Monday 30 September 2013


As I see it, public debate can only reasonably take place between people who hold relatively similar positions in the campaign and therefore approximately the same level of responsibility and authority.

So, that should be as follows.

Managers/Organisers of the respective campaigns

Blair Jenkins (YES) and Blair MacDougall (NO)

Chairmen of the respective campaigns

Dennis Canavan (YES) and Alistair Darling (NO)

Ministers responsible to their respective governments

Nicola Sturgeon (YES) and Michael Moore (NO)

Heads of their respective governments.

Alex Salmond (YES) and David Cameron (NO)

The idea that Alex Salmond would debate with Alistair Darling is just silly. Alistair Darling is a back bench opposition MP who will be quite incapable of speaking on the part of the UK government. He wouldn't be able to commit to spending. He wouldn't be able to respond to the questions that need to be answered, because he simply hasn't the power.

It's not a question of status. I'm sure for those that care about that sort of thing, an ex-chancellor of the exchequer is every bit as "important" a person, by British class standards, as the first minister of a celtic fringe nation. It is, however, about the authority that Darling has to commit the UK government  to any particular action. He has none, but as FM, Alex has the ability to commit the Scottish government to actions.

If Mr Cameron thinks that he is too busy running the world under Mr Obama's direction or too important to debate with a mere first minister, who may, in any case be infected by a virus, then perhaps he should send along the man who represents his government in Scotland, Michael Moore. 

However, if I believed in this thing with every fibre of my being, as Cameron once told us he did, I'm damned sure I'd not be sending along Mr Pointless to fight my corner.
For Panda Paws!


  1. I agree apart from Michael Moore in his Scotland Office sinecure. It is well reported that George Osborne is the heid bummer in the Coalition No team and therefore it is he that Nicola should debate, not the tea boy in the Scotland Office.

    1. I agree as he has been whipped by Nicola already and Ozzy likes being whipped allegedly only not verbally.

    2. LOL@ CH... I heard that too...

    3. If Ozzy wants a whipping, physical or otherwise, the surely it is John Swinney who should have the honour.I mean at least HE has managed to do something that Ozzy has NEVER managed to do.....balance the books!

    4. That is a very fair comment. Id love to see these two debate finance.

  2. Jeez, Roddy... Is Osborne mad? That is a complete reversal of the truth.

    Although he's so thick and he knows the press is on his side... And we help t [pay this idiot's salary and his expenses.

    I'd be happy enough for Osborne to come and debate with Nicola. She can easily cope with him.

  3. Surely it isn't unreasonable to argue that any debate on Scotland future should primarily focus on those with a legal right to vote?

    Cameron can't vote. He has no say, the SNP fixed that one up alright.

    Isn't this not just a cynical, and sordid attempt by Salmond to change the topic. Shift it off the failing 'YES' bandwagon, and onto the 'we all hate the tories' topic (which is entirely beside the point)

    1. Well, no, I don’t think so Dean.

      He may not be able to vote (and why would he; no one would expect the whole of the EU to have a say in Britain’s referendum on membership), but he holds the power in the London government, which controls Scotland’s finance. He has been allowed airspace and platforms to put his point of view, but never face to face with anyone who would actually question him on that point of view. He has a vested interest in Scotland staying, financially, and of course, because he hardly wants to go down in history as the man who lost Scotland…with all that that may mean.

      He has also indicated some more powers, or responsibilities… change of the relationship, should we say no. But he won’t say what, although he demands that the Yes campaign divulge everything. He also demanded that YES should comply with the letter of the directions from the Electoral Commission, but now refuses to do so himself. Why should he not debate? He’s not like an ordinary Englishman from Oxford. He has power.

      The “we hate Tories”, is relevant. We have for around 60% of the last 60 years, had a Tory government and on not one occasion have we voted for it. Even when we don’t have a Tory government since the Thatcher years we have had a labour government which was mainly about “heir to Thatcher” politics. Voting YES will rid the country of that worry.

      There may be a new right spring up in Scotland, but it will be a Scottish right, caring about Scotland. Not one where Ruth Davidson parrots everything that Cameron says, even when he does U-turns.

      The same could be said for Labour.

    2. What is it you are unwilling to understand Dean?

      PM is leader of Westminster which rules the whole of the GB&NI.

      FM is leader of the Scottish devolved government who is giving the people a referendum on independence from the jurisdiction of GB&NI.

      Very simple really if one takes off those bitter blinkers'

      A wee read for you.

    3. Another good post from Derek Bateman there CH.

  4. Most folk don't really know all of the political 'big hitters' and what their procedural role is in the overall scheme of things. Surely then it would be good to see the First Minister take Mr Darling apart over independence as most folk recognise Darling as a Labour 'big hitter' and so this would encourage them to go for independence after seeing Darling's arguments sliced and diced and handed back to him.
    The heads of Bitter Together and Yes Scotland might be procedurally correct for a debate but no one would watch as no one would know who they were ( apart from us anoraks ;))

    1. I take your point Monty.

      Mr Average wouldn't mind, but, as I said, Mr Darling has no authority at all. He's a backbench opposition MP. Even if he stands next time round; even if Labour wins, he probably won't be in the cabinet.

      It might be good for YES, because Alex is a more astute and able debater than he is. Alex says what he wants to say. Alistair is a stutterer who says "you know" more than he says anything else. Added to that Alex would be able to say what WILL happen in the two years until the first general election. Alistair could only say what HE THINKS MIGHT happen.

      Alex would almost certainly win, but it wouldn't be an even or fair debate.