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Scottish Referendum debate: Alistair Darling and Alex Salmond, Wednesday September 10th, 1.45-2.45pm

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MNHQ have commented on this thread.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 09-Sep-14 08:35:59

Hi all,

We're delighted to announce that Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling will both be joining us on Mumsnet this Wednesday at 1.45pm, to take part in a live debate in the lead-up to the Scottish Referendum on September 18th.

The decision with which Scottish voters are faced this month constitutes a significant moment in the history - and future - of Scotland and the UK. And with polls currently predicting a result that's too close to call, this final showdown between the two leaders could potentially prove decisive.

The debate will be conducted along typical Mumsnet webchat lines, but with each guest free to question and respond to the answers of the other. We know the referendum has been a topic of serious discussion on the site (we're currently on IndyRef thread number seven - and counting ...) so in order to ensure that the leaders answer your questions, we're restricting the ability to post to Mumsnetters who'd been members of the site for more than 24 hours before the launch of this thread. Otherwise, the usual guidelines apply.

Please join us on Wednesday at 1.45pm - and if you can't make it then, as ever, do post up any comments or questions in advance.

Roseformeplease Tue 09-Sep-14 09:58:37

What will happen to my mortgage and the value of my property in the event of independence? These vital issues affecting ordinary voters have not really been addressed. And I am not a wealthy person, but an ordinary school teacher in a Scottish state school who has had enough to worry about this year with the massive pressure of Curriculum for Excellence.

chocoluvva Tue 09-Sep-14 10:23:00

Mr Salmond. You state that you would like a fairer and more equal country. How will you hope to achieve a fairer and more equal UK if you are not part of it, given that the current UK government does not appear to be influenced by the models of a fair and more equal society present in other countries?

LadyCordeliaFlyte Tue 09-Sep-14 10:24:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

weatherall Tue 09-Sep-14 10:29:15

Mumsnet- why have you mentioned the party of Alex Salmond but not Alistair Darling? Can you please attempt to be neutral?

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 09-Sep-14 10:30:11

Mr Darling. It has been stated that in the event of a No vote many new powers are guaranteed to be devolved to Scots. As devo-max would have been the preferred option for most can you state:

Exactly what these new powers are.
Exactly how they can be guaranteed when there is no new legislation being passed through parliament regarding this, and even if there was, no guarantee it would be passed.

prettybird Tue 09-Sep-14 10:39:42

To Alistair Darling : Can you explain why we're "better together"? I haven't been able to find any concrete examples other than "we're bigger and can share the risk" - yet there are plenty of countries of similar (and smaller) population and GDP which are successful. My Danish relatives don't understand what the issue is (and indeed are quite insulted by the implication).

I understand the "feeling British" argument - and indeed, in 1979 I would have voted No for that reason (as it was, my vote counted as a No as I was on the register but too young to vote hmm) - but not the wording "Better Together".

I've always felt Scottish - but my sense of Britishness has diminished over the years - to the extent of being ashamed of some of the things that the UK state has associated us with.

So, why are we Better Together in simple terms?

birdofthenorth Tue 09-Sep-14 10:41:28

Mr Salmond, the Scots and UK economy have both been weakened just by the mere suggestion that a Yes victory is now more likely. How can you reassure us that a Yes vote wouldn't throw the economy into immediate total jeopardy?

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 09-Sep-14 10:41:40


Mumsnet- why have you mentioned the party of Alex Salmond but not Alistair Darling? Can you please attempt to be neutral?

Hi weatherall, the reason is that Alex Salmond is not officially head of the Yes campaign - and in other places where we've described him as such we've rightly been corrected by users. So head of the SNP seemed the most appropriate way to describe him but then again, not sure we need any titles as we know you all know who they are - so we'll just nip in and remove the descriptions altogether.

Polonium Tue 09-Sep-14 10:46:45

Q for AS
Are you going to accept a No vote graciously? Are you going to accept you were wrong, retire from politics and allow Scotland's fractured communities to heal themselves and live peacefully within the union?

