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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.

frankie80 Wed 10-Sep-14 10:02:51

Okay I've got a question for both of them now:

What will be the nationality of ex pat Scots, and also their children who may currently have dual citizenship?

Clarinshobbs Wed 10-Sep-14 10:05:23

And one more question Mr Salmond - I have just seen another NO sign vandalised - when are you going to call off your Rent a Mob Mr Salmond and accept that we live in a Democracy? And if you do happen to secure a Yes vote, are you going to allow free speech? After all if the polls are anything to go by, you won't have the support of half the country? My heart bleeds for my country as you seem to have managed to drag it down in this last year of campaigning. You should be ashamed.

JennyPiccolo Wed 10-Sep-14 10:07:16

That's ridiculous, there was a yes shop in Edinburgh covered in swastikas this morning, people hardly expect Alistair Darling to accept responsibility.

CKDexterHaven Wed 10-Sep-14 10:14:25

Does the visit of Cameron, Clegg and Miliband to Scotland demonstrate a huge lack of self-awareness on Westminster's part?

Crumblemum Wed 10-Sep-14 10:18:49

According to independent Institute of Fiscal studies, Scotland is likely to face bigger cuts after independence if it's to balance the books. Mr Salmond, you've been running on "save public services" ticket that implies higher public spending. But you're not going to be able to raise public spending are you?

Spiritedwolf Wed 10-Sep-14 10:20:40

According to polls, the result looks close to 50:50. I'd like to ask both of you if this huge division in Scottish public opinion demonstrates without a doubt that the idea of "Scotland always getting the government it votes for under independence" is meaningless nonsense?

Almost half of Scotland won't even be living in the country it wants to after the referendum. 'Scotland' is not a homogeneous group with a single opinion. Unless Alex is proposing Scotland should become a one-party state, an independent Scotland, individual areas of Scotland and individuals will have governments they don't vote for - just as democracy works everywhere else.

Politics is generally about ideas, not geography. The ordinary worker in Glasgow has more in common with the ordinary worker in Liverpool or Cardiff than bankers in Edinburgh or highly paid oil industry managers in Aberdeen. Why not work with others who share our values across the UK to see the changes we need?

(There's so much else I'd like to say, mainly about how I'm disappointed that the proposals for indScotland are more about winning the vote out of those who are reluctant to vote yes, rather than making sure that if the vote does go 'yes' that we end up with the best proposals for the new country (on everything from the oft discussed currency, to the neglected issue of an elected second chamber at Holyrood) but one poster, one question...).

JimMurphysHump Wed 10-Sep-14 10:43:59

I'm not sure what bad tempered, discriminatory, divisive campaigns anyone else is involved in, but it's not what I'm seeing when I am out volunteering for Yes. Everyone bar a few token butters has been polite and well mannered, even when they're disagreeing with me. In the hundreds of people I've spoken to in person, not one has said they think the referendum is divisive. That's a comment I've only seen on socia media.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 10-Sep-14 10:58:32

Hi Clarinshobbs - we can only allow one question per poster, as previously stated.

Victrix Wed 10-Sep-14 11:02:49

Mr Darling - who approved "The Woman Who Made Up Her Mind"? Were they draped in a Saltire and giggling at the time?

jcscot Wed 10-Sep-14 11:08:40

My question is for Alec Salmond. I'm a Scot married to an Englishman who currently serves in the Army. I live in Scotland with our children (we have three aged 8 and under and another on the way) while my husband commutes every other weekend from his current posting in Wiltshire.

In the event of a Yes vote (which I fervently hope is the outcome) we will inevitably have to move to England unless my husband can choose to transfer to the Scottish forces. Will he be eligible to do so, given that he is not Scottish and that he does not serve in a Scottish unit? He is in a specialist unit and feels that should Scotland vote yes, our family's future would be better served in Scotland but that would be impossible if he could not transfer.

weatherall Wed 10-Sep-14 11:08:55

Mr Darling- How can you guarantee more powers for Scotland when the unelected House of Lords can remove powers from the Scottish Parliament just as they did with amendment 54 of the Energy Bill last year, which allowed fracking in Scotland without the consent of the Scottish people?

Weemacgreegor Wed 10-Sep-14 11:10:05

I find it astounding that some posters are saying its Alex Salmond who has divided the country. What about the years of rule by Westminster. That's why SNP are so strong in Scotland because the Scots are sick of it. The poll tax, the bedroom tax, the lies over WMD, it goes on and on. The No campaign has been run on telling us we're too wee, too poor, too stupid. The rest of the UK has been told we cost more than we provide. England fans are on camera telling us to F off and vote Yes because of the lies you've all been told. It's not about not liking the English. I love my English, Welsh and Northern Irish friends. It's about Westminster and how it doesn't work for the Scottish people.

Anyway, I do have a question for our First Minister.

Thanks for all your hardwork for our country. My question is - My children were born outside the UK. They have British passports as do both myself and my DH. We are both Scottish born. Are my children entitled to Scottish passports?

