “catspaw for malevolent European interference”).
      Odd that this has escaped the attention of the commentariat, even odder that it has escaped the beady eyes of UKIP.

      • Airey Belvoir

        Surely the Beeb’s interests are better served by preserving the Union? Otherwise i would have predicted a Question Time audience rigging – but maybe the Nats were just more vocal.

        • Kennybhoy

          The BBC is somewhat conflicted but the anti-British imperative tends to win out…

      • Kennybhoy

        “…daily attempts to foment the break-up of the union.”

        This rag is just as bad …

    • Kitty MLB

      it was a total caterwauling embarrassment. A shouting match and a somewhat
      ignorant and bias bunch of people watching. As you say David very unpleasant indeed. Only watched 30 minutes of it. They also clearly needed
      David Dimbleby . We decided to read something civilized instead.
      If that represents Scotland .. then Goodbye.

      • DavidL

        Kitty, I agree with you about the audience. It was even worse than Question Time. Where do they find these people?

    • ButcombeMan

      But also an effect on rUK politics.

      Salmond loses, the Scots carry on whingeing that the world owes them a /socialist style/ living and England must pay for it. Much ado about extra revenue raising powers, fine by me as long as they are in ADDITION TO revenue raise in rUK.

      Salmond wins and the Scots carry on whingeing because they cannot have a currency union with rUK under any circumstances and they find that it is not all milk and honey, in the real world, without Mummy..

      A currency union would adversely affect those of us left behind in rUK. So no rUK party could drive it through. It would be political suicide.

      It seems there is no escape, the Scots just whinge, (or some of them do).

    • Kennybhoy

      “To my mind, nobody “won”, although Salmond showed more aggression, which is probably why the polls call it for him.”


  • CrashDive

    The Moderator might as well have gone home… The whole show was pathetic with both parties but in particular Salmond allowed to shout over each other and ignore any questions.


    • monty61

      Indeed the moderation was woeful.

  • HD2

    Salmond’s just an over-rated and over-priced ‘kipper.

  • Dean Jackson

    The concept of Union has always meant security from outside invasion, the original threat to Presbyterian Scotland and Anglican England being an invasion from either Catholic France or Catholic Spain. What else would bring two such diverse cultures together, the Celts of Scotland and the Anglo-Saxon Normans of England? And the threat of foreign invasion is more subtle today, even unseen, because the enemy is weak in numbers, hence the enemy’s need to conceal its identity. Who is this enemy that threatens Britain?

    The enemy is within and without, and are Marxists who’ve co-opted the political parties of the West, including the West’s leading institutions, from the media to religion. We know this to be true not only because we were warned of the enemy within by KGB defector Major Anatoliy Golitsyn in 1962, but because the West’s institutions failed to warn its populations that the collapse of the USSR (and East Bloc nations) was a strategic disinformation operation, as proved by the West’s failure to not only verify the collapse, but de-Communize the Soviet Armed Forces officer corps (which was 90% Communist Party officered in late 1991), and failure to de-mobilize the six-million vigilantes that assisted the Soviet Ministry of Interior and militia to control the populations in the larger Soviet cities.

    The West’s fate depended on verification of the collapse of the USSR, verification’s absence proving co-option of the West’s institutions. On the Soviet side, there could be no collapse when (1) the Soviet Armed Forces officer corps remained Communist Party dominated; and (2) six-million vigilantes continued to control the population.

    In order for Scotland to decide on Union or independence, Scots must be armed with all the information that’s necessary to make the correct decision. The co-opted media will not present the facts as laid out above.

    By the way, who are the thugs guarding the Marxist “debaters” sitting down? Why are thugs needed? Because neither Marxist wants to be confronted with awkward questions concerning the real reason why independence for Scotland is on the voting agenda for September 18.

    • El_Sid

      If you look at DNA, there’s no difference between Scots and English, the whole Celts vs Normans thing is a myth. Many of the Lowland clans are Norman – Robert the Bruce takes his name from Brix near Cherbourg. The division of cultures is marked by the Pentland Firth, not Hadrian’s Wall.

      • Dean Jackson

        “If you look at DNA, there’s no difference between Scots and English, the whole Celts vs Normans thing is a myth.”

        Where did I mention DNA? The differences in 1707 were cultural, of course.

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