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Not Tonight, Darling

26 August 2014

26 August 2014

Well that was a gubbing. No doubt about it. Alex Salmond won last night’s debate against Alistair Darling just as thoroughly as he’d lost their first encounter. Sure, some Unionists tried to put a cheerful spin on it – “We’ll take that” one senior Labour figure told me – but don’t you believe any of it.

Salmond, as predicted, was much better than he had been in the first debate. Darling, as predicted, was much worse. File this encounter in the drawer marked reversion to the mean.

Darling had many problems last night but among the greatest was the fact he’s not a Tory. Time and time again Salmond stuck him with the “in bed with the Tories” jibe and took great pleasure in seeing Darling squeal and wriggle. It’s not fair! Well, tough.

Salmond, like the Yes campaign in general, has largely given up talking to the wealthiest 40% of Scots and his tactics in this debate were pitched at lower-middle and working classes. Which is, of course, perfectly reasonable.

But Darling’s non-Toryism meant he had few answers and, worse, few defences. He was forced – by his leftism and by the conventions of Scottish orthodoxy – to play along with the notion that governments can create proper jobs and so he looked a fool when he couldn’t name any so-called “job-creating powers” that would be devolved to Holyrood after a No vote.

Nor could he make a case for welfare reform as a route back to work  – and dignity – and he couldn’t make the argument that however uncomfortable life might be for the poorest sections of society it might be even less comfortable after independence. Ireland, which has a higher per capita GDP (the SNP’s favourite junk statistical measurement) than Germany is no better a place in which to be poor than Scotland now. It might even be worse.

But Darling was skewered by a question from the audience asking how, if we’re really better together so many of us don’t feel better right now. Darling blinked and never really recovered. His case for the Union last night was desperately feeble, even, at times, craven. He came across as a timid man leading a timid cause.

Both men made concessions that will cheer their opponents. Salmond conceded that the Scottish NHS is not going to be privatised (alas!) unless a Scottish government wants to privatise it. Darling accepted the obvious: of course Scotland can continue to use the pound after independence.

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There is every difference, however, between doing so as part of a formal currency union and using the pound in a sterlingisation process. Salmond knows this, of course, and it is deeply disingenuous of him to try to muddy the waters and blur the distinction between these two very different policies. Darling, however, could have done more to point this out.

But that would have meant spending more time talking about the bloody currency and no-one could sensibly want that. Indeed, Darling spent far too much time banging on about the pound. Yes, it is an important issue. No, it is not the only important issue. And anyway we’ve heard enough about it already. Point taken. Shut up.

But back he went to the currency time and time and time again. So much so, in fact, that I began to think that, gosh, if Salmond could solve his currency dilemma (he can’t) this independence thing might be a skoosh. That’s the problem with being a one-trick pony: people get tired of your trick pretty quickly.

Just as Darling won the first debate because the important exchanges were on his favoured subjects so Salmond won last night’s encounter in part because he dominated the parts of the debate that really mattered. He likes talking about the NHS, about welfare, about Trident and about oil.

Sure, there might be less oil than Scottish government estimates suggest (it would certainly be prudent to work on that assumption) and, sure, there’s certainly no money for an oil fund but, look, this is not a debate that Darling was ever going to win. Salmond’s fundamental point  – Oh, heavens, how will we cope with this awful burden of oil? – hits home and rings true. No oil, of course, no nationalist movement worth the name but that’s a different matter.

Darling, however, seemed flustered and discombobulated. Perhaps this is the problem with playing not to lose: you can forget how to win.

There are plenty of holes in the SNP’s case but Darling seemed unable – most of the time – last night to point them out. So Salmond won, not just by default but because he made the more persuasive case.

And, of course, he rediscovered the importance of lyricism: “This is our time. It’s our moment. Let us do it now.” A simple but powerful message that asks Scots only to believe in themselves. Since people like the idea of believing in themselves it’s neither a daft nor a fruitless appeal. Hope still matters.

Will it be enough? Well, I would expect the Yes side to enjoy a small bounce in the polls later this week. Perhaps a couple of points improvement. Whether that lasts as long as polling day, however, is a different matter.

Salmond won this debate and won it convincingly but the instant ICM poll should be treated with some care. It was, by definition, only a poll of the minority of voters who watched the debate and it was also a Yes-friendly sample. Before the debate 44% said they would vote Yes and 46% indicated they intend to vote No. By the end of the evening those figures had crept up to 45% Yes and 47% No.

Winning, in other words, is not necessarily the same thing as changing minds. Still, only a daftly optimistic Unionist could deny the fact that this was an important evening for the nationalists. Another defeat would not have decided the outcome but it would have stripped away reasons to believe in a Yes vote. As it is, Yessers are in buoyant mood and can approach the final three weeks of campaigning in fine fettle. That counts for something even if we do not know how much it counts for.

