More heat than light generated in TV debate

Tuesday night’s much-heralded televised debate on the independence referendum pitted two heavyweights from either side of the argument – but the verbal punch-up between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling probably generated more heat than light.

Understandably, Mr Darling, who heads the pro-Union Better Together campaign, posed many questions on a variety of subjects, but particularly so on currency, in the event of Scots choosing independence in next month’s vote. Many commentators felt Mr Salmond was unable – or chose not to – give a straight answer to some of them.

Yes campaigners have repeatedly dubbed the other side’s tactics as “Project Fear”, claiming the No camp is playing the scaremongering game. But asking what the position would be on issues such as taxes, EU membership, border controls, pensions and – yes – currency in the event of Scotland going it alone is not unreasonable.

However, while much has been said about what might – or might not – happen should the referendum go Mr Salmond’s way, relatively little light has been shone on the possible consequences of deciding to stay within the UK.

A No vote would not mean no change. A No vote would change the relationship between Scotland and the UK parliament – regardless of political persuasion. A No vote would give Westminster the sort of democratic legitimacy north of the border it has never previously enjoyed.

The Scottish parliament of 1707 which approved the Act of Union did not speak for the vast majority of Scots – self-interest and greed appear to have been the overriding factors on that occasion 307 years ago.

But on September 18, the true voice of Scotland will be heard. And, as Better Together has often claimed, there will be no going back – whatever way we vote.