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Coffee House

Time is running out for Alex Salmond and the Nationalists

3 August 2014

10:38 AM

3 August 2014

10:38 AM

Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP deputy leader, is busy claiming that post the Glasgow games the momentum will be with the Yes side in the referendum. But this claim is contradicted by the Survation poll in today’s Mail on Sunday which shows support for Yes marginally down on last month.

The Yes campaign’s last best chance to gain the ‘big mo’ that it needs comes in Tuesday night’s debate between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling. Alex has written about why he doesn’t think this debate will be a game changer, but with a million Scots expected to tune in, Salmond isn’t going to have a better opportunity to try and turn things round.

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But the dilemma for Salmond is how to approach this debate. As I say in the Mail on Sunday, Salmond is the best debater in the Scottish parliament. But the tactics he uses there will come across badly on TV. As one of his opponents puts it, ‘If shouty Salmond turns up, he’ll turn off women.’

For Darling, it is very different. He just needs to get through the two hour debate. But knowing that you just need not to make a mistake creates its own pressure. But if Darling can stop Salmond from landing any blows, then the Union will look more secure than it has at any point since the referendum was called.

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