Scottish independence debates: Darling and Salmond scrap over pound


In a fiery first debate over the future of Scotland, former Labour chancellor Alastair Darling and Scottish First Minister Alexander Salmond fought a vicious battle to win the public round to their arguments.

Darling, representing the “no” campaign is largely credited with “winning” the televised argument against Salmond.

The key moments of the debate centred on the future of Scottish currency should the country become independent. Alex Salmond provided no clear cut answers, though maintained that he would like to see a continuation of Scotland using the pound.

Meanwhile, Darling had a difficult time staving off questions over whether he felt that an independent Scotland could be a success.

In the heated exchanges, Salmond quoted from an interview Darling had done previously in which Darling appeared to support a currency union with the UK after independence.

Darling hit back saying he thought a currency union was “stupidity on stilts… it only works if you have an economic union and a political union.”

Salmond insisted that “No one will do a better job of running Scotland than the people who live and work in this country,” later adding that Scotland had had to endure years of governments that its people had not elected and with laws they were unable to reject such as the poll tax and bedroom tax.

But Darling said: “I don’t want to see our children’s future gambled away.”

Pressing his advantage on the currency question, Darling said: “Any eight-year-old can tell you the flag of a country, the capital of a country and its currency. I presume the flag is the saltire, I assume our capital will still be Edinburgh, but you can’t tell us what currency we will have. What is an eight-year-old going to make of that?”

The three main British parties have all ruled out a currency pact with Scotland if the country votes for independence next month.

An instant poll on who the “winner” of the debate was, carried out by ICM for the Guardian gave Darling the win, with 56% to 44%.

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