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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.

Greengardenpixie Sun 14-Sep-14 21:40:27

Statistically Challenged Good to see not every point being made is dismissed. Its never been my intention to change anyone's opinion as I don't have your life experiences but I simply cannot accept the blatant refusal from some quarters to perpetuate such a distorted picture of the UK. There will be facts we are both right about and similarly wrong about, my only issue is with those that don't even take the time to investigate for themselves.

unlucky83 Sun 14-Sep-14 21:40:46

Sarah - renewable energy - I remember the Yes leaflet about that ...but actually they avoided mentioning wind farms as they aren't too popular - spoil the scenery etc for the tourists ...that leaflet is one of the major reasons for my decision to vote No.
Scotland has lots of coastline, mountains and water etc - it COULD be a major renewable energy generator - and indeed it could. BUT - and this is a massive but - the investment needed to build the infrastructure to transport that power would be massive - not to mention the tourists not being particularly keen on the glens filled with pylons to take the electricity down to Glasgow/Edinburgh etc. FYI I'm a great believer in renewables but wind generation (both on and off shore) is currently heavily subsidised -without the subsidies companies wouldn't get the investment needed to develop them...they would never make their money back...where is that subsidy going to come from? Where is the money for the initial investment going to come from?
GreenI want to give my grandchildren that opportunity - precisely why I'm voting no. I don't want my children or my grand children and my great grandchildren to suffer the financial consequences of a Yes vote - the consequences of my stupidity.
Tatoos and rock music - wow really how terrifying - you wouldn't think that I had had friends from all walks of life - from junkies to titled gentry would you? I moved here from somewhere that had 1500+ reported crimes in a month - approx a third of them violent - and I loved living there -lived there for as long as I have lived where I do now - here we had zero crime in the same month...very different and I love living here too ...maybe I wouldn't love it as much if I hadn't lived where I lived before ...and funnily enough I want my children to have the same opportunities - to be able to make the same choices...

Greengardenpixie Sun 14-Sep-14 21:49:46

unlucky83 wind farms arguments are subjective, personally I like the deployment of turbines in Cornwall and much less the large farms such as Braes of Doune or Whitelees. But I would rather see them than a large nuclear facility on my doorstep. I agree that tidal could be better. However neither is any use without a underwater connector to mainland Europe which UK Gov won't licence in Scotland, Energy surplus has to be routed via England that makes no sense to me.

StatisticallyChallenged Sun 14-Sep-14 21:51:39

Agreed Unlucky83, I don't believe my children and grandchildren will have as good or better opportunities in an independent Scotland, I think they will have fewer.

unlucky83 Sun 14-Sep-14 22:22:50

Green Where is the money for the infrastructure going to come from? If it was that simple and cost effective we (as the UK) would be doing it ...why not? The Uk is running at a deficit - there is a desperate need to increase income - so why hasn't it already happened?
And that leaflet is typical of what I've read from the Yes side - by all means make a decision based on your heart, your convictions, but don't pretend that it actually makes financial sense. Voting Yes is a bit like buying something you really want but don't need on your credit card - you will pay more for it. For you it might well be worth it.
Just hope future generations and the other half of the country can see it that way...

SarahScotia Sun 14-Sep-14 23:43:29

PlasticPinkFlamingo - "Hey Sarah want to explain how Scotland's renewables sector will continue to flourish without the subsidies paid by energy bill payers in rUK? Or do you expect the sector to continue receiving the same level of subsidies post independence?"

Hi there PPF, I can't claim to have any specialist knowledge of windfarms. I do know that rUK will be unable to meet their targets for renewables without the energy already generated in Scotland, so this will be part-sold back down south in the event of a YES vote. I know there is a thriving community owned windfarm model that operates in the Highlands and Hebrides, and that generates substantial wealth for community development. Outwith this, Scotland is a country at the forefront of renewable r&d with the EMEC being the largest wave and tidal energy center in the Europe if not the world.

