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

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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.

Spiritedwolf Wed 10-Sep-14 15:47:46

'The Scottish voice' is a myth tabulahrasa. Scots have many different opinions. Scots Labour MPs for example work with Labour MPs from throughout England and Wales.

People might sneer at Gordon Brown taking part in the campaign as they don't like him (I do though smile ) but isn't he evidence that Scottish voices are heard in the UK? He was chancellor for years and years and Prime Minister too and he is a Scotsman representing a Scottish constituency.

The SNP/Scottish Gov/Yes campaign version of independence - lets call it Indylite, or IndependenceMini, involves many decisions (about currency - and therefore economic policy, Bank of England, energy policy, common travel area - if we have no passport controls on the border) still taking place at UK level. What will be different is that we will lose our vote at Westminster -our democratic say in those decisions. Instead they will be made by the rUK government, perhaps being lobbied by a Scottish diplomat or official or two.

That isn't independence or more democracy. It's less democracy than we have now. I am not giving up my vote without a fight. I want Scottish MPs representing Scottish constituencies able to fully partake in government, punching above their weight as they do now.

I hear a lot from Yes about how Scotland is under-represented in the current coalition government. Does that mean that when there was a Labour majority, with a Scottish PM and Chancellor that we were over-represented? hmm

Geography isn't the biggest determiner of political ideas (unless you are a nationalist of course) people in Scotland don't all vote the same way.

As my post with my question pointed out - saying that an independent Scotland will always have the government it votes for is meaningless nonsense. At this very moment Scotland appears to be divided 50:50ish on the subject of independence - in effect after the referendum half of the Scottish population won't be in the country it wants to be let alone have the government it wants.

As Alex Salmond's last comment illuminated, it comes down to whether you think your country is Scotland, alone. They want you to choose - I've grown up very happily having both as 'my country' Scotland, UK just as Americans are proud of their home state as well as the USA.

OOAOML Wed 10-Sep-14 15:48:03

Raven just a couple more points because I genuinely have to go.

Lots of financial companies buy buildings. They are property investments. SLI was recently in the paper for buying a big building in London as a property investment. They already have quite a lot of property in London, and Ignis has property there as well. I imagine all the big FS companies have property investments in various UK locations that can be contingency space should it be needed, and an investment if it is not. That is what they do, they hedge their bets. They will be prepared for both outcomes. And jobs will move if it is a yes vote.

SantanaLopez Wed 10-Sep-14 15:49:12

The chances of a Tory Government in an independent Scotland are virtually nil. We all know that.

In the 2010 general election 491,386 votes were cast for the SNP and 412,855 for the Tories. That's not a massive difference.

hebeperennial Wed 10-Sep-14 15:50:38

Anyone thinking of voting Yes please read up on currency union and sterlingisation as Alex Salmond is not giving voters the truth. Both currency union and sterlingisation mean the Bank of England will control Scotland's finances so this is not independence.

Even in this debate Alex Salmond says Scotland is being told it cannot use the pound when in the very same post Alistair Darling says that of course Scotland can! Scotland can use the pound but only under the control of the Bank of England.

Yes voters please think very carefully about what you are voting for. Independence in a currency union or with sterlingisation gives Scotland less control over its fiscal affairs as the Bank of England will control interest rates and will scrutinise Scotland's spending but voters will have no say at Westminster. Mr Salmond admitted this earlier on this thread:

'Finally, in an independent Scotland mortgage rates will continue to be based on the interest rate set by the Bank of England, which in a Sterling Area will be exactly the same for Scotland as for the rest of the UK, just as it is now.'

Of course even this is not entirely true as the Bank of England will set an interest rate that will suit England, not necessarily Scotland.

I apologise for going on about this but, contrary to what the Yes campaign would have people believe, currency is fundamental to the future of an independent Scotland - none of the other promises on social justice, jobs etc can happen if the economy and currency are not strong and stable.

OOAOML Wed 10-Sep-14 15:50:48


just a quick point - I wouldn't be so sure. The vote may have tailed off between 2010 and 2011, but there are still plenty Scottish Tories. Attitudes are hardening with the current debate, and engagement is growing - not just amongst those on the left. If turnout remains high after the referendum, I think there's a pretty good chance. Maybe not for the first 10 or 15 years, but not out of the question.

femin Wed 10-Sep-14 15:52:48

I didn't know that Santana, but as Scotland only has one Tory MP, then presumably the Tory votes must have been very spread out.

Scotland's number of Tory MPs has been reducing at general elections for decades. So while there might be a few Tory Scottish MPs, there is never going to be a Tory government in an independent Scotland. There may not be a SNP one either after the first general election.

femin Wed 10-Sep-14 15:54:18

hebeperennial - I thought the Bank of England was independent? So actually no MPs have a say over interest rates. This wouldn't change.

hebeperennial Wed 10-Sep-14 15:54:20

Thanks to Mumsnet for hosting this great debate. The level of debate here has been so much higher than what I've seen on Twitter! I hope there have been some bits of information and answers to questions (not only from the politicians) that have infomred people on both sides of the debate.

