What I wish Alex Salmond had said last night
Last night, the Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow held the well hyped debate between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling. Like most televised debates it never ended in a clear winner. As a Yes voter, I was keen to see how Alex Salmond would try to win the audience over given the number it was being broadcast to.
To be honest, I was disappointed with both debaters. Darling with his aggressive approach and finger wagging reminded me of a nagging school teacher. Salmond on the other hand was calm to the extent that it lacked passion. The Scottish people are passionate and Alex Salmond had a chance last night to really show how passionate he was. I don’t think he did that.
So on that note here are a few things I wished Salmond had said in response to Headmaster Darling.
Darling really showed that he has spent too much time with half-way-up-their-own-arse-bankers when he started sprouting about how he had saved RBS.
In 2008 and 2009, the UK government ploughed £65 billion into RBS and HBOS (the US put up £400 billion). All Salmond had to do to win the audience was to ask why Darling hadn’t bailed out the children in Scotland that were in poverty or why he wouldn’t bail out the extra 30,000 children that are now in poverty.
If Darling had the power (which he was trying to suggest he did) to bail out RBS then he had the power to help the poorest in the country.
Alex could have killed the debate with this alone. He could have really shown his passion for helping those poor children.
On the future currency
Plan B, contingency, other options, blah blah blah. I’d hate to think that the No voters were voting no based on there not being an openly discussed plan B, C and D.
Of course there are other options!!!
Darling and co are just playing politics. In no negotiation ever in the history of the universe has one side of the party revealed all their options that they would consider.
Darling knew this, so was turning the screw. I wish Salmond had overtly stated this and been honest about the situation – Salmond’s hands are tied, so honesty is the best policy. Instead he just looked like every other untrustworthy politician by repeating the “I want what is best for Scotland” line. Salmond wanting what is “best” for Scotland is the minimum expectation!
I also wish Alex Salmond had started the negotiation for the pound right there and then in the debate. I wish he had thrown real facts at Darling on why keeping the pound is better for English, Welsh and Northern Irish business for example. “The pound is every much