They haven’t gone away, you know.

Finally, I suppose some people will have been appalled by the tone and temper of the debate, especially the middle section in which the two men talked, nay shouted, over one another for nearly 20 minutes. I rather liked it. This is a big argument about a big issue and tempers should fray from time to time as the protagonists get stuck into each other. Proper politics for once, you know? So I reckoned that Glenn Campbell, the evening’s moderator, did a good job too. If voters can’t handle that sort of thing then tough.

 


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Show comments
  • lailahaillallah

    What is really funny to me is that the Scots don’t like it that some English people, like me, want RID of them. They want to be independent but have a chip on their shoulder the size of Arthur’s Seat and expect us to beg them to stay; whwn we don’t, they are unhappy!

    • Jambo25

      We couldn’t care less what you think.

      • lailahaillallah

        Yes you do- otherwise you wouldn’t post an answer.

        • Jambo25

          I was already posting on the site to correct the less knowledgeable English posters like yourself.

          • lailahaillallah

            I cannot expect to have as much knowledge on the matter as a local but that doesn’t lose me the right to a reasonable opinion.

  • ReefKnot

    Even as the Nats lose they will be claiming they have won the arguments.

    • Malcolm McCandless

      You mean “Independence is inevitable”.

      Oh yes, well spotted.

  • Malcolm McCandless

    Hold on, the No campaign do have a Plan B ……. and it is called Gordon Brown.

    Yes, Gordon Brown is about to step into the limelight once more hand-in-hand with Alistair Darling, the Eric and Ernie of Scottish Labour politics.

    What do you think of it so far?

    RUBBISH!

    • The_greyhound

      Slightly more prepossessing than the SNP’s one man and his dog show that s salmond and sturgeon?

      Rant all you please. The SNP got just 10% of the electorate to vote for them as recently as May this year. They may make a lot of noise, but the imbecile nationalists remain just a dwarfish fringe party.

      • Malcolm McCandless

        Scots are in for a real treat because Gordon Brown is a man who can make time stand still. He has a face that could stop a clock.

        • Wessex Man

          Then why oh why did Scots keep electing him to inflict misery on the entire nation!

          • Malcolm McCandless

            It is a bit like Newton’s third law of motion. You gave us Maggie Thatcher it seemed only fair for us to give you Gordon Brown in return.

            • Jambo25

              English Karma.

      • Jambo25

        Biggest share of the Euro vote.

    • Wessex Man

      Well I have to agree with you on that but your lot arn’t exactly brilliant are they.

  • The_greyhound

    The lying little gobshite still hasn’t answered the currency question I see. Curious state of affairs. He presumably daren’t admit the only plausible answer in the medium term is the EURO, assuming Belgium, Italy or Spain don’t bounce an application to rejoin the EU.

    • Conway

      France isn’t going to be too keen, either, seeing as they have the Breizh movement to consider.

    • lailahaillallah

      Never mind, they could form a sort of currency union with Montenegro and Bosnia. I guess they could call it “The union of countries of not much importance”.

  • Paul Isclosed

    GDP per capita is only a ‘junk statistically measurement’ when it shows that the UK is not as economically prosperous as it likes to make out.

  • Freebornbriton

    Most of us just wish the jocks would put up or shut up. Vote no , then shut up. Vote yes , then bugger off. Moaners the lot of them.

    • Paul Isclosed

      Vote BNP much?

      • Wessex Man

        oh what an outstanding comment!

        • Jambo25

          Probably pretty accurate. That was, after all, one of those rather crude anti-Scottish comments that dear old HJ tells me aren’t to be found in the Speccy or Telegraph.

    • lailahaillallah

      Couldn’t agree more!

  • kevin foy

    There are no food banks in Ireland thank you very much.

    • The Wiganer

      Are you sure? Google is calling you a liar.

      • kevin foy

        Damn you google. Ok I googled it and this came up ”
        Crosscare Food Bank
        http://www.crosscarefoodbank.ie/

        The Crosscare Foodbank, based in Portland Row is the only food bank in Ireland. It was set up by the charity Crosscare over 20 years ago in Dublin.”
        It says only food bank, so hopefully thats true.

        • Jambo25

          There was an article in one of the papers a couple of days ago listing the 10 richest and 10 poorest regions of Northern Europe. The richest region was London but none of the other 9 rich regions were in the UK. Of the 10 poorest regions, 9 were in the UK. None of those poor regions were in the Republic but Northern Ireland was one of the poor regions. Plenty of food banks all over the UK.

  • HookesLaw

    ‘Nor could he make a case for welfare reform as a route back to work – and dignity’ – he does not need to, its devolved like the NHS. Everything that is directly meaningful to Scotland is devolved. Salmond seems happy enough to devolve the currency the other way.
    The notion of Darling not being a Tory hardly matters because the other side of the coin is that the SNP ar the only party proposing independence.