PS I won't ask you about your currency plans for an independent Scotland as I realise you haven't thought about that properly yet..

Q for AD
Do you think it's fair that Scotland has more self determination, more rights AND enjoys the rights and responsibilities that come from being part of the union? Why can't Scotland just be part of the union on the same terms as the rest if us? It's wealthier than the North East and Cornwall and many other parts of the UK.

PS I'd like to congratulate you for running a civil and informative campaign. Please do keep giving lots of economic information?

oddcommentator Tue 09-Sep-14 10:51:06

Mr Salmond - I dont spose you want to answer this - but I know you were an economist for RBS and know that you understand the implications and requirements of an OCA. (optimum currency area). So my question is this.

In the event of a Yes vote - how will you a) convince London to get into a currency union with Scotland and bearing in mind that in order for it to work you will have cede significant financial powers to London b) what powers will you reserve for the Scottish Government?.

If you cant get a currency union - what will you do? How would you make sterlingisation work without a central bank and lender of last resort?

My next question is about specifics. You use the terms fairer and more equal - what specifically will you do to make the country fairer and more equal. Specifics please - I need policies and costs.

APlaceInTheWinter Tue 09-Sep-14 10:52:35

Firstly, can I thank you both for taking the time for this webchat and for arguing so passionately on behalf of Scotland over the campaign.

Mr Darling if Scotland does vote for independence then, presumably, the Labour party and the other Westminster parties, will hope to play a full role in an independent Scotland.

Since that is the case, have there been discussions about the Labour party's position (either unilaterally or in conjunction with the other Westminster parties) regarding a favoured currency in the event of a 'yes' vote?

It would be extremely disappointing if Labour (and the other Westminster parties) have been so focused on their own agenda that they have not even considered their position on currency if the Scottish people vote yes.

niceguy2 Tue 09-Sep-14 11:04:09

Mr Salmond. Do you not see the irony in declaring independence so Scotland can be masters of their own destiny but at the same time promising to use the currency of what will be a foreign country whom you will have no influence over anymore?

Also won't joining the EU mean handing over many powers to them? The very powers you've just declared independence for? For example isn't it true that all new member states must adopt the Euro eventually? That the EU will have the right to reject a Scottish budget? And what is your position on adopting the EU laws including the ones that the UK have already negotiated opt outs for?

LatinForTelly Tue 09-Sep-14 11:14:02

Question to AS: Following on from LadyCordelia's question about detailed plans for re-admittance to the EU, can you explain how an independent Scotland is going to compensate Scottish farmers for lost CAP payments (over £663 million in 2013) until Scotland regains EU membership?

What are you going to cut elsewhere to do this?

(Can I respectfully ask that you answer this specific question and not give a general speech about Scottish farmers' subsidies and UK government negotiations. Thanks.)

FannyFifer Tue 09-Sep-14 11:25:30

Mr Darling, rolling out Gordon Brown to offer "new" powers after thousands of people have voted is an affront to democracy.

How do you plan to implement any sort of powers when the Labour party is not in government & doubtful that it will be any time soon?

Extra powers for Scotland has no chance of getting passed with only a small number of Scottish MP's, a bit like when majority of Scots MPs voted against bedroom tax but were outvoted, to state new powers as fact it a lie, there are no guarantees.

Democracy is the whole point of the Independence referendum.

Mr Salmond keep up the good work, we are absolutely going to win next Thursday!

charimito Tue 09-Sep-14 11:35:47

This is for AS, what will happen to all foreign nationals in the case of a "yes" majority? All immigration documents are valid for the UK, so what happens when Scotland becomes independent? BTW I think if the Scottish people want to be independent it is their right to become an independent nation, hopefully we'll wake up to an independent Scotland the morning of the 19th.

noeggspleasewerebritish Tue 09-Sep-14 12:01:20

Question for AS - in the event of a Yes vote, what do you think will be the three biggest challenges facing Scotland? And how do you plan to respond to them?