SarahScotia Sun 14-Sep-14 23:45:39

Agreed Unlucky83, I don't believe my children and grandchildren will have as good or better opportunities in an independent Scotland, I think they will have fewer.

I wonder if you could expand on that a bit more for us StatsitciallyChallenged. What do you feel the UK provides now under the austerity of a Tory government that could not be available come Independence? Thx.

BardarbungaBardarbing Sun 14-Sep-14 23:50:39

For me Sarah that would be summed up in one word:


SarahScotia Mon 15-Sep-14 00:03:20

Unlucky - "Voting Yes is a bit like buying something you really want but don't need on your credit card - you will pay more for it. For you it might well be worth it."

In theory, if it were the case that you could pay more tax for a better standard of living for all, and society with more equal opportunity in prosperity, housing, food etc, would you be willing to pay that? I think I would consider it well worth it.

However, it is only your interpretation that independence is something we don't need. Many disagree. Many feel that we are now best placed to stop being the 40 year old, living at home getting hand outs from our parents. We want to prosper as a country and feel we are best placed to take the power from Westminster to administer our own money and tackle our own problems.

That said, an Independent Scotland would be in the top 20 wealthiest countries in the world. We are resource rich with a trillion pounds of North Sea resources, and a trillion pounds of oil this week scoped off the north of Scotland (Atlantic Margin). We represent 8.3% of the UK by population, yet we possess 32% land area, 61% sea area, 90% surface fresh water. We have 65% North Sea gas production, 96.5 North Sea crude oil production, 47% Open cast coal production, 81% Coal reserves, 62% Timber production, almost half of all forestry etc etc. Not too shabby?

StatisticallyChallenged Mon 15-Sep-14 00:23:26

I've outlined upthread the scale of cuts that we would possibly have to make. It would be exceptionally difficult to achieve that with hitting education. If we were independent but in the EU, chances are we would have to offer free tuition to English students - there is a possibility of arguing for an exemption from the rules requiring non discrimination but it would be tricky to secure and is by no means certain. We're more likely to lose the free tuition fees than to keep them.

And then we get on to the economic issues. Business do not like instability. They do not seek instability. It's easy to dismiss the banks and finance companies. But they provide great opportunities for many bright youngsters. There is also a huge trickle down of the money they bring to the economy - it's not just the actual financial services employees but all the other local businesses which rely upon the money they bring in to the local economy. They won't be the only businesses to move, downsize or just avoid an unstable Scotland.

The public sector is already bigger in Scotland than in the rest of the UK - that probably would not be sustainable even without the need to make cuts. There is no good reason for us to have a public sector which is proportionately bigger than the UK. We have 21% PS, they have 18%. The difference is another 78000 jobs.

I don't see a world of amazing opportunities in an independent Scotland for my child. I see one of limited horizons - and it will be worse for the poorest children.

BardarbungaBardarbing Mon 15-Sep-14 00:32:17

Sarah do you have real life experience in any of Scotland's industries?

NerfHerder Mon 15-Sep-14 00:52:44

greengardenpixie- your statement is abhorrent.
People die in illegal wars a damn sight more painfully than those in their cancer beds. No one wants cancer but surely it is a result of our industrial past and colonial past. Look back in GRO death certs and you will see people died of natural causes and old age - insatiable appetite to label merely allows big business to keep you scared.

Are you seriously dismissing death from cancer less painful than other types of death? And the pain experienced as negligible?

Deaths of UK military personnel in Afghanistan (since start of conflict in 2002-present) 458.
Deaths in UK from cancer for 2011 alone 159,178.

I am saddened by the loss of even one single life of service personnel, and I am grateful to each and every person that serves, protecting the lives of me and my loved ones. However, the number of people affected by cancer and its aftermath is enormous- I seriously doubt there is any UK family untouched by its shadow.

StatisticallyChallenged Mon 15-Sep-14 00:56:44

Well said NerfHerder.