    The only think missing from the debate was the Mad Hatter and the Red Queen.

  • ButcombeMan

    “Salmond, like the Yes campaign in general, has largely given up talking to the wealthiest 40% of Scots”.
    *****************

    WRONG
    Salmond has largely given up talking to EDUCATED Scots, some will be relatively wealthy of course but it is not their wealth that makes them impervious to Salmond’s, economically illiterate proposals.

    The truly wealthy need have no personal fear for the consequences, they can move their main assets out, indeed they will already be out.

    • AtMyDeskToday

      If you’re from Somerset, as your name might suggest, then in respect of Scotland, its politics and Scots in general you seem to be quite the expert. Silly me, I’ve just lived here, and voted here, all my life. What would I know about those things.

      • ButcombeMan

        Your comments are largely intellect free areas. I am quite happy to take you on should you show any ability to think.

        Now how about you tell us how an independent Scotland with no Central Bank and no currency of its own, coupled with a tendency towards grandiose unaffordable public spending, could possibly function for the benefit of all its citizens.

        Tell us how it would dissuade capital flight, how it could hang on to its large financial services industry (with most customers in England).

        How it would avoid the higher interest rates & mortgage rates that Salmond’s proposals envisage (even if he does not admit it).

        Secondly, engage (which Salmond always fails to do) with why a currency union with an independent Scotland would be good for rUK voters. What I suggest to you, is that no UK political party could get away with it without signing its own death warrant.

        Explain why you think the financial markets would regard an rUK in a currency union with an independent socialist inclined Scotland, with a more friendly eye than an rUK, that cuts you adrift.

        Explain what each proposal would do to rUK interest rates.

        If you do not understand basic economics, I suggest you phone a friend.

        • AtMyDeskToday

          “Your comments are largely intellect free areas. I am quite happy to take you on should you show any ability to think.”

          I did say you were quite the expert, but apparently not.

          • HookesLaw

            Apparantly no answers

            • AtMyDeskToday

              …can’t be bothered talking to an obnoxious fool like him.

              • HookesLaw

                Then talk to an obnoxious fool like me.
                How does Scotland get by without a currency a central bank a finance sector. How does it get by in the Schengen area. How does it manage its deficit irrespective of whose currency you count it in?

                • AtMyDeskToday

                  I’m confident you have all the info I have and have equally well explored all the arguments. I would just add that there has never been an independence movement in history that had all the questions and answers completely sewn up in advance. Equally there has never been an independence movement that has failed because of that. Negotiations.

                • The_greyhound

                  There’s probably never been an “independence movement” with so few questions sewn up. Some blether about some largely illusory problems with the Union, some baseless predictions and uncosted promises, and a generous helping of anti-English rhetoric. The SNP independence campaign consists of piss and wind, and appeals only to the incorrigibly vicious and the completely stupid.

          • ButcombeMan

            Expert enough, to ask you serious questions that you, like Salmond, cannot answer convincingly,

      • Fergus Pickering

        I don’t know. What would you know?

        • AtMyDeskToday

          I think you missed the point.

          • Wessex Man

            classic.

    • Jacobite

      Voting yes-i guess those degrees I have must be in embroidery or something.

      • ButcombeMan

        I you are still supporting Salmond, they cannot have enhanced your understanding of basic economics.

        Interesting that “AtMyDeskToday”, probably like you, has no answers to my very simple questions

        • Jacobite

          No I am supporting Yes not Salmond. Something some folk appear to be having difficulty grasping

          • ButcombeMan

            Just slightly pedantic but. I take your point.

            Since you are so well educated,with multiple degrees, maybe YOU would like to try tackling my questions above, AtMydesk is plainly not up to it intellectually or maybe he has no friends to phone..

  • CharlietheChump

    Meaningless, pointless. Sigh. Yawn

  • DazEng

    Stitch up more like. Total and utter Stitch up!
    Play it back and see how many times the “impartial moderator” interrupts Darling before he can finish making his points.
    Then try and listen to what he’s saying over all the Brown shirts they have shouting him down in the crowd.
    I never gave too much thought to this issue prior to last night. I thought it a shame though that the Scots could leave the Union.
    But after that last night, I’ve never been more certain they should be told to go rather than given the option.
    Let them have their Socialist utopia, I can’t wait to gloat when it goes belly up.

  • Gwangi

    Alec Salmond appeals to uneducated, thick, ignorant men from the lowest social classes who are prone to bigotry, racism and thuggery. Any Scot with a decent education and a rational assessment of risk would vote NO.

    But really, this is not vote to decide a president for the next term – or even for one man over another. of course, Salmond tries to make it scots versus English tory thing. that is because he is a slippery slimeball dictator who wants to make Scotland his one party socialist state.

