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Scottish Referendum debate: Alistair Darling and Alex Salmond, Wednesday September 10th, 1.45-2.45pm(854 Posts)
MNHQ have commented on this thread.
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.
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.
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?
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Mumsnet- why have you mentioned the party of Alex Salmond but not Alistair Darling? Can you please attempt to be neutral?
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.
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 ) - 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?
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.)
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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?"
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.
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 :-)
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
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?
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?
Thanks Mr Salmond and Mr Darling - Many Yes voters are not voting for SNP policies, but are voting for the chance for a more representative parliament with more Green MSPs and the emergence of other left leaning organisations like the Common Weal. How do you intend to involve these new voices in plans for constitutional change in the event of a Yes vote or more powers for Scotland in the event of a No vote?
Mr Darling - re. the advert with the tea-drinking woman who thought she'd better just vote the way her cereal-munching-husband, Paul, thought was best...
I presume that it was targeting the undecided, middle class wife and mothers, of whom, I am one. An irritated one now, as a type, we UMCWAMs don't respond favourably to being patronised.
Was the advert written by a man? One who'd possibly never met an undecided, middle class wife and mother?
To Mr Salmond. How do you intend to create more jobs, and which industries are these jobs going to be created in. Please do not just answer that you will lower rates of corporation tax as I do not understand how this will lead to the 'fairer society' you keep suggesting an independent Scotland will be. There was much consternation when it was discovered huge companies like Amazon did not pay their fair share of tax, why should companies setting up in an independent Scotland not pay their way, especially if their head office is perhaps outwith Scotland.
Mr Darling, can you tell me honestly what will happen to the status of Scots currently living in England?
Mr Salmond will tell us that they will be EU citizens (and I'm not too interested in speculation), but as this is yet uncertain and unproven- what will happen if they are not EU citizens?
Will my husband need to do visa runs even though he is working for a major British employer, or will he be given the chance to chose rUK residency, because he originally held a passport of Great Britain?
Why did expat Scots not get a vote, but 16 year olds do (with no mortgage, no kids at school, and most likely who have never worked, brought up a child, or paid tax?). I'm Scottish and have family and property there - where's my vote?
What passport will my son have? Being born in England to a Scottish mother, will be he entitled to free secondary education (not that it will still be being offered when he is 18).
Can the country sustain the free higher education, free prescriptions etc if independence happens?
Will we have an army/navy/airforce? What about the NHS?
We're anticipating lots of questions on this thread so please stick to the one question, one poster rule or there's a severe danger your post will be unanswered. If you'd like us to delete a post with multiple questions in and re post just one, do let us know.
I'd like to ask AD why, when the SNP actually got their majority in the Scottish Parliament, why did Westminster/anyone with an ounce of savvy about them, not actually begin to look at the reasons why SNP managed to achieve a majority against the odds and address these issues 3 years ago? Because leaving this until 9/10/11 days before the actual referendum, after postal votes have been cast, is a shocking state of affairs. An affront to democracy as others have said. The contempt Westminster, on all sides, has shown for the concerns of the Scottish electorate is exactly why we are facing the possibility of the union breaking up.
I'm utterly appalled by the woeful Better Together campaign, and the utter contempt shown for the genuine concerns people have about the current state of affairs for Scotland and the UK as a whole. The signs have been screaming at MPs for a long time - and none of you bothered to find out what was behind this, or what changes people want.
Devo Max being ruled out in its entirety at the outset of this referendum debate was the 2nd mistake, after not even bothering to find out why the SNP managed to get their majority. I'd have taken that option, no problem. Instead, I'm facing doom & gloom if I vote yes, & doom & gloom if I vote no because the current coalition has made sure I'm one of those squeezed in the interests of being 'all in this together' while MPs are now getting payrises. I've had no wage increase for 5 years, bills/childcare all going up while my income is has shrunk massively. Nothing I've heard from Better Together addresses the real, genuine concerns I've got, or how this will get better for me/my family.
Why are the English and Welsh not given a vote on this. It affects us too.
George Orwell famously said “ Nationalism is power-hunger tempered by self-delusion. If one harbours in one’s mind a nationalistic loyalty or hatred, certain facts, though known to be true, are inadmissible”.
Do you think, Mr Salmond, that this quotation might reasonably apply to you? For example, when Mr Darling pointed out how dangerously dependent your economic forecasts are on the contribution which North Sea Oil taxation revenues makes to GDP and he asked you what you would do in the event of a collapse in the price of oil, you dismissed his question as scaremongering. In short, Mr Salmond, has your headlong desire to take Scotland out of the UK family blinded you to the facts?
