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Sunday 21st September 2014
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Salmond Wins With 'Debt Is Yours' Threat

Monday, 25th August 2014 23:16

Finally, Alex Salmond delivered to the hype in the television debate with Alistair Darling on Scottish independence.

The surroundings in Glasgow were grand, next door to the Commonwealth Games bowling green, but this was more of a blood sport.

The innovative ramble in to the centre of the stage. The bulldozing of plausible and legitimate concerns about his lack of a currency plan.

The blitzing of Mr Darling's attempt to reuse lines from the first debate. And the clear message shouted from the rooftops: Darling is a Tory Trojan horse.

On food banks, on the bedroom tax, on Trident, and NHS "privatisation", Mr Salmond painted the leader of Better Together as an enabler of centre-right control over centre-left Scotland.

Happily for the First Minister, a rather high number in the audience seemed to share in this vitriol, launching highly personalised attacks on Mr Darling.

Voting "Yes" is the only way to protect Scotland, was Salmond's sell. Mr Salmond critiqued the No campaign's so-called "project Fear" a fortnight ago. On Monday night he doubled up on his own version, Project Feartie, perhaps.

The debate was brutal. Mr Darling was accused by an audience member of essentially shaming Nye Bevan's legacy in creating the NHS.

He was also "accused" of privatising the Post Office (untrue). Mr Salmond jabbed his finger at Mr Darling as he blamed him for the bedroom tax (which he and the Labour party will rescind).

And he also tried to make a huge play of Darling admitting that Scotland could use the pound unilaterally (the "Panama" option). (This is true, but Scottish banks would lose access to central bank funding, so goodbye RBS HQ).

But, for me, the really big development, was the candid, transparent use of threat by Mr Salmond over currency union.

No currency union, means no share of assets, which means "the debt is yours". The First Minister said this repeatedly and clearly. This is high wire stuff with implications for the banking system.

More than that, it suggests that a yes vote will lead to a messy divorce, not an amicable split.

And that Yes vote was made a little bit more likely or rather, less unlikely. Indeed the ICM/Guardian exit poll had a thumping win for the First Minister.

We are in for an interesting few weeks.