    • AtMyDeskToday

      I guess you like him. I’m sure he would find you very likeable, do you have many friends?

    • HookesLaw

      Now then who does that remind me of?

    • JPJ2

      Funny that-I thought the Orange Lodge were for NO :-)

  • saffrin

    Scotland will be alright until the oil runs out and seeing as they’ll no longer be part of the UK, they’ll not benefit from the future goldmine that is the South Atlantic.
    Salmond’s idea of independence is the euro zone and the bilderberg group.

    • AtMyDeskToday

      Ah but will England be OK when the oil runs out **immediately**?
      As for the South Atlantic, that would be the field you’ll be going to war with Argentina over.

      • lailahaillallah

        Most of the oil is in the English sector. Geography not your strongest suit, eh?

        • AtMyDeskToday

          We’re talking the Scottish sector here. Try to keep up.

          • lailahaillallah

            Our oil will not run out then, will it?

            • AtMyDeskToday

              Nope. The money that comes from the Scottish fields, direct to Westminster, will though. Which was the point of the post from saffrin. For goodness sake wake up.

              • Fergus Pickering

                The Shetland fields you mean.

                • AtMyDeskToday

                  …part of Scotland. I guess you think they will sue for independence. You don’t know the Scots.

                • Wessex Man

                  Well thank you it has been fun and I’m still having a chuckle

                  as I pass this comment, chat again tomorrow.

                • The_greyhound

                  You don’t.

                  If there is a yes vote, Shetland will be gone in five years.

                  You rudimentary nationalist types need to learn that bully bluster brag and boast doesn’t carry you very far in the grown world.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Yes I do. And what is even better, I know the Shetlanders. My brother is one. They think nothing of idle bloodsuckers in Glasgow.

                • Kitty MLB

                  And he clearly doesn’t know the Shetlanders who I believe feel closer to Norway then the ‘ mainland’. I assume someone’s blonde and perfect little brother still abodes upon Shetland and
                  I hope his relatives are being nice to him.

                • Jambo25

                  No they don’t Kitty. I thought you had more common sense.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  And I believe they are holding a referendum on the same day as the Scottish one. My brother, who was born in Scotland but has lived in Shetland for many years, will vote to say in the UK and for Shetland independence should the Scottish vote be yes.

              • The Wiganer

                The money from the oil fields is less than 1% of UK treasury income and is cancelled out by the welfare payments to Scotland. Oh, how will we survive?

                • AtMyDeskToday

                  Good question. With all that debt around your neck how will you when the money markets get involved?

                • The_greyhound

                  You would have to be completely stupid to start an newly independent country off with a threatened default.

                  The SNP is completely stupid.

                  Or is salmond deliberately trying to throw the match? Difficult to judge with people so utterly bereft of scruple, principle or integrity.

        • HookesLaw

          Well quite a bit of oil is in the English sector – most is in the Shetlands.

          • Jambo25

            I believe about 6% is in the English sector of the North Sea and even that is debatable.

        • Jambo25

          Certainly isn’t yours. Nor, apparently, international law.

      • Fergus Pickering

        Naw. We don’t need to go to war. They are frit and all mouth..

  • McRobbie

    My son has totally convinced me to vote yes..he informed me that salmond would close down the BBC in Scotland after independence…I can’t think of a better waste of money being saved so it’s YES YES YES for me.

  • Fraziel

    I didnt watch it as already decided but i think if you needed to watch these two clowns shouting at each other for 2 hours to make up your mind you dont deserve a vote. Thats 2 hours i would never get back. Small yes bounce perhaps but shouldnt be enough for them to win.

  • AtMyDeskToday

    I’m somewhat amused and fascinated that Darling in any other context would be considered by the English contributors on here as a typical Scottish lefty socialist, Trot, traitor who helped bring the UK to its knees. In this context he is seen as the shining bright knight riding to the rescue of the UK. Is it because you cannot rustle up even one English politician, of whatever flavour, who can put a case for no and is prepared to debate it?

    • Wessex Man

      Excuse me, in your reply to Barakzai, you ‘said by the the tone and content of many of the English posts on here that feeling is well deserved.’

      Given that Barakzai’s was the only English comment up at that time it’s certainly not deserving of your spleen. You show your true feelings toward the English by comments above this one.

      It’s a fact that most of the English population are not interested in the Scottish referendum at all, many on the radio today didn’t even know who Salmond was and are more interested in the Football Rugby or Motoring Racing results. Most English politicans at the Uk Parliament find more interesting things to do rather than travelling up to Scotland to be insulted by the likes of you.

      • AtMyDeskToday

        “Excuse me, in your reply to Barakzai, you ‘said by the the tone and content of many of the English posts on here that feeling is well deserved.'”

        By “on here” I of course meant the greater Speccy blogs in general.
        I’m sorry that you were unable to grasp that.