Would the Bank of England fund Scottish banks under proposals for a separate Scotland to continue using the pound without a currency union?
I am from Nottingham. I am not Scottish.
I'm worried that Scotland might not be part of my county anymore. I don't want them to leave.
Do the Scottish people realise that most British non-Scots do not want them to leave?
Justine quite a few of us have asked a question to each panelist. I realise not everything will be answered, but could you give some guidance to us (on both sides) re this?
I am Scottish! I will be a bloody foreigner here and in Scotland!
To Mr Salmond
One of your 'Yes' campaigners guaranteed to me that the Queen would be "the last crowned Windsor that Scotland sees"
Would this be the policy of the SNP in the event of a Yes vote and if you are returned as the party of government after that?
Mr Salmond, what plans would an independent Scotland have for honouring tax commitments made to companies for the decommissioning of oil installations, particularly given the number of North Sea fields rapidly approaching end-of-life and the recent sharp decline of oil revenues which has significantly contributed to Scotland's £12bn deficit in 2012-13?
Justine do you mean one question, or one question for each of them? I asked one of each of them but if it's only one then scrub the AS one.
Tinkerball, safer to pick one question to one leader or one that's relevant to both. (Though obviously we'll try to get through as many as humanly possible)
Mr Salmond what would be your mood in the event of a Yes vote of 51%?
To both: What arrangements are in place to help the 40% of Scottish voters who are going to be disappointed by the result of the Referendum? There are going to be a lot of angry people in Scotland on the 19th September, either way.
An NHS question
Will Scottish transplant patients following a Yes Vote be able to access the European and former UK pool of organs, or do they face a greatly reduced chance of a match within a limited Scottish pool?
I would like to know why I am not allowed a vote (English)as it is becoming increasingly obvious that a Yes vote will have massive implications for the rest of the UK.
Also, why are the Scottish Yes vote campaigners becoming so rude about the English? We have not oppressed them or denied them freedom and I am tired of their unpleasant jibes about us, which are not being reciprocated.
Do you think it is right that my children's grandparents living in Scotland (one English born and one Scottish born) will live in a foreign country to their grandchildren who were born in England but live in Wales?
The cost of pensions is lower in Scotland is lower than the uk on the whole because life expectancy is lower (information provided by a Yes campaigner at a public meeting), is it intended that this will continue in an independent Scotland?
Mr Darling, why did Gordon Brown offer a timetable for new, as yet unspecified, powers for the Scottish Parliament only yesterday? Why was the Labour Party not out campaigning for new powers prior to yesterday, indeed why not legislate for them when the Labour Party was in government?
I would like to know if you will take a stronger stance regarding the racism and intimidation coming from a sizeable number of YES supporters.
I know bad behaviour has happened on both sides, but I feel it is much more on the YES side.
I have had English friends told to go back home, cars have been vandalised for having 'no' stickers on them, NO posters have been torn down and the language used on social media should anyone dare to declare themselves as 'no' is really shocking.
I feel your response has been rather dismissive and this greatly concerns me.
Many people have told me their intention to vote 'no' simply because of this behaviour.
I would appreciate your thoughts.
am I allowed to ask another question?
Mr Salmond, what will happen to jobs at Faslane? Will people lose them and have to reapply under the new Scottish Defence Force? The wider community will suffer if jobs go.
Gobling and Frankie
I've lived in England for over 20 years and have born the brunt of much anti scotish 'humour' and was told to 'go home' just a couple of weeks ago. It cuts all ways...
I can't believe I misspelled Scottish. Oh the shame.
Goblin I guess you havent read the Daily Mail threads and the deluge of anti-Scottish venom and bitterness then eh!
My one question is to Alistair Darling then:
Why do you think Westminster did not offer Devo Max at an earlier opportunity or as a choice on the ballot paper? I believe it would not have got as far as independence if so. And why are more powers not being offered?
My other post with 2 questions in it can be deleted!
Markets are already seeing the jitters (with the £ falling and share prices starting to drop) - so I think it's obvious that Scotland will have very tumultuous and difficult period to start with. At best, there will be a period of no growth, but it looks fairly certain that a recession is likely.
My question to Salmond, and indeed Darling, is what they believe the chances are - in percentage terms - of Scotland going into recession if they become independent? If it did go into recession, what is the contingency plans be?