RavenAlexanda Wed 10-Sep-14 15:55:47

femin Hi

I understand that, i was merely giving the statement to those who hadn't seen it in regard to Mr Darlings comment!

As for Mr Salmond promoting the vote as a vote for the SNP, i have to disagree on that point. At every aspect he has nullified that opinion and made it absolutely and abundantly clear that the vote is for a Yes/No for independence!

I have listened and read to both sides of the debate for well over the past year. I, like many others don't rely on what the politicians are telling us per se, i don't watch TV and i don't read the newspapers. I search the information out and i quantify it with many other reports of the same nature, boiling that information down to those points that are repeated elsewhere, the rest is fodder for the coo's. On that basis, for me personally, it is a firm and resolute YES!

I wish everyone luck in the coming days and i hope it all remains peaceful. Whatever the outcome, Scotland is at the heart of all of our opinions, differing as they may be, but that does not mean our individual opinions are wrong, just seen from a personal perspective so we each relate to differing points.

Alba gu Brath!

hebeperennial Wed 10-Sep-14 15:56:44


But currently the BoE sets rates based on the UK so presumably Westminster policies and the state of the UK economy (affected by Westminster policies) are taken into account.

tabulahrasa Wed 10-Sep-14 15:57:50

Of course the Scottish voice as one is a myth...but then you know, nations are imaginary states anyway.

But, Scottish MPs do not punch above their weight when it comes to decisions that will affect Scotland and where the majority of voters are then becomes about serving the best interests of most voters.

For what it's worth, I'd happily devolve other parts of the UK as well, it's not about Scotland having one voice, but that centralised government doesn't serve all parts of a country equally.

OneNight Wed 10-Sep-14 16:00:32

I suspect that, as ever, this has been more revealing for the questions that the participants didn't answer than for those that they did. Unfortunately, I don't have the time this afternoon to analyse the thread for that.

Noseypoke Wed 10-Sep-14 16:13:32

RavenAlexanda, Ignis asset management used to part of Britannia and Pearl group both of which moved hundreds of Glasgow Financial services jobs down south. A lot of these were highly paid, highly qualified finance professional jobs. Companies have absolutely no qualms about moving jobs wherever they feel fit.

venusandmars Wed 10-Sep-14 16:20:26

Raven - thank you for posting that. I was very disappointed to see Mr Darling, misquote or misrepresent the Standard Life issue.

Yes, of course, SLI are planning for whatever change might happen, and yes, there may be movement of some jobs, however Mr Darling said "I'm sorry to say I can give you one loss announced just today. Standard Life, the Edinburgh pensions company, have said that if there is a Yes vote they are making plans right now to move business down south." That was clearly intended to imply something which has not in fact been stated publicly.

OneNight Wed 10-Sep-14 16:49:08

For those who haven't seen it, here is today's SL announcement which is being referenced.

WildThong Wed 10-Sep-14 16:54:32

raven sorry, what? I don't speak Klingon wink

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 10-Sep-14 16:57:00


Where are the answers?

Hi Jenny

They're scattered throughout the thread - Alex Salmond in yellow/orange background, Alistair Darling in light green. If you scroll through you should be able to see them. You might find it easier (unless you're on a patchy connection!) to view the whole thread on one page - you can do this via 'customise'.

rino Wed 10-Sep-14 17:05:48

I'd love to know where you live because it's not like that here!

headlesslambrini Wed 10-Sep-14 17:08:37

My husband was born in Scotland but lives in England, if Scotland is independent, what passport will he have?

dalziel1 Wed 10-Sep-14 17:11:24

Surely the SL was intended fro their customers who would be sophisticated enough to understand it. It may not be in a 10 word sound bite, but its still crystal clear what they mean.

StatisticallyChallenged Wed 10-Sep-14 17:13:33

Venus, having been on both ends of Standard Life announcements and how they tend to couch them, I'd say that pretty much is what they're saying tbh. They have a very soft cautious language as a rule - for them to say as much as they have this close means they are pretty serious IMO. It certainly echos the internal rumbles.

niceguy2 Wed 10-Sep-14 17:29:03

Anyone still interested may want to read this article from Huffington

elastamum Wed 10-Sep-14 17:34:36

SC I would agree. The SL announcment is as definitive as they could be given they don't know the result of the vote.

To translate it says 'Dear investors, please stay with us, in the event of a yes vote we have a contingency plan that will relocate our business (and your investments) into the RUK and away from any uncertainty.'

Roseformeplease Wed 10-Sep-14 18:35:35

Interesting that early on in this thread we were told by Justine that the meeting with Salmond was in an Edinburgh tea room surrounded by babies. Yet, on the telegraph website it is reported as being in a cocktail bar.

Which was it? Gin or biscuits?

APlaceInTheWinter Wed 10-Sep-14 18:40:14

elastamum if there is a yes vote then there will be uncertainty about the rUK's economy as much as Scotland's so it's not as clear cut as the financial institutions will move to England. The pound will be impacted whether the vote is 'yes' or 'no'. And there will be uncertainty about the rUK's asset base if Scotland becomes independent too.

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