        “It’s a fact that most of the English population are not interested in the Scottish referendum at all”

        Then why do so many, including you, spend so much time on here denigrating Scotland and the Scots?

        • Wessex Man

          I’m here to comment on anything that I want to because I live in a democracy and the Spectator is still pretty democratic. The fact that I come from England that has very many more millions of population than Scotland should be some indication even to you that more English should be commenting here than Scots.

          We English who bother to take an interest in matters that affect the United Kingdom have as much right as you to comment on the Scottish Referendum. We also have more right to comment on whether you Scots if Independent can share our currency.

          Yet there’s not, I would say that the percentages here are about 60/40 proving my point about the majority of the English population. You seem to be wearing you aggrieved Scot Nat chip on Shoulder prominently today.

          I dread to think what your mood will be like if Scotland gets Independence and the Fat Controller realises that all the shouting and foot stamping by him in the world will not get him what he thinks he’s entitled to!

          • AtMyDeskToday

            You’re very bitter today, something upset you?

            • Wessex Man

              There you go again, I was telling you that we the English people who comment on here haver as much right to as you and you accuse me of denigrating Scotland and the Scots, I do no such thing! I merely treat you and other Cyber Nat Nutjobs in the same way as you treat us.

              Any Scot wishing to have a civilised debate wil get a civilised debate form me.

              • AtMyDeskToday

                There you go again being bitter and denigrating the Scots, referring to me as a “Cyber Nat Nutjob”. In the Nutjob category, your posts overall in every blog leave me well behind in that respect. You would not know a civilised debate if you fell over it.

                • Wessex Man

                  Please show me a civilised debate involving you and I will be more than happy to join it!

                • AtMyDeskToday

                  Waste of time. You would only get angry and bitter.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Now, now. If you can’t say nothing nice, don’t say nothing at all.Being rude is not the same thing as being strong..

                • AtMyDeskToday

                  Looking in the mirror when you said that?

              • lailahaillallah

                You cannot reason with unreasonable people, though I respect you for trying to. c 4m of them and they want to tell the other 59m how to manage their currency.

                Let them keep the pound- they could even call it the “poond” rather in the way Montenegro uses the Euro, despite not even being in the EU! Just so long as they don’t expect England to have any part of it. (As an aside, did you know that Scottish banknotes are not strictly legal tender even in Scotland?)

                On the world stage they will be about as relevant as Montenegro. Leave them to dree their ain wierd, and go back to their traditional economy, that is, emigration.

                • AtMyDeskToday

                  You’ve come late to the debate. That load of nonsense has been repeatedly played out by other “contributors” (to give them some small credit) for months now. Try harder.

                • lailahaillallah

                  Late to the debate? I think not, just late to subscribe to this forum. I have been a SNP member for several years now.

                • AtMyDeskToday

                  You have difficulty with simple words, or are just obtuse, or maybe a pedant, but we are talking about the Speccy/DT debate (if you can call it that).

          • FF42

            He might not shout and stamp. He will have got what he wanted.

            The Anglo Irish trade war boosted support for De Valera and his Fianna Fail party, even though the misery was largely created by them. I do hope Scotland doesn’t have to go through that crap.

            • Wessex Man

              I do as well but this entire affair has whether we like it or not has been turned into a rather heated and nasty debate by Salmond and the Cybernats here. Negotiations are not going to be cordial in the atmosphere created by them.

              How on earth are the people of Scotland going to reconcile after all this bitterness, yet alone with he rest of the UK?

              • Jambo25

                Nah. It was a lot of the cousins down south who did that. Salmond and the Yessers have been politeness itself in their campaign material.

            • Jambo25

              Not just Scotland. Anglo-Irish relations worked out so well for UK (England).

      • eclair

        Interestingly but sadly for the Scots, I think Wessex Man is probably right and less people are actually interested in what they do than they may think they deserve.

        • AtMyDeskToday

          In truth, I and Scotland in general don’t think we deserve anything from England other than respect. That commodity being in very short supply we don’t much care what you think.

          • eclair

            I didnt say we had no respect for you. Another interesting idea that the Scots Nats could do with practicing is that of having respect for their political opponents. Thats whats in short supply

            • AtMyDeskToday

              “Scots Nats could do with practicing is that of having respect for their political opponents. Thats whats in short supply”

              A cross section of the replies on the typical Speccy/DT blog would disprove your theory and demonstrate the opposite.

              • eclair

                I look forward to respecting your currency then, once you’ve sourced it. Look, if you’re so keen to go, dont be surprised if you hear people saying ‘seeya!’ Getting touchy about it because your declaration evokes boredom is just silly. As silly as dressing yourselves up as an independent country that is reliant on the currency of a foreign power. Hows that going to work then?

                • AtMyDeskToday

                  If it evokes boredom, why the intense interest evident here, you being an example?