ChelsyHandy Mon 15-Sep-14 01:06:51

What I can envisage is this generation's youth cursing its selfish predecessors for turning a prosperous part of the UK into an independent, poverty stricken backwater with low opportunities, and having to negotiate back into the UK on much less favourable terms from a low bargaining position.

SarahScotia Mon 15-Sep-14 01:15:42

@ Statstically challenged, thanks for that. Ultimately, as with any act of democracy, we are talking about out own interpretation of the facts presented to us - and try to marry them the best we can to our world view.

I believe I share in the surge of optimism apparently sweeping the country that the time is right to take back the powers of self determination. Right now that is what this election is about - where power lies. In two years time, if there is a YES vote, we will decide, as a country and a democracy, on the political approach that our country will take and duly elect the people we believe to have the correct vision for that job. For now, it is enough for me to have studied the resources that are/will be available to us and know that they will be more than enough for us to build our independent Scotland - and what's more, for us to prosper.

I do not understand your point of view that your children will be better under the status quo, but that does not matter, it is your opinion and belief and I respect that. I personally have seen enough in the repeating patterns of run-down public services, an NHS a shadow of it's former self, public wealth being passed to "legal" criminals in the banking sector, policy mismanagement that serves to preserve the wealth of the rich and make things increasingly tough on the poor, child poverty, decreasing standards of education, house overinflation/shortage etc. I assert that is has left us a nation depressed and bereft of hope. I aspire again to appoint a political regime that better fits the need of my country and its people, and one at that which will invest heavily in basic services like the NHS, that will eliminate extreme child poverty, improve healthcare standards in Scotland, enshrine again equality of public service such as Royal Mail etc. These are things I believe are vital to the efficient functioning of a country and which bring with them the most vital ingredient of all, that which @BardarbungaBardarbing mentioned, and which has been reduced to such a small level in this country: hope. That is what I want for my children and grandchildren that has not and will not happen under any successive Tory or pseudoTory UK government.

Come Thursday, whatever will be will be. I am sure you have enjoyed, as I have, the political mobilisation of the people in a way we have never seen before. Whatever the outcome, that aspect of the country will not be the same for a long time. Along the way, we have gleaned insight into the devious lengths the ruling elite of our country will go to to prevent the free flow of democracy against their own agendas. The country has seen this in a way that few have seen before. Even many of our neighbours to the south are outraged at this - and this can only be good for the political future of the country. The people have awoken.

ChelsyHandy Mon 15-Sep-14 01:17:40

You're really taken in by all that, aren't you Sarah? I mean, you actually have fallen for it.

You might want to google "groupthink".

SarahScotia Mon 15-Sep-14 01:20:27

Sarah do you have real life experience in any of Scotland's industries?

As opposed to pretend life experiences? Perhaps a tad rude on the phrasing there @*BardarbungaBardarbing*, but I assume that is not what you intended! ;)

I do have experience in several large industries in Scotland, both in private companies and as a public servant. It is probably not relevant to talk about in much detail though?

dalziel1 Mon 15-Sep-14 01:23:32

Sarahscotia - I was just wondering if there is any doubt at all in your mind that the new society you describe will actually happen if there is a yes vote?

Would you still vote yes, if you knew for a fact that it won't happen?

Its a hypothetical question. I, personally, think Scotland is in severe danger of getting the polar opposite of what you describe, but only time will tell. I was just wondering if this is what yes votes are based upon?

PS How low will the wages have to be to get that coal out of the ground in a way that competes with imports?

StatisticallyChallenged Mon 15-Sep-14 01:27:50

You cannot argue logic against unmitigated idealism. You have a bucketload of the latter, but your posts show little evidence of the former.

BardarbungaBardarbing Mon 15-Sep-14 01:31:28

You sounded so idealistic I wondered!

Good Luck.