For Mr Salmond, can you tell us what will happen for families in the event of a yes vote? I am a disabled mum and my husband is my carer, will be better off under our own government? Also will disabled people have to change to pip? Am very worried about having to go through all those undignified tests. Can i ask a question from my 10 year old daughter Emily? She would like to ask for better school lunches as they are always running out! Can schools get a better budget for dinners? Many thanks for your time, go independance!!!.
Question on childcare to Mr Salmond, please.
I am concerned about your eventual plans to roll out what will effectively be full time childcare to all babies/children from 1 year until school. While I understand your motivations to encourage women back to work (and that many families do not have the financial choice of a "stay at home" parent), it seems like a huge amount of time for such a small child to be away from a primary care giver (mum or dad, or even a grandparent).
Please can you explain what research you conducted/advice you sought into the effects such childcare arrangements could have on the development of very young babies/children, and what the findings were.
I would hate to think that Scotland was trading off the early development of it's young for the sake of it's economy.
My question to Mr Salmond is this:
How do you feel about the fact that your
dream of becoming head of state "folly" has so comprehensively split the nation? Union vs Scotland, Yes vs No.
This is a sad moment in our history, whatever the outcome.
(For those of you south of the border who have said you want us to stay, I thank you. I WANT to stay. I will probably seek asylum in Northumberland )
AS: there is speculation that ISIS have deliberately kidnapped a Scot to help precipitate a Yes vote as a destabilised Uk/Scotland will be seen as an easier target for terrorists. I agree that the whole UK will be destabilised for a considerable time if there is a yes vote, and think this has some significant implications for national security with scotland particularly compromised given it will have no security service or defence forces. How will you ensure that scotland is at no greater risk than that to which it was exposed as part of the UK?
Mr Salmond -
Would you be in favour of raising the tax on alcohol in an independent Scotland?
To both AS and AD -
Whatever the result of the vote is, a great many Scots are going to be bitterly disappointed and probably angry.
There has been venom and bile from both sides directed at the other, and even on MN some pretty vitriolic views expressed.
How do each of you propose healing the rift that this referendum has created?
Question for Mr Salmond
Please tell me how Scotland's universities will be funded after independence.
For example, we will lose the opportunity to bid for Research Council funding, Wellcome Trust, Leverhulme funding, as well as presumably EU funding. How will the Scottish government sustain Scottish universities, some of which are among the best in the world?
You currently lead a divided nation. If the polls are correct, whatever the result approximately 50% of the population will be disappointed, disengaged and bloody furious. How will you reunite this fragmented country and repair the damage which has been done? How will you, as a leader of a politically instable nation with half of the population against the referendum result and a general election to come, persuade inward investors that Scotland is a good place to put their money and business?
Paul Krugman, Nobel winner and expert in currency and economic crises, wrote in the NYTimes that Scots should be very afraid of going it alone, saying political independence with a shared currency, is a recipe for disaster. He finds it 'mind-boggling' that Scotland is considering this.
Mr Krugman has absolutely no agenda. The members of the Fiscal Commission, who recommended a currency union, were handpicked by Mr Salmond and the chair is an SNP donor, which is not widely known.
My question to Mr Salmond - is Mr Krugman scaremongering?
MNHQ, do Mr Salmond and Mr Darling get to choose themselves which questions they will answer? Surely not.
Mr Darling. What do you think would stop Scotland (after perhaps a period of difficulty following a Yes vote) becoming a successful small country like Denmark or Norway?
Question for AS:
how on earth do you square the rhetoric of the Yes campaign that you want to build a better, fairer, more equitable society for the people of Scotland and their children knowing full well that if Scotland leaves the Union it would take with it a very significant chunk of left wing voters and thus support for the welfare state?
I used to live in Glasgow but now live in south Wales. We need Scotland to bring balance to UK politics and I dread to think what will happen to areas such as the one I now live in if Scotland becomes independent.
Personally I find it hard to believe in the claims that you want a fairer society when it is accompanied by a massive two fingered salute to the rest of the UK, including those parts that will undoubtedly suffer as a result of Scotland's independence.
I live in the islands, where the work situation is getting worse, not better. Which of you should I vote for to improve my chances of getting a better job?
Thank you for coming onto Mumsnet.
AS: why don't you seem to believe rUK and EU politicians when they tell you their positions on iScotland and the pound/the euro?