                • eclair

                  From you I have to say, I merely agreed with Wessex Man, I am quite interested in anyone who is likely to cause me financial grief however, and that could well be you. Im also quite interested in the concept of Scottishness which seems to me to be as elastic as a modern concept of Englishness. What price your knobbly knees pipes and square sausage now eh?

                • AtMyDeskToday

                  “What price your knobbly knees pipes and square sausage now eh?”

                  Respect?

                • eclair

                  Please no… not a PC scot. We’ve got enough of them here

                • Wessex Man

                  show a bit and you might get some.

                • Jambo25

                  Bowler hats, sexual frigidity, bad teeth and arrogance. Stereotypes eh!.

          • Fergus Pickering

            What exactly do you men by respect? Do you mean what the black criminal means?

            • AtMyDeskToday

              No, I mean respect for political views, the opposite of the abuse that is typical here. Of which your post is a veiled hint.

              • Fergus Pickering

                Ther is no reason at all why political views should have respect. I have no respect for the political views of Nick Clegg, Adolf Hitler and your good self if you are a Scottish Nationalist i.e. an ageing male romantic..

                • Jambo25

                  Very good. Equate Scottish nationalism and Nick Clegg with Nazism . excellent.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Scoiish Nationalism is Stalinst. Like De Valera they earnestly wished for Hitler to prevail. Clegg is what Lenin described as a iseful idiot.

                • Jambo25

                  Hyperbolic nonsense.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Meaning you know I am right.

                • Jambo25

                  Nah. I mean “Hyperbolic nonsense”.

          • Rossspeak

            Bit rich don’t you think? I have read with interest and some amusement many of the posts on this issue – and the one thing that has been pretty common is a significant lack of respect from either Mr.Salmond or many of his supporters for the English.

            • AtMyDeskToday

              Frankly, rubbish.

            • HookesLaw

              Salmond is desperate to provoke the English as is his acolyte on here. He .hopes this will spur a reaction. As with other situations it would be a mistake to assume that all Scots think like they do. the sad thing about this is the way people form both sides seize on easy stereotypes and lay it onto an entire population.

            • Wessex Man

              Show Us respect and we’ll show you some, as for Salmond please tell me what right he has to come to Liverpool and preach the break up of England, why that would be like Cameron coming north and preaching the same.

            • Jambo25

              Proof please.

        • Jambo25

          Interestingly and sadly, from the point of view of the benighted Scots, most of us don’t care about the level of English interest. Our lives are not validated or otherwise by the level of attention we get from the English.

    • Ordinaryman

      Darling is a Labour politician and therefore, perhaps, it is something to do with the fact that a number of Labour seats are from Scotland and Labour could ill afford to lose them. Of course, the question then jumps to mind, why has a Tory led government allowed a Labour politician to fight on behalf of the Union. Maybe because Labour have more to loose if Scotland becomes independent and will, therefore, put up a better fight to maintain the status quo. The conclusion being that either the Libdems have forced Darling on the Tories or, some Tories prefer the Union to remain intact over and above improving their election chances when Labour lose seats due to Scottish independence.

      • AtMyDeskToday

        There’s nothing in your post that I would argue with. As one woman in the debate audience put it very well… “at least Alex is here to argue for what he sees as the future of Scotland, you (Alistair) are here to argue for your job”. However, on a typical Speccy/DT blog Darling would not be entertained beyond the first sentence. It must be galling for the UKIP, EDL, BNP, Out of the EU Now! mind-set that often rules here to swallow him whole.

        • FF42

          at least Alex is here to argue for what he sees as the future of Scotland, you (Alistair) are here to argue for your job

          I challenge that. Both men are presumably concerned by what they see as the future of Scotland. They both say so, and I don’t see any reason to disbelieve them. It’s just that one sees Scotland’s future as part of a Union and the other as a country on its own.

          However Mr Darling’s job will come to an end with the campaign while Mr Salmond’s job will carry on and possibly will be enhanced by independence. Independence is primarily a political project. Otherwise they wouldn’t be talking about Westminster quite so much.

        • HookesLaw

          I don’t think its very clever quoting baseless rubbish questions.
          If Salmond loses he is toast – so if anyone’s job’s on the line its his.
          You are spouting a lot and being agressive with it but hardly coming forward with any valid arguments.

          • AtMyDeskToday

            I guess that’s your view. Which is interesting.

      • lailahaillallah

        Can you imagine if they had put up a Tory for the post? At least most Scots hate Labour a bit less than they do the Tories!

        • AtMyDeskToday

          “At least most Scots hate Labour”

          That’s a change from the usual mantra of socialist, welfare junkies. Or are you just confused?

          • lailahaillallah

            Have you found anyone not on antipsychotic medication who actually likes a politician?