Clarinshobbs Wed 10-Sep-14 11:30:16

Thats fine but please make sure you are asking a balanced number of questions from both camps.

PeaceLovingMum Wed 10-Sep-14 11:34:43

Mr Salmond: Instead of hurling shouts of "bribery" at the No camp, what else have you got to offer us? Our votes are here to be won. Lots of questions unanswered - can we get manifestos from each of the Yes parties on what they would do in an independent Scotland?

Also, I read that in a cabinet paper from 2013, your own Finance Secretary John Swinney revealed fears at the heart of the Government about the state of the country's finances and the impact on public spending: - without being patronising, dismissive or aggressive, can you reassure us now that these fears won't come to fruition and if you feel you can, what changed following Mr Swinney's report?

Mr Darling: After months of telling us we couldn't get more information on DevoMax, what else do you think the UK Government is holding back that we could be offered within the next week? Anything that can help in any small way to greater social justice across the UK (and beyond if it has that power of influence)?

I think we now all know the fears and risks associated with independence (and if you don't there are many sources) - instead of fears and risks, I'd like to see the messages of hope that staying in the Union can offer (without being defensive, pointy or shouty towards existing SNP lines...and without Mr Salmond butting in here). The current polls show that those who have defected to a yes are not doing so because of the risks, but because of simply being fed up with Westminster Neo Liberalism - what positive things can you say to them to convince them that the Union is the right way?

As someone who has been on the fence for so long, I'd like to see those politicians like yourselves, really show that you mean it when you believe in social justice for all. Show us that whatever we vote that we will not be repeating a Parcel of Rogues in a nation or united kingdom! We need to see someone from both camps spend the time to answer each and every legitimate question in detail - political posturing doesn't wash. I have learned so much more from friends and family on FB.

pinksquidgy Wed 10-Sep-14 11:37:55

Mr Salmond: if you win this referendum by 51-49%, will you accept that the legitimacy of Scotland's independence will rest on very shaky foundations?

PeaceLovingMum Wed 10-Sep-14 11:49:21

Oh and how do we deal with the separation anxiety of around 2.5 million people if we get independence? It's hard enough with one wee tot right now ;) But seriously, either way - there is going to need to be some significant diplomatic work to appease Scottish voters - would be great to hear both Mr Salmond and Mr Darling talk about how they think this can be achieved if the vote goes against them?

supercollider Wed 10-Sep-14 11:50:06

To both - were Scotland to vote yes, when you think about the Union, on a personal level what will you miss most?

captaincarter Wed 10-Sep-14 11:52:57

Question to both

How will either an indpendent scotland or the union tackle the poblems of inequality.We are the 4th most unequal country in the world regarding wealth between rich and poor and the 8th most unequal of the EU countries in terms of the gender pay gap?

thank you

ireallyshouldgeton Wed 10-Sep-14 12:00:33

Apologies if these have already been asked upthread....

1) Why is it only people resident in Scotland who get a vote in the referendum? The results will affect the whole UK. Should not all UK residents get a vote?!! (I'm Welsh btw!)

2) Surely Alex Salmond's date of 2016 for all the details to be finalised by, in the case of a Yes result, is waaaay too ambitious?

3) What other examples are there from recent history of a smaller nation / region within another larger country getting independence by referendum (as opposed to war) when the the larger country and the smaller nation / region have had opposing views on their preferred outcome and have not just agreed to go their separate ways amicably?

4) Is it fair to say that the Scottish Government have attempted to engineer the result in favour of the Yes campaign by giving the vote to 16 year olds and anyone resident in Scotland, including many non-UK citizens? (My husband was born in Scotland, so was his Dad who lived there until his early 20s. Niether will have a vote as they now live in England, yet could still represent Scotland at sport. I find that odd??)

Esmum07 Wed 10-Sep-14 12:03:18

Gentlemen, thank you both for taking the time to speak to us today. My question is for Mr Darling. I am English, living in England with family living in Scotland. I understand why every party at Westminster is trying to save the Union but have the politicians forgotten that there are over 40million voters in England alone many of whom are not going to be happy paying out yet more of their taxes in a 'bribe' to get the Scots to vote No? Do all of you think that by offering a deal that changes what Scotland gets if they say part of the Union the rest of the UK is just going to say "oh great, it is worth every penny of my hard earned money just to have the Scots as part of a united country". Because if you do you are seriously misreading the mood south of the border.

I hope the Scots stay with us. Part of my family is Scottish. But I don't think more concessions should be offered by people I have elected and who don't have a remit from me to offer it. And there are rumblings that more people feel the same. If the vote is no, it is no and the status quo is maintained as far as we are concerned. There are poor kids in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (to take one of Mr Salmond's election pledges) and they need help to. Perhaps it is time to remember, and to remind the politicians across the parties, that those 40,000,000 voters in England alone are due to vote in a general election very, very soon Mr Darling and pledging extras to just one part of the country is really not a good idea, however well intentioned it may be.

