Isabel Hardman Isabel Hardman

Scottish independence debate: Alex Salmond vs Alistair Darling – live


Welcome to tonight's liveblog of the STV debate between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling. We'll bring you rolling coverage and analysis of the exchanges.

21.50 Well, we didn't learn a great deal that was new from that. But what we saw was impassioned. Many people didn't see it, because STV Player, the only option for those not in Scotland, froze. But for those fortunate enough to have seen the whole thing, and for the Scottish voters who will decide the result, that was an engaging debate. Here are some thoughts on each man's performance.

Alex Salmond: Calmer and less shouty than he often is at FMQs. He nuanced his 'you're-too-negative' attack by portraying Better Together's narrative as being based on half-truths or misquotes, such as misrepresentation of Jean-Claude Juncker's comments on Scotland's future. But he went a bit too far at some points, wittering about aliens and driving on the other side of the road. Part of this strategy to portray warnings simply as 'campaign rhetoric' includes refusing to contemplate anything other than a currency union. But here he was weak: he looked as though he simply hadn't thought of the contigency plan for a currency union not going ahead. As for whether he still appeared too arrogant to woo those women voters, he didn't give a great impression of humility. He rightly mocked Darling for arguing Better Together was optimistic and positive, but he could have gone further in offering a passionate, exciting vision of an independent Scotland. Some of his best lines were when he talked about protecting Scotland from further Westminster tomfoolery, rather than a sports coach-style pep talk about potential.

Alistair Darling: More aggressive and sarcastic than he's been up to this point. He was at his very best in the currency union section, which I suspect will be takeaway from tonight's debate.

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