Question for AD
Contrary to what the No campaign seems to think, for voters in Scotland this is actually an issue of representation not nationalism.
I have my own very clear thoughts on the poor representation and accountability of governance at Westminster in relation to Scottish voters but I would like to know why the West Lothian question (where non-English MPs get wheeled out in Westminster to vote on devolved issues that only affect England and for which they have absolutely no mandate [and for which SNP MPs impose a self-denying ordinance and do not vote]) is definitely not being tackled as part of the constitutional upheaval that the proposed package of increased devolved powers is going to cause.
In the event of a No vote, isn't leaving this anomaly going to cause additional tensions within the Union, coming on top of the pressures of negotiating these new powers for Scotland at a worryingly fast speed and dealing with the inevitable demands from Wales and Northern Ireland for something similar?
I have another question, in the unlikely event there is time. I prefer my first question, but like it, it is to both parties:
"Changing a company's constitution requires a special majority of 75% in favour. Why should changing a country and removing its citizens' rights require only a 50% majority and won't that destabilise democracy in any emergent state?"
Dear Mr Salmond,
I have been wracking my brains trying to think of one question that I would like you to answer. I have so many that I can't choose the most important, so I am going to take a different tactic altogether.
My DH and I are so proud to be Scottish. We have travelled all over the world together and we always tell people that we are Scottish. And we always get a genuinely warm response. People have sang 'Donald where's your trousers' in Scandinavian accents, we've heard an American say 'shite,' an Australian has recited Rabbie Burns. I could go on. When my husband travels through work, he brings shortbread and whisky wrapped in tartan paper. He tells me that his hosts have always been delighted.
Believe you me, we are so proud to be Scottish.
Your party's policies will force us to move to England. London, precisely, that 'dark star' you seem to blame for every ill found in Scotland. And it's nothing to do with bullying or threats. It's EU law, end of.
Our daughter is eighteen months old. We are expecting twins in December. We want them to be born and brought up in Scotland. We want them to be proud of their heritage.
You and your party are breaking our hearts. You are driving us out of the country that we are so proud to belong to.
Have you got anything to say to me, Mr Salmond?
How do you feel about being a prime mover in producing the biggest constitutional crisis in the UK for over 300 years?
To Mr Salmond
If the no campaign wins the vote there will be more powers devolved to the Scottish Parliament, which are intended to address some of the concerns of the yes voters.
If the yes campaign wins the vote, what concessions will you make to no voters, who are likely to be nearly half the Scottish population, and after independence will be living in a country they did not choose and will be disenfranchised as they will not, I assume, be able to vote in Westminster elections, even if they retain their British citizenship?
For Alex Salmond.
You're keen to fight child poverty, and introduce free childcare.
Why then did you introduce free prescriptions to all instead of putting the money back into both of these things? Many of us are fortunate enough to be able to afford to pay for prescriptions. Same goes for pensioners and bus passes. Small drop in the ocean to some, but it appears that you're already willing and happy to waste money on things that the Westminster government are despite protesting how different the SNP are.
Given you have just handed the responsibility for tackling obesity in Glasgow to Weight Watchers; that, in fact, 5% of the Scottish NHS budget goes to sub contractors, which is higher than the equivalent for the North East of England (the area to which you drew so much media attention about 'creeping privatisation'); and that this figure has doubled under the SNP...
...please explain how you can claim that the NHS in Scotland really is safe in your hands.
It has been stated that if Scotland does become independent then on 13th March 2016, everyone living in Scotland will become a Scottish national.
I am English, living in Scotland. I will always be English - you cannot take my nationality away from me. How do you propose to "make" me a Scottish national?
I have some concerns that freezing council tax has contributed to a removal of accountability, decision making and control from local councils in Scotland. Will the outcome of the referendum make any significant changes to how local councils are funded or to the powers that they have?
To AS - I've been living in the US for 10 years and would love to return home to Scotland with my American husband and children. However, I've been unable to do so both because of the new immigration policy which would require me to have around 70k in cash, and due to the difficulty of finding good employment opportunities. What would an independent Scotland do to welcome non-EU immigrants (and citizens who happen to have non EU spouses) and how do you plan to create more jobs?
Alistair Darling: What do we have already that we wouldn't have in an independent Scotland? Not just idle threats like xyz is 'at risk' which is just scaremongering. What actual thing can it be categorically stated would go if Scotland votes Yes?