      • HookesLaw

        ‘why has a Tory led government allowed a Labour politician to fight on behalf of the Union’ – Huh? Its not the tory led govts job to decide who wants to lead ‘Scotlands’ NO campaign.

        • Ordinaryman

          Your point is taken. So, who decided it should be Darling?

          • Wessex Man

            no idea, it would be interesting to know though.

            • Jambo25

              I think Darling got the job by default. The internal SLAB candidates were hopeless. Imagine Lamont as No leader. The Tories are toxic in Scotland and the Lib Dems far too peripheral so it had to be a Westminster Labour Scot. Brown has simply become too weird and semi-detached. Alexander is a total lightweight who’d have been chewed up and spat out by numerous people on the Yes side. Don’t think of him debating with Salmond but with Jim Sillars. There’s also the unfortunate way he stabbed his sister, Wendy, in the back when she was SLAB leader. John Reid is far too divisive for one of SLAB’s demographic banker groups; the protestant working class in West Central Scotland. As an ex supremo of Celtic FC and a known sympathiser of Irish Nationalism/Republicanism Reid would have turned off the Orange/Rangers vote which SLAB are now busily cultivating for the No side. That leaves Jim Murphy who, to give him credit, has been the most energetic of London Labour’s Scottish contingent. Murphy has no real name recognition, in Scotland however, so it had to be Darling-Man of Destiny.

    • girondas2

      Nobody in England is that interested

      • AtMyDeskToday

        …or too scared.

    • lailahaillallah

      Er… nope. A lot of us want rid of you!

      • AtMyDeskToday

        Happy to oblige.

        • lailahaillallah

          Delighted, so we can then keep the money we send you via the Barnet formula.

          • AtMyDeskToday

            …and we’ll keep all the taxes we send to you, which overall balances out.

    • Damon

      “Is it because you cannot rustle up even one English politician, of
      whatever flavour, who can put a case for no and is prepared to debate
      it?”

      Och, you in the Yes camp would just love us to send David Cameron or Nick Clegg up there to make the case for the Union. Boris Johnson COULD make a good intellectual case, but he’d rub you even further the wrong way. Alistair may not be a natural debater, but he’s an honourable man and a sufficiently big beast. He also happens to be right, which is why (according to every single poll) we’ll win.

      PS If an English pol really is required, how about Frank Field?

      • Jambo25

        I have a lot of respect for Frank Field but still don’t agree with him on the constitutional issue.

  • Kennybhoy

    Christ but you are a troll Massie…

  • BigAl

    There was no moderator?

  • Jacobite

    I am with you if you don’t like the shouting tough. It is important. I want to vote yes and know why. If no want me to vote otherwise then they better give me good reason. So far all I have heard is rubbish and it will be difficult. And we are secure-well I must have been dreaming through half of my bloody life- wars, recessions, redundancies.

    • Barakzai

      You want to know why?
      Could it be that you share the inferiority complex so many Scots have towards the ‘overbearing’ English, but of course won’t admit to it? England’s Tory after all, isn’t it? Salmond’s anti-English shoulder chip is better disguised than, say, de Valera’s was, but it’s there all the same . . .

      • AtMyDeskToday

        I’ve **never** met a fellow Scot who had an inferiority complex towards the English. Some with a feeling of superiority mind you, and judging by the tone and content of many of the English posts on here that feeling is well deserved.

        • Fergus Pickering

          Naw, you all know you are inferior. The English, the English, the English are best. I wouldn’t give tuppence for all of the rest. Tuppence is a Scots bawbee..

          • AtMyDeskToday

            You’re a funny guy, maybe not in the sense you think.

          • Kerr Mudgeon

            A bawbee was a sixpence Scots. Worth a ha’penny Sterling after currency union.

            • Fergus Pickering

              Fower bawbees then.

      • Jacobite

        Don’t have any inferiority or superiority complex and if I did I am sure my hubby the psychologist would have mentioned. I don’t hold any bad feeling towards England but I will admit there are some Tories I can’t stand.

        • Fergus Pickering

          Why can’t you stand them, pray?

          • Kitty MLB

            Because as Telemachus says Tories stuff shoeless children up ter chimney…regardless
            of the fact that Labour made them shoeless.

            • Fergus Pickering

              All over Canterbury there are shoeless children looking for chimneys to climb.

          • Jacobite

            Some are okay but in general I find that type of politics selfish but I don’t believe you should be tribal to any in particular. Balance is required

            • Fergus Pickering

              All politics are selfish. We vote for that which is to our advantage. If we are Tories we admit it. If we are Socialists we deny it, adding hypocrisy to our other vices. I should vote UKIP if I were you.

              • Jacobite

                Oh ukip -Tories without manners-no thanks

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Oh, it’s manners you want. Bumlicking eh?