So my question, hidden in my argument, is have the politicians currently pledging changes for a Scotland which remains in the UK actually thought about what the rest of the UK is prepared to put up with? Because if you renege on the promises you make to Scotland in the next week they will never forgive you and, if you carry on pledging more to Scotland alone, the voters south of the border won't forgive you...and there are many marginal seats all over the country. And an MP who loses their seat can't make any policy changes.

Hillbilly71 Wed 10-Sep-14 12:05:15

Question to both:
What happens to the financial services industry in Scotland when their products will not be regulated or be able to be used in England?

NerfHerder Wed 10-Sep-14 12:06:05

Question for AS :
Why has the ballot question been couched incorrectly?
Scotland is already a country! It is disingenuous to suggest otherwise. The correct question is 'should Scotland leave the union? ', and do you honestly think you'd have anything approaching 50% if you'd asked that?

AlexSalmond Wed 10-Sep-14 12:16:52

Hi all, MNHQ here - just testing

RavenAlexanda Wed 10-Sep-14 12:20:05

Question for Alex Salmond... The power of the people, the grassroots campaign, social media and pounding the pavements along with yourself, Nicola and the team is what has won the YES votes, my question is after the 18th and a win for Yes, are there any plans to change the system of government and parties that are in place today or are there considerations for developing a completely new system that involves the people of Scotland on a broader scale than currently exists? Nigh on every household owns at least one computer... can that not be integrated into the governing of Scotland and develop a truly democratic, for the people, by the people style of government?

PeaceLovingMum Wed 10-Sep-14 12:25:24

Following on from Esmum07's point. I'm Scottish (with lots of people I love in England) and have chosen to vote no, despite fully understanding why many are moving to a yes. My reasoning is because I want to fight for social justice for 40+ million and not just the 5 million. It is right that Scotland should ask for more, just as it is right for every corner of the country to ask for more - a better, fairer and just administration. With support being more fairly distributed to those who need it most and not be overshadowed by the lobbyists with money. How will AD make sure this happens? I know many who are planning to vote yes in the independence referendum who would reconsider if they thought it would achieve greater social justice across the UK rather than Scotland alone.

The vote for a yes is not necessarily a vote for independence - it is a vote to say "we've had enough". People are unhappy that Scotland has been one of the places across the UK which has been unfairly treated. My plea to the people of England and other parts of the UK that feel the same, is please do not feel resentment towards us, instead feel inspired that if we all shout loud enough - change can be achieved.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; Indeed it's the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead

daisyfraser Wed 10-Sep-14 12:27:56

Mr Darling & Mr Salmond
What is to be done about Yes campaigners patrolling the streets of Scotland bullying and intimidating No campaigners since it looks as if this activity may actually be frightening people into voting Yes and is highly divisive whatever the outcome?

This happened to an advocate (barrister) friend of mine who was followed by Nationalists in a very intimidating way including swearing. Looks like Mr Salmond has an agenda of 'independence at any cost')

To those on the Yes side saying 'I don't see any intimidation' I rest my case.

Thank you

cunexttuesonline Wed 10-Sep-14 12:28:25

Question for Mr Darling -
Is it likely that after a No vote we will be given more tax raising powers, then a few years down the line the barnett formula is scrapped and we are forced to pay high taxes in Scotland if we want to have the same services that we do just now?

Roseformeplease Wed 10-Sep-14 12:30:12

I would dearly love to know, Mumsnet, the rules of the debate. Where the two leaders actually are? How they are deciding which questions to answer? How much preparation is being done by researchers and whether their answers will just be cut and pasted into the thread by minions. I have asked this by pm a couple of times but no response. What are the agreed terms of the debate?

RavenAlexanda Wed 10-Sep-14 12:31:14

Nope not working ;0) hehe
Good luck with the debate... SAOR ALBA!

AlistairDarling Wed 10-Sep-14 12:36:32

MNHQ here - just testing

WhoKnowsNewName Wed 10-Sep-14 12:40:51

Roseformeplease... I think these are really good, valid questions to ask. I'd also really like to know the answers. I'm assuming AS and AD will not actually be physically present in MNHQ. I know someone close to one of the campaigns who told me it would be a researcher answering the questions or possibly Blair Jenkins and Blair McDougall. Are you able to respond to these questions? Many thanks.

OhBuggerandArse Wed 10-Sep-14 12:44:42

Question for Mr Darling:

The reference to public engagement and consultation in Gordon Brown's presentation of the timetable towards 'further devolution' shows that the No campaign have finally recognised the role of grass-roots and non party-political interest groups' participation in the campaign in defining and developing the arguments around independence.

These groups and their participation have been years in the making, diverse, voluntary, independent and driven by people's genuine excitement at being involved in a new political process.