StatisticallyChallenged Mon 15-Sep-14 01:32:10

* I assert that is has left us a nation depressed and bereft of hope.*

and this is an utterly grim statement. You really need a sense of perspective if you think that Scotland is a nation depressed and bereft of hope. Look at some of the things going on in other countries around the world. I feel neither depressed nor bereft of hope, although as this referendum approaches...To say that we are such a nation plays to a collective sense of victimhood which does us no favours.

BardarbungaBardarbing Mon 15-Sep-14 01:33:13

I didn't mean to be rude but your post came across as a PR spin type of thing rather than a real person talking from experience. I 've run out of time to be super polite!

BardarbungaBardarbing Mon 15-Sep-14 01:34:31

I'm very impressed with your typing speed!

SarahScotia Mon 15-Sep-14 01:34:37

You're really taken in by all that, aren't you Sarah? I mean, you actually have fallen for it.You might want to google "groupthink".

Perhaps we can respect each others ability to think and determine for ourselves what is the best course of action for us to take? I could equally turn things back to you and say that you have been hoodwinked by the agenda of the ruling elite to slowly sell off the assets of this country piece by piece while the people are sleeping/feeling increasingly lucky just to still have a roof over their heads. They really have actually sucked you right in, haven't they? Perhaps you might want to google "sheeple". Not to mention the fact that you sing right along on the hymnsheet of perhaps the most disgusting afront to democracy I have witnessed in this country in my years on the planet in #projectfear and #BiasedBroadcastingCorporation.

I could, but I shant. ;) We can try and point this stuff out to each other in friendship and respect, but ultimately I hope we are bringing our best informed understanding to the table.


SarahScotia Mon 15-Sep-14 01:36:53

I 've run out of time to be super polite!

Hey, I have a thick skin. I will settle for respectful? ;)

I'm very impressed with your typing speed!

This keyboard runs on red wine! ;)

BardarbungaBardarbing Mon 15-Sep-14 01:37:34

Did I fail to show sufficient respect?

StatisticallyChallenged Mon 15-Sep-14 01:38:58

When you start quoting #projectfear at people on a forum that isn't twitter you don't help your argument.

BardarbungaBardarbing Mon 15-Sep-14 01:41:54

You wrote a pile of percentages I'd seen posted elsewhere by Yes activists. It's all propaganda to me; I like to hear real life experience. My vocabulary clearly annoys you though.confused

SarahScotia Mon 15-Sep-14 03:42:17

Did I fail to show sufficient respect?

You said you had "run out of time to be super polite", I get that. It just sounded a bit curt, alleging that I wasn't living in the "real world". I'm sure that was just a turn of phrase and I was too sensitive. Sorry.


#projectfear only exists on Twitter? Tell the UK establishment that SC. It is rampant, I think that is widely accepted? It certainly seems at some point that there is going to be some ramifications on the back of what we have seen. And rightly too.

You wrote a pile of percentages I'd seen posted elsewhere by Yes activists.

Which percentages do you challenge as spin, BB? If I have misrepresented something, I will check it out. Thx.

Thanks all for the chat. Had fun. Look forward to more as the week goes on. That's if the excitement doesn't kill me first. ;)

StatisticallyChallenged Mon 15-Sep-14 07:51:25

Invoking Project fear has become a means for the yes camp to diminish, belittle and attempt to ignore the very real issues being raised by people who do not believe the idealistic utopian dream of Scotland we are being sold. It doesn't contribute to the debate, it just attempts to silence it.