My sister received a BT leaflet the other day suggesting there would be fewer law jobs (??) and that Glastonbury would no longer be accessible to Scots. Adding this to the "we cant use the pound" and Tesco supermarket prices fiascos it's difficult to believe anything Better Together tell us. So, can you provide us with an answer to what we would actually, definitely lose if we vote Yes?
A lot of well respected publications and commentators have the opinion that post an independence vote, assuming a yes, the economic situation in Scotland may get worse in the short to medium term for lots of the population which could in turn have a knock on effect for the poorest in society. Do you agree with this statement? If not what figures can you use to prove that the economy will stay strong. And also, do you think this has been accurately represented by the yes campaign or do you think many yes voters will be expecting immediate results?
Education - how would Scotland continue to offer free University Education following a Yes vote when it would no longer be able to discriminate against students from England, Wales and N Ireland ?
Mr Salmond in the second debate you talked about a Tory-led plan to privatise the NHS in Scotland which has apparently chimed with voters and boost the Yes campaign's popularity.
But the NHS is wholly devolved in Scotland and the Tories have no influence in the Scottish Government. Can you explain?
Why do Scotland want to swap the United Kingdom for full integration with the EU?
The issue is Scotland will have to take on the Euro (a requirement for all new EU joiners) and Schengen amongst a great number of other things. The UK negotiated their position before these mandatory requirements were in place and so managed to avoid them. It means more rule from Brussels and a passport control on the England border.
What will the Scottish population be able to do if it turns out the things promised by the yes campaign can't be delivered ie keeping the pound, EU membership etc ?
Edinburgh is the UK's biggest financial centre outside of London. Many families rely on this industry for 2 incomes. The City also has a very expensive housing stock.
In the event of a Yes vote it is likely that many or most financial companies would move the bulk if their operations to the country where the majority of their customers are ie England.
What do you think the impact on Edinburgh would be and how would you minimise the damage to the city and its residents.
Sorry to ask a question about only one city in Scotland. I look forward to reading the debate this evening. Thanks for taking the time to do this
What on earth has happened to Labour, and, in particular, Scottish Labour, that you can so comfortably stand cheek-by-jowl with right-wing politicians on this campaign? And similarly, how do you feel about having shared values with the 10,000 sectarian bigots who will sully the streets of Edinburgh next weekend?
Just a reminder folks - we're anticipating lots of questions on this thread so please stick to the one-question-per-poster rule, or there's a severe danger your post will be unanswered. If you'd like us to delete a post with multiple questions in and re post just one, do let us know.
Re. posters who've asked two questions, one to each leader - you might have a better chance of an answer if you can come up with a more general question that can apply to both.
Question for you both-did you watch "Kevin Bridges-Live at the Referendum"
and what did you think?
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us today.
What lessons will you learn, from when the Republic of Ireland became independent?
Mr Salmond, assuming that, in the highly likely event, an independent Scotland in the EU will not be able to keep the same opt outs that the UK has negotiated, how would you feel about an independent Scotland having to contribute hundreds of millions of pounds to the rebate that the rest of the UK receives from the EU ?
Mr Darling, if Scotland suffer from a massive economic depression in the event of a yes vote (as warned by three very large international investment banks), will the british public be bailing out Scotland for the next 10 years? Or are we going to throw out hands up and say "its what you wanted" . If we are going to be taxed more to bail them out, should we not also get a vote?
Could the questions be answered without resorting to the attempts at obfuscation by resorting to the words 'bluff, bluster, bullying or scaremongering'. Thank you.
Question for AS:
Please an you explain the hypocrisy of wanting to be part of NATO but of not wanting any involvement in Trident.
Question for AD: in the event of a NO vote and increased powers for Scotland, have you considered the effect on the rest of the union and specifically the potential increase in English Nationalism?
Mumsnet - I hope you are going to ask a balanced number of questions from both sides of argument.
To AS - mr Salmond we have heard ad infinitum what you want to do but at meetings with your colleagues, when you are asked by journalists, we never ever get a straight answer on HOW you are going to deliver things - the brush off is always "wait & see... We"ll work it out in negotiations". Eg. As currency union is impossible, HOW is this going to affect my mortgage which is with an international bank - how am I going to be paying it - is my money going to be affected by foreign exchange? And please don't answer this with "everything is going to be fine". I need facts.
Mr Darling - keep calm, don't let AS talk over you and if he tries to, tell him to be quiet and let you talk. After all you let him talk without interruption.
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