How can the No parties possibly hope to replicate this level of participation and enthusiasm over the course of a few short months of negotiations, inevitably led from the top, and without either networks or buy-in from different interest groups in place?

rino Wed 10-Sep-14 12:46:23

Mr Salmond, free does not mean fair. Why is the education budget ploughed into free university education when there are 12,000 missing nursery places, when looked after children will not achieve 5 highers, when funding for deaf education is reduced compared to the rest of Uk. Parents of children who can afford to pay tens of thousands of pounds to private education get free university. However, college places and apprenticeships have been severely cut. How is this fair. You are responsible for the education budget.

BardarbungaBardarbing Wed 10-Sep-14 12:48:09

Well said rino.

KissMyFatArse Wed 10-Sep-14 12:49:19

Daisyfraser that happens on both sides - there's more important questions you could have asked. Unbelievable.

WhoKnowsNewName Wed 10-Sep-14 12:51:28

Such a good point, Rino.

Same with universal free prescriptions and the council tax freeze. The main beneficiaries of these two policies are the middle classes.

koomkebear Wed 10-Sep-14 13:00:53

I'd like to know from both AS and AD how they think that this referendum has any claims to legitimately represent the views of people living in Scotland when they don't know what they are actually voting for? Voting for independence without knowing what that entails is an abuse of the democratic process.

You might as well ask voters to vote on how long is a piece of string. Surely the vote should be held off until there are actual facts to vote on instead of empty rhetoric - there should be definitive answers about which currency will be used, the type of membership of the EU that will be offered and any conditions that come along with it (surely somebody could have got their act into gear and asked the European Parliament to provide the answer rather than both sides guessing in the run up to the vote!) and all the other big issues.

What's going to happen if the Yes vote wins - but down the line the actual Independent Scotland is very different to the one that AS has been touting (say that they have to take the Euro to join the EU or stay out of the EU for example). Will AS give voters a chance to vote again on the actual details or will they just have to suck it up?

(And what would happen if say the Shetland Isles decided they didn't vote for independence so they decided to stay with the UK and take all the oil money with them - I assume that AS would be happy to let them have a referendum to do so without the rest of Scotland joining in regardless of the impact it would have).

venusandmars Wed 10-Sep-14 13:00:56

Question for AD:

With hindsight, what do you think the Better Together campaign should have done differently?

I'm a 'no thanks' voter, but I am so angry at the series of blunders made in the BT campaign, and the misunderstanding and misreading of the feeling of the electorate in Scotland (and now misreading the backlash of the electorate in rUK). Do you think that BT campaigners were arrogant in their approach, were they dismissive of the feelings and culture of people living in Scotland, and do they simply not understand the psyche of the Scottish people? Do you think that the referendum is perilously close to being 'lost' by Better Together, rather than 'won' by Yes?

SarahMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 10-Sep-14 13:18:00


I'm assuming AS and AD will not actually be physically present in MNHQ. I know someone close to one of the campaigns who told me it would be a researcher answering the questions or possibly Blair Jenkins and Blair McDougall. Are you able to respond to these questions? Many thanks.

Hi all, to explain the logistics - we couldn't get Alastair Darling and Alex Salmond down to London, so we've gone to them. They won't be in the same room; Alastair Darling will be with our head of press, Katie, in Glasgow, and Alex Salmond will be with Justine in Edinburgh. They'll have been able to look at the thread in advance, obviously, but will be answering live - and it will definitely be them, and not a researcher. HTH

SuperLoudPoppingAction Wed 10-Sep-14 13:22:37

My question for Alex Salmond is:
What opportunities will there be for people in Scotland to engage with the of building a new, fair, representative Scotland in the result of a yes vote? (or, really, not what Scotland can do for us, but what we can do for Scotland).

My question for Alistair Darling is:
In Scotland we see so much antipathy, joking, sneering about us from other parts of the UK - why would we want those other nations to have a say in how we govern ourselves?

Milngaviemum Wed 10-Sep-14 13:27:01

Please could the first minister explain to me how he thinks a few hours of extra childcare for pre-school children is "transformational"? Does he understand that nursery provision is neither convenient nor what all parents wish to choose? What about families with older children - it makes no difference for us! Also, he has the power to introduce extra nursery hours already - he does not need independence. Neither Alex Salmond nor Nicola Sturgeon have children, so how do they know what is right for our children? This is a wholly patronising measure from an administration that has does nothing to support parents.

WhoKnowsNewName Wed 10-Sep-14 13:28:07

Sarah, many thanks indeed. But they get to cherry-pick which questions they answer, yes? This is all rather pointless if that's the case.

LineRunner Wed 10-Sep-14 13:28:19

Do you regret the paucity of detailed political debate about the actual economic consequences of either independence or further devolution?

