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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.

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.

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