                • Jacobite

                  Oh my Fergus did a wee wasp sting you? No actually I don’t actually know any real ukip politicians as I live in an area dominated by Tavish Scott and Alastair Carmichael. So as you can see I have suffered enough.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Beyond the fact that they are obviously Scotchmen I know nothing about these fellows. Perhaps it’s just as well.

                • Jacobite

                  Believe me Fergus best that way but one is the Secretary of State for Scotland. He is a numptie. You tube his debate with Nicola Sturgeon if you want a laugh. Tavish on the other hand is living of the fact that we once used to have a decent lib/dem person in this area.
                  In the event of a yes vote-the majority of us will be fine because the majority of folk are decent on both side of the border. Take care.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Indeed we are. And if I have been rude I apologise. I’ll be glad when it’s over.

      • Fraziel

        The English can be overbearing, pompous and arrogant too, but it has nothing to do with anyone In Scotland having or not having an inferiority complex. You’re just disliked the world over by pretty much everyone. I mean you are even less popular in Europe than the Germans, and they started 2 world wars.

        • HJ777

          Speak for yourself.

          As an Anglo-Scot-Welsh person with an English accent, I have found that English people are generally favourably thought of in all the countries (quite a few) in which I have lived.

          Of course, Cybernats tend to like to think otherwise but many of them are hardly enlightened people.

    • GUBU

      Will independence end recessions and redundancies?

      • Wessex Man

        It’s going to bring a whole new Valhalla, where Jacobite slumbers alongside two handmaidens looking after his every need and wish.

        • Jacobite

          Can I have a big beefie guy as a handmaiden would be over really no use to me.

      • HJ777

        Apparently it will. It will also bring better weather.

        • AtMyDeskToday

          “It will also bring better weather.”

          Don’t need it, it’s a lovely day here today, more forecast and we don’t get floods.

      • wycombewanderer

        Scotland are now favourites to win the world cup in Brazil the rugby world cup in 2015 and are highly tipped to replace England as favoured opponents of Australia in the next ashes series!

        • Jambo25

          I do believe we are tipped to be only one place behind England in the FIFA world rankings when they are next issued and that isn’t a joke.

      • The Wiganer

        Haven’t you heard? Independence will increase government spending, lower taxes, reduce borrowing, create jobs and save the NHS. Just don’t ask how.

        • The_greyhound

          Also the weather will improve.

          The fund of nationalist credulity is limitless.

          • Jambo25

            The lack of Unionist wit is amazing

      • Jacobite

        No but it means we’ll be able to get rid of useless idiots not promote them to the bkoody house of lords for a start

    • Fraziel

      The economics and who will pay for it all. Those are good reasons, mass unskilled immigration, undue influence by the extreme far left, currency, the EU, nato,defence,interest rates, pensions, mortgages, energy costs, Vat levels. All make me inclined to vote NO.

      • Jacobite

        Same reasons for voting yes! Deary me we must read different financial papers.

    • HJ777

      As a Jacobite, you advocate, of course, the ‘Divine right of Kings’ and a spot of civil war.

      • Jacobite

        Not really, name was given as a joke

    • lailahaillallah

      Please persuade as many of your friends as possible to vote “yes” too. I can’t lose you all soon enough.

      In fact, despite being English, I have been a SNP member for some years now, as I see the only way of getting an independent England is for Scotland to leave US.

      Good luck to you all

      • AtMyDeskToday

        I appreciate your concern. I hope luck holds so we can make you even happier.

  • Ellie Mack

    Alex we will make a Yes voter of you yet ;))

    • AtMyDeskToday

      I reckon he is playing safe in considering the aftermath of a yes vote and his place in it.

      • BillyShears67

        Don’t think he needs to play this one safe anymore. This is a lost cause for the pro independence camp. Their parochial, insular and naive views will be exposed badly by a comprehensive No victory on 18th of September with them winning by 8-12 points. You heard it here first.

        • AtMyDeskToday

          “You heard it here first.”

          Nope. The no’s have been boasting of that for weeks. Let’s wait and see.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            Let’s face it, even if the No vote gains a majority you will claim it as a victory for the Yes camp.

            • AtMyDeskToday

              Nope. Last time I looked it was called democracy and I for one will accept it with good grace. Having lived through a number of Labour governments I detested, in both Westminster and Edinburgh, I’ve learned that life is too short. Sorry to disappoint.

    • Augustus

      Especially, as he wrote the words “Salmon won” four times in the piece, he’s all but there.

    • Damon

      Alex, like the typical, sensible Unionist that he is, recognised that Mr Salmond is one of the best debaters in British politics. The fact that you have the better debater does not mean you have the better case. The Scottish electorate will be canny enough to discern the difference, I think.

      As a passionate (English) Unionist, I will consider myself to have been rendered effectively stateless in the event of a Yes vote. Fortunately, it won’t come to that.

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