Milngaviemum Wed 10-Sep-14 13:30:27

Please could the First Minister explain who he thinks are the best people to look after the interests of our children in an independent Scotland? Would he agree that parents are (apart from the very sad exceptional cases) best placed to make the right decisions for their family? Why then does the recently introduced Children's Act enshrine in law that all Scottish children are to have a "named person" to be responsible for them? Who are these "named persons"? Is this not a sinister measure that extends state control into families?

tabulahrasa Wed 10-Sep-14 13:30:31

My question is for AD...

I've seen several Labour people speaking on behalf of BT, with the viewpoint that it's better to try to change the political scene of the UK rather than set up a seperate government - but how is that actually possible in a set up that means that every single voter in Scotland could have voted for the same political party in the last general election and we'd still have the same government, unless it was Conservative and then they'd have had a majority.

When 93% of Scottish MPs can vote against a policy and it is passed anyway....

How then does Scotland engage in politics when the voters have no real say in what actually happens in parliament?

Franmat Wed 10-Sep-14 13:32:02

For AS. Many promises have been made re. free childcare provision, education etc. If there is a yes vote, will we not then have to vote in a new Government? How, then, can you make promises which your successor may not be happy to honour? It is like the Tories trying to commit the Labour party to a Conservative manifesto.

Raintown Wed 10-Sep-14 13:32:31

Jobs: Can the participants give their views on the impact of separation on the 1,000,000 Scottish Jobs dependent on English-based companies and the prospects for young Scots looking to take up opportunites in England, as c.800,000 of their countrymen & women have done over recent generations.


Immigration/Border Controls: The SNP Whitepaper requires substantially increased immigration to make its economic forecasts add up, while the UK is pursuing a much more restrictive policy. Given the current terrorist threat - and the fact that some Scottish migrants may see Scotland as a stepping-stone to the South - can the panelists assure us there will be no border controls post a 'Yes' vote?

SarahMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 10-Sep-14 13:32:53


Sarah, many thanks indeed. But they get to cherry-pick which questions they answer, yes? This is all rather pointless if that's the case.

Hey WhoKnowsNewName - obviously their time is limited; it's unlikely they'll get through all the questions posted, so there'll be a degree of picking, if not cherry picking, involved. However, as with all webchats, we advise all our guests not to duck the hard questions - MNers will just keep asking them if they do, so it's a bit pointless, really. And we'll be directing both guests to questions that have come up repeatedly. Hope that's reassuring.

OTheHugeManatee Wed 10-Sep-14 13:34:35

For Alex Salmond

I have some sympathy with the Scots desire for independence, as I find the growing stranglehold of Brussels over UK national sovereignty to be profoundly undemocratic. I would gladly vote YES in a referendum to free us from the EU and on the same principle I can see why the Scots want to be free of Westminster.

But what really baffles me about your campaign is that you're fighting tooth and nail in this incredibly divisive campaign in order to win independence from the UK - just so you can give it up again to Brussels by joining the EU.

I simply don't understand your reasoning. Can you explain?

PeaceLovingMum Wed 10-Sep-14 13:35:08

Oops sorry MNHQ - just spotted web guidelines (new to this). Can't delete my previous posts, but my one question would be: Our votes are here to be won - what more can both sides offer? As someone who has read so much and watched all your debates, new incentives to vote your way would be welcome.

TheBigBumTheory Wed 10-Sep-14 13:35:23

Also can they be directed to questions which haven't already been debated ad nauseum? Sometimes it's like Groundhog Day atm smile

eggsandham Wed 10-Sep-14 13:35:28

Mr Salmond, I can't tell you of how many stories I've heard of intimidation by those on the YES side. I know you'll probably write it off as sour grapes from the No side or just part of the rough and tumble of an election campaign, but I've heard so many stories now, I know that it's much more than that. From what I know of you, I can't imagine that you'd be proud of a climate in which people feel scared to speak on this issue, for fear of retribution. So my question is this: What happens if Scotland does become independent? How can you reassure those who don't want it to happen that they'll be able to speak freely afterwards and that this isn't a forerunner for what an independent Scotland will be like?

WhoKnowsNewName Wed 10-Sep-14 13:36:05

Sarah, as reassured as it's possible to be! Many thanks.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 10-Sep-14 13:37:04

So we're with Alex Salmond and lots of lovely babies at an internet cafe in sunny Edinburgh and we'll be kicking off soon.

frankie80 Wed 10-Sep-14 13:37:30

lots of similar questions regarding yes campaign intimidation and also nationality/citizenship, so I do hope these ones get answered

WhoKnowsNewName Wed 10-Sep-14 13:37:37

Great request, TheBigBumTheory.

SarahMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 10-Sep-14 13:38:08

... and Justine just sent us this pic from Edinburgh: preparations underway, clearly ...

leanneb010 Wed 10-Sep-14 13:38:18

AD - The "new powers" which don't really seem to be anywhere close to Devo Max, what are these and can they be guaranteed regardless of what party wins the 2015 GE and would it be ensured that these cannot be dismissed by a WM vote? (Given the Daily Mail is all for telling Scots to shove it)

AS - I do worry about the taxation after the vote, can you outline what plans there will be to help anyone who would be affected by interest rates rising and affecting mortgages etc.

I think the YES campaign as truly shown how grassroots politics can be done and the negativity and lies produced by BT is shameful.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Wed 10-Sep-14 13:40:12

So we're with Alex Salmond and lots of lovely babies at an internet cafe

Alex Salmond eats babies ?!shock

KatieMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 10-Sep-14 13:41:47

And we're almost ready to go in Glasgow, being serenaded by street jazz.

dalziel1 Wed 10-Sep-14 13:42:03

Question for AS: In light of the extreme clarity with which it has been made clear that rUK will not enter into a currency union with an independent Scotland. How do you reconcile your stated option of using the pound anyway, which will mean passing a wide range of monetary policy tools back to the UK with a majority vote for independence?

AlexSalmond Wed 10-Sep-14 13:43:51

Hello there. Alex Salmond here. Ready when you are.

Tori23 Wed 10-Sep-14 13:45:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SquidgyMummy Wed 10-Sep-14 13:45:47

Hello Mr Salmond,
How long will it take from the time of a postive Yes vote to the practical implementation of a new country, eg new passports, border controls, etc?

hebeperennial Wed 10-Sep-14 13:46:15

Question for AS: Is it true that in either a CU or steringisation the Bank of England will dicatate interest rates in Scotland and can veto Scotland's spending plans? Why have you chosen a currency route (CU or sterlingisation) that does not give Scotland full control over its economy?

MyNameIsAlexDrake Wed 10-Sep-14 13:46:45

What do you think if Sir Ian Wood's recent comments on the oil reserve estimates?

BramblePie Wed 10-Sep-14 13:46:47

Aw, I love Alex Salmond smile GOOD JOB ALEX! You are great!

AlistairDarling Wed 10-Sep-14 13:46:51

Hello to all Mumsnet users

It's really good that so many people are entering what's such an important debate. This is one the most important decisions we'll ever take not just for us but for our children and their children.

I'm looking forward to hearing what you've got to say and answering your questions.


Belmo Wed 10-Sep-14 13:47:06

I have nothing useful to add to the discussion, except that I think Alex Salmond is ace grin <waves>

AlexSalmond Wed 10-Sep-14 13:47:08


For AS. Many promises have been made re. free childcare provision, education etc. If there is a yes vote, will we not then have to vote in a new Government? How, then, can you make promises which your successor may not be happy to honour? It is like the Tories trying to commit the Labour party to a Conservative manifesto.

Hi, Fran. You're quite right to say that the real point about independence is that the people of Scotland will choose their own government in the spring of 2016. The White Paper makes that very clear. However, we thought it was important to spell out some of the policies that we would like to see if we were fortunate enough to be chosen by the people. Hence, our ideas for a radical expansion of childcare which carries so much support and enthusiasm and would take provision in Scotland to levels only really seen in Scandinavia.

Iggi999 Wed 10-Sep-14 13:47:53

I plan to vote yes primarily due to disgust at current actions in WM. My question is, am I being short-sighted in doing this, will there be better times ahead for WM politics?

oscarette Wed 10-Sep-14 13:49:53

Mr. Salmond, even in the event of a YES vote, will you be bringing the BBC to account for their Unionist bias during the reporting of this referendum?

frankie80 Wed 10-Sep-14 13:49:55

How many people pay attention to what's happening in Scandinavia anyway? hmm I'm not saying its not great but it certainly doesn't get international notice.

frankblackswife Wed 10-Sep-14 13:50:08

Question for Alex Salmond. What confidence can you give me and my family in the event of an Independent Scotland. We are Higher rate tax payers, mortgage holders and my husband is a business owner (60+ % turnover from UK based companies). We don't and never have claimed benefits -we don't seem to fit in your demographic.

NoRoomForALittleOne Wed 10-Sep-14 13:50:50

No question as such given that I can't actually vote even though this affects me being English and living in England angry But... DH is Scottish so why can't he vote just because he lives in England? (That's a rhetorical question, BTW). It does change things for us as a family. For instance, do we have to apply for our children to have dual-citizenship and different passports if Scotland becomes independent?

Mythreeknights Wed 10-Sep-14 13:51:50

For AS: I just don't understand how you can feel confident leading this country if there is no guarantee that we can keep the pound, if you plan to default on national debt, and the majority of financial institutions insist there will be massive economic troubles ahead. How can you be confident against such critical certainty from a number of economic experts? How can you reassure me that Scotland will not enter a long period of austerity and recession?

SkateLife Wed 10-Sep-14 13:51:53

Hello Alex and Alistair,

Can both of you please answer my question?

As a small business owner, I'd like to hear how independence would change my business. VAT and rates? The recession has almost wiped us out, Westminster plans more cuts and consumer spending is still down. How do you plan to help small businesses cope and move forward in an independent Scotland.

AlistairDarling Wed 10-Sep-14 13:51:54


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.

I keep being asked this question, it’s obviously a big worry for families. The short answer is that it all depends on the currency we use. And we still don’t know, with eight days to go. Mr Salmond’s floated the daft idea of a Scottish pound. Scotland could use yen, roubles or – as Panama does – the dollar. But a separate Scottish pound would stand alone. The Governor the Bank of England told us that a currency union with indy Scotland is ‘incompatible with sovereignty. In other words you wouldn’t be independent if you did it. So it will mean higher interest rates. Scotland would effectively be starting from scratch with no credit record. Currency also affects how much money we have for public services – like your school. We’d face massive cuts and huge uncertainly. We don’t have to take these risks. We can keep the pound – by staying a partner in the UK, with all the strength and stability that comes with it.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Wed 10-Sep-14 13:52:14

I'm not saying its not great but it certainly doesn't get international notice.

Why do they/we need international notice?

femin Wed 10-Sep-14 13:52:20

Alistair Darling - It is so obvious that the Westminster Government are panicking about the prospect of a yes vote. Why have you all been so blase about this possibility until now?

AlexSalmond Wed 10-Sep-14 13:53:18


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?

I think the biggest economic challenge facing all European countries is the balance between working age and elderly population. We intend to tackle that by creating the environment where many of the 30,000 young people who leave Scotland each and every year can have the potential for employment to fit their qualifications in their own country. We also wish to welcome skilled workers and students from other countries who want to experience Scottish education and work with their talents for a time in Scotland.

I think the biggest challenge facing the world is to square up to the environmental certainty that we cannot go on abusing this planet without grave consequences of disruption and occasional tragedy in the developed world and sustained climatic disaster in the less developed world. Thus, our proposal and policy of a climate justice fund is one which I hope will be followed by many other developed countries.

Challenge number three is the social challenge of creating not just a prosperous economy but a more just society. There is a real yearning for a policy programme which provides that crucial balance in holding communities together.

AlexSalmond Wed 10-Sep-14 13:53:51


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.

Thanks for your question. There is a great deal of academic research into the benefits of high quality childcare, not least the Growing up in Scotland study here in Scotland (see:

That said, the childcare is not compulsory and each family must decide what works best for them. Our plan for the equivalent of 30 hours a week – matching the time children spend in primary school – gives families the choice of childcare that too many simply can’t afford right now.

BramblePie Wed 10-Sep-14 13:53:53

Alistair Darling - Since the latest poll showed the Yes vote had taken the lead off No, can you tell me why all of a sudden David Cameron et al are panicking and scrambling around, flying up to Scotland in a last minute bid to keep us.
To me it seems like they are clinging on to use for dear life and you (I) have to wonder why.
Seems to me for the last 2 years they have sat back and laughed at even though thought Scotland would want Independence and now it's becoming a reality they aren't laughing any more!!

Roseformeplease Wed 10-Sep-14 13:54:38

Really worried about this. Me Salmond, your response? Please don't keep saying the same thing, given that you have been told there will be no currency union. You must have thought through the consequences for those who are as concerned as I am.

AlexSalmond Wed 10-Sep-14 13:55:35


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.

Thanks for your question. I agree that fighting child poverty and more free childcare is vital. That’s why we are making school meals free to all P1 to P3 pupils and have expended by almost half the number of nursery hours children get.

But we want to do much more and that need control of the tax and benefit system. That’s one of the great opportunities of Independence. For example, by having control of both sides of the balance sheet, we can reinvest the revenues from increased numbers of women in work into increasing childcare. Right now that money goes to Westminster.

Mythreeknights Wed 10-Sep-14 13:55:44

femin great question. The Better Together campaign seems to have relied on the Cameron 'hug-a-scottie' sentiment, when it should have invested millions in ensuring victory and chosen positive messages as to why we should not become independent, rather than banging on about what we would lose if we do.

AlistairDarling Wed 10-Sep-14 13:55:47


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?

MyNameIsAlexDrake Wed 10-Sep-14 13:56:39

Q for Alistair - if an independent Scotland can't enter into a currency union with rUK and has to 'start from scratch'. Do you believe it is still equitable for an independent Scotland to keep its share of the national debt? If we can't have any of the assets why should we take the liabilities?

AlexSalmond Wed 10-Sep-14 13:57:01


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?

The difficulty is, while the administration of the NHS is fully devolved, the finance is dependent on decisions made at Westminster. For example, the UK government recently decided to ignore the independent pay review and give nurses and other workers and increase in pay. In Scotland, we made the decision to honour that obligation. That cost around £30 million. Because there was no finance from Westminster to pay for the increase, we had to find it out of other budgets, which was very difficult. That provides an example of why anything under the current system, which impacts on NHS public finance in England has an immediate knock-on effect in Scotland. Thus, privatisation and charging in the NHS south of the border will put great pressure on our public health service in Scotland unless we control both sides of the balance sheet and the finance as well as the administration of our public National Health Service.