rino Mon 15-Sep-14 08:17:24

Sarah, you say things have "been considered", but you still don't actually know. 3 days to go and we still don't know what currency we will be using. The SNP have considered it but they don't know what will happen, they can't because it is not up to them. You don't know how our pensions will be paid, because no one will. You don't know what will happen without the British Armed Forces, or what Scotland will have to go through to get back into the EU or NATO. You don't know what will happen without MI5 or MI6, you don't know how the benefits will be paid since admin is UK, you don't even know how much it will cost to set up independence, Alex Salmond has said 200 million, but the Edinburgh trams cost 750 million, you don't know how much your supermarket shopping will cost. You don't know what will happen to the thousands of very ill Scots who are at present treated in hospitals south of the border, you don't know what will happen to blood donation our organ transplants. You don't know what will happen to mountain search and rescue. On the other hand at the moment we all know about these things - currency, EU membership and which parts we have opt out for, we know MI5and 6 are there, we know we have access to all UK hospitals. However, what I don't know is why has this Scottish Government actually reduced spending on the NHS whilst the Westminster government has increased it, decreased college places, failed to provide 12,000 nursery places and compared to the rest of the UK reduced funding for deaf children and failed to recruit teachers to teach deaf children and stopped making post graduate diploma compulsory for teachers of the deaf unlike rest of UK. If you look at what we actually know, not what we hope it is a very different picture.

BardarbungaBardarbing Mon 15-Sep-14 09:00:56

Sarah I meant only to enquire about your life experience within the industries you mentioned. I guess you are real. I've no doubt those %s are from a quoted source way back.

Do I see them having much heft in terms of convincing me iScotland will not end up in a long economic downward trend after having short term mayhem? No.

niceguy2 Mon 15-Sep-14 11:10:33

The thing for me is that the yes campaign has painted a rosy picture. Free from Westminster rule they have a huge list of things they'd like for Scotland.

Join the EU, join NATO, keep the pound, keep (most) of the oil, get rid of Trident. The list goes on.

What they're not doing is being realistic. In order to do that they need the agreement of other countries. For the EU they need 28 other countries to unanimously agree. An organisation that would take longer than 18 months to find their own arses in the dark! Against that Scotland wants to opt out of Schengen, retain the UK Opt outs including the Euro, keep some of the rebate and charge rUK uni students (something you can't do for any other EU country). So how on earth will you get 28 other countries to agree to that wishlist!?!?! It's like trying to have your cake and eat it. Sounds great on paper but your friends you are desperately trying to get in with won't be right happy with you will they?

As the BBC Scotland article by Glenn Campbell sums up saying " negotiations involve give and take and that Scotland is unlikely to get all that it wants."

dementedma Mon 15-Sep-14 16:30:42

just had a meeting with a local media company who are already feeling the effect of the worry currently in the business community, with several of their booked media campaigns now pulled with a significant loss of income. I dread to think what is going to happen after Thursday, whatever the result.....

StatisticallyChallenged Mon 15-Sep-14 17:58:43

I know dementedma. This uncertainty is really hurting a lot of businesses.

daisyfraser Tue 16-Sep-14 11:32:20

Hi All
Seems the Yes 'movement' begins to unravel already.
(I was beginning to wonder how they could both fight for Green policies AND take revenue from oil.)

The muzzling going on inside Yes is even worse than Salmond's efforts in plain sight.
Read all here for the truth from someone who joined Yes only to run once he saw the tactics -

StatisticallyChallenged Tue 16-Sep-14 12:43:21

I've read that before Dasiyfraser. I don't understand how people who are not fundamental nationalists can still believe in this - the economic arguments have fallen apart. The NHS arguments are pure fiction. They've now been shown to have been pressurising business themselves - rampant hypocrisy given their previous comments.

nicename Tue 16-Sep-14 13:07:21

And it makes us look like a right bunch of arses.

nicename Tue 16-Sep-14 13:08:47

On the upside, in the office everyone now knows that to get me 'game ready' for a tricky or potentially aggressive meeting they only have to whisper 'Referendum' in my ear before I go in.