GillianFortWilliam Tue 09-Sep-14 12:09:12

To both panellists:
How many years do you estimate it will take before an independent Scotland will have an equivalent GDP (or sense of returning prosperity if you will) as we have today? Please take into account that it has taken around 7 years from the last economic upheaval in 2007/8 to get to today's status quo. So how many years? 10? 15 to 20? More than 20? Please substantiate your answers.

Gullygirl Tue 09-Sep-14 12:12:16

Please explain why Scottish nationals not currently resident in Scotland do not have a vote, yet EU residents who live in Scotland do?
Over 600,000 Scots currently live in other parts of the UK.Where is their vote?Scotland is still my country, no matter where I currently live.

Avago Tue 09-Sep-14 12:15:07

AS I am a Scottish small business owner who relies like many others on internet sales. I post my merchandise out by Royal Mail - the items are "large letters" and "small letters", RM are the only provider of a letter service.

Despite that fact many of my items are made to appeal to Scottish buyers nearly 95% of my customers are English or Welsh. I understand the RM is to be nationalised again and that rates will be comparative with the rUK however if and when an Indie Scotland joins the EU surely England, Wales and Northern Ireland will become just other European countries, and my postage rates will TRIPLE in accordance with EU legislation. It will make P&P more expensive than the item itself and judging by how many European sales I have at the moment my business will close immediately.

Many small businesses and private individuals are going to be hit hard by this but I cannot see any mention of postage costs to and from Scotland any where. Can you clarify please?

ChelsyHandy Tue 09-Sep-14 12:40:19

Unfortunately, I will be at work during the webchat, and I cannot take time off. My question is as follows, is there anyone else who would be willing to ask it for me?

"I have a question about why a government proposing a more just and fairer society on independence cannot tackle rife fraud and corruption in its own capital city and has a record of dropping criminal charges relating to it as "not being in the public interest", and how could its citizens be reassured that things would improve in an independent Scotland, which would lack the protection of the ECHR and the EU's Four Freedoms, which protect individual property rights, freedom of (political) assembly and against discrimination?"

FairPhyllis Tue 09-Sep-14 12:43:29

For either panellist:

Do you believe that a very close (say 51:49 split) simple majority is truly sufficient mandate for such far reaching and permanent constitutional change? Is it in Scotland's best future interests to take nearly half its population into independence against their wishes?

As I'm sure you both know, almost everywhere else in the world you have to have a supermajority or a double majority for such a big constitutional change as this, to guarantee that the will of the people is truly, resolutely settled on change.

FromGirders Tue 09-Sep-14 12:48:44

Question for Mr Darling:
The "Better Together" campaign is rushing together promises of more powers for Scotland in the event of a No vote. However, English / rUK voters appear to be very unhappy about this - I have seen many newspaper headlines and MN threads calling for the Barnett formula to be scrapped, and Scottish public spending to be reduced in to rUK levels.
How will Westminster be able to deliver on these promises and mollify non-Scottish voters?

Question for Mr Salmond:
What, in your opinion, is the best thing Yes voters could do in the next week to boost the outcome?

I hope MN Towers has got in some Tunnocks caramel wafers for you :-)

TeamScotland Tue 09-Sep-14 12:51:18

All my questions have been covered above. I particularly agree with Fanny Fifer that wheeling out former unelected Prime Minister and current opposition back bencher Gordon Brown yesterday to offer more powers to Scotland following a no vote, was an affront to democracy.

I'll ask something more light hearted grin

First Minister, in the event of a yes vote, how will Scotland celebrate, do you think, for example will Independence Day, March 26th be declared a national holiday every year?

OOAOML Tue 09-Sep-14 13:02:00

Mr Salmond: why is it not privatisation when the Scottish NHS awards contracts to private companies?

Mr Darling: what is the reaction of UK politicians when Mr Salmond repeatedly announces that he knows what is best for them?

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