There's an excellent article from Professor Alison Pollock, which was in the Sunday Herald a week past Sunday, which is well worth a look.

SomeSunnySunday Wed 10-Sep-14 13:57:50

I am almost certainly a Yes voter, but have concerns relating to how narrow a margin whichever side wins is likely to win by. We're probably looking at something like a 49/51% of voters split (which obviously when taking into account turnout will probably equate to less than half of the actual electorate voting for the "winning" campaign).

In comparable situations there has almost always been overwhelming public support for independence. How do you plan to address around half of the electorate feeling disenfranchised? To my mind, this will be more of an issue if there is a Yes vote (as there is then no going back) than if there is a No vote (as we could always re-run the referendum in years to come), and it does deter me from voting Yes (as I'd really like a Yes win with an overwhelming majority).

AlistairDarling Wed 10-Sep-14 13:58:33


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.

Hello ItsAllGoingToBeFine

All three of the parties that may form a government after the next general election have guaranteed a timetable for the new raft of powers. These include further power over income tax and welfare, which covers housing benefit so we can get rid of the iniquitous bedroom tax. We already have a Scottish parliament with powers over education and health. So instead of years of wrangling over separation, we can have legislation underway from day one after the referendum.

Romeyroo Wed 10-Sep-14 13:59:37

Our plan for the equivalent of 30 hours a week � matching the time children spend in primary school � gives families the choice of childcare that too many simply can�t afford right now

The other point is, if I can pick up on this, is that 30 hours of paid childcare actually gives people the opportunity to work less - if that makes sense. As a single parent of two children, over 40% of my salary goes on childcare. That means I work two days a week just to pay for childcare. I can't quickly do the sums, but if my childcare bill was less, I could surely work at least one day a week less - to the benefit of my children (and my mental health...).

That said, because I moved my son in the middle of the year, I missed the deadline for registering for the existing early years provision (equivalent to �133 a month in his setting), so we didn't get that...therefore I take promises on childcare with a bit of a pinch of salt.

WildThong Wed 10-Sep-14 13:59:43

Don't forget the Sunday Herald as referenced by Mr Salmond has come out as pro-independent

AlistairDarling Wed 10-Sep-14 14:00:29


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?

Hi there,
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. Another example - we spend £1200 more for every Scot on health, schools and other vital public services. If we leave the UK, we lose that. It's not just me saying that - but independent experts. If I saw you step out in front of a bus and I shouted a warning, would that be scaremongering, would it?

frankie80 Wed 10-Sep-14 14:00:32

MNHQ - Mr Darling's answer to JimMurphysHump isn't showing, or is it just me?

frankie80 Wed 10-Sep-14 14:01:03

oh spoke too soon blush

AlexSalmond Wed 10-Sep-14 14:01:20


Mr Darling & Mr Salmond
What is to be done about Yes campaigners patrolling the streets of Scotland bullying and intimidating No campaigners since it looks as if this activity may actually be frightening people into voting Yes and is highly divisive whatever the outcome?

This happened to an advocate (barrister) friend of mine who was followed by Nationalists in a very intimidating way including swearing. Looks like Mr Salmond has an agenda of 'independence at any cost')

To those on the Yes side saying 'I don't see any intimidation' I rest my case.

Thank you

Hi, Daisy. The polls at the weekend, which caused so much consternation in the no campaign also asked people if they thought the campaign was being conducted in a way which did Scotland credit and good. By a majority almost five-to-one on both sides of the campaign people thought this was a great thing for Scotland.

That has been my experience as I've gone round the country and spoken to communities, energised and empowered by this referendum process. Obviously, any bad behaviour on either side should be deprecated and I always do and whether it be online or offline, but it would be entirely wrong to suggest whatever some newspapers have claimed that this is any way typical of the 99% of campaigners who are having a enlightening and joyous political campaign.

weatherall Wed 10-Sep-14 14:01:33

Mr Darling you cherry picked a part- quote from Mark Carney there. He clearly stated that that his comment was in the context of Westminster parties' refusal to agree to a currency union.

FromGirders Wed 10-Sep-14 14:01:46

So glad you got proper biscuits in!

AlexSalmond Wed 10-Sep-14 14:03:23


For AS. Many promises have been made re. free childcare provision, education etc. If there is a yes vote, will we not then have to vote in a new Government? How, then, can you make promises which your successor may not be happy to honour? It is like the Tories trying to commit the Labour party to a Conservative manifesto.

Hi Franmat. You are absolutely right that with Independence the people of Scotland will elect the governments of Scotland. I think that's one of the great opportunities of Independence - no more governments we didn't elect.

I also think there is now a broad consensus that there should be a significant expansion of childcare and, for my part, the SNP has set out what we will do with the powers of Independence - matching the number of hours children spend in primary school - to transform childcare if we are trusted to be the first Government of an Independent Scotland.

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