EarthWindFire Tue 16-Sep-14 13:15:21

Always an upside nicename grin

rino Tue 16-Sep-14 15:47:55

Just to make sure I was "fully informed" I approached the yes campaigners in my local village and was given a copy of "the wee blue book". I heard about this and I think it has been quoted on here. I was assured if I read it I would be able to follow up all the references myself and get the facts. It claims to be fully referenced. However, 19 of the references are for Wikipedia! I think every school child knows you cannot use Wikipedia as a source because people can go on to it and write whatever they like and change entries. It is not a robust.

nicename Tue 16-Sep-14 16:09:45

"The Wee Blue Book"? Are they trying to be serious or is it a school project?

StatisticallyChallenged Tue 16-Sep-14 16:18:49

Ah, the wee blue book. The self published fan fiction of a failed computer games reviewer who thinks 9/11 was "funny"

nicename Tue 16-Sep-14 16:34:04


Spiritedwolf Tue 16-Sep-14 19:40:11

from Bath... lets not forget he decries English ownership of the Scottish media... and tells people who live in Scotland how to vote from Bath.

Wings over Bath
The Wee Blue Bath Book

I don't have a problem with people (Scottish/English/Welsh/NI/further afield) having an opinion on the referendum from outside Scotland, but it's hypocritical to complain about non-Scottish based media whilst running your own non-Scottish based micro media outlet.

ArcheryAnnie Tue 16-Sep-14 20:55:45

The people I know who are voting yes - and who are ardent yes campaigners - are mostly doing so because they want a better life, not just for themselves, but for their neighbours. They see themselves as permanently getting rid of a nasty Tory government and ushering in, if not a new socialist utopia, then at least a kinder, better, more just Scotland.

I think Salmond is going to sell them down the river, having used them as foot soldiers for the independence movement. The latest thing that has made me think this is that I hadn't realised notorious homophobe Sir Brian Souter was one of the the SNP's biggest donors.

This is the man that Salmond called " one of the outstanding entrepreneurs of his generation". Souter has given huge sums to anti-gay campaigns, and huge sums to both the SNP and to the yes campaign.

I also think a social justice paradise isn't going to be ushered in by a man like Salmond who is so close to Murdoch. (And I think it's hilarious that yes campaigners are going after the evil, evil BBC and leaving Murdoch, that paragon of unbiased reporting, alone.)

And, of course, those (including Scottish CND) who have been campaigning for independence because they want an nuclear-free Scotland have already been sold out by Salmond's stated desire to join NATO, thus keeping Scotland under the nuclear umbrella wherever Trident ends up.

ChelsyHandy Tue 16-Sep-14 21:07:05

Yes, I agree most of the Yes campaigners are cannon fodder for Salmond's masterplan.

flippinada Tue 16-Sep-14 21:32:03

I thought GB came across pretty well. I actually can't bear to watch AS, I'm afraid.

flippinada Tue 16-Sep-14 21:33:04

Apologies, wrong thread.

Greengardenpixie Thu 18-Sep-14 00:22:43

Yes, I agree most of the Yes campaigners are cannon fodder for Salmond's masterplan

total and utter crap - sorry! We do have a mind of our own!!
All i have to say is i hope we do get yes tomorrow. This thread shows exactly why i am voting.
YES YES YES YES!!!! it totally and utterly confirms it in my mind. Thanks!

StatisticallyChallenged Thu 18-Sep-14 08:29:10


It's a vote, not an orgasm.

EarthWindFire Thu 18-Sep-14 08:58:03


ArcheryAnnie Thu 18-Sep-14 13:09:29

Greengardenpixie where did anyone say different? I'm saying you've been lied to.

If you disagree, what do you have to say about the Trident issue? The SNP pushing it as an issue, but also saying they want to join NATO. If that isn't a blatant move to get anti-nuclear campaigners to do the SNP's work for them (as Scottish CND have done) while still being pro-nuclear weapons for all practical purposes, I don't know what is.

daisyfraser Fri 19-Sep-14 07:36:17

Well done all No voters!! - common sense has prevailed.

We Scots now have the government we voted for.

Thanks MN for the debate.
Cheers from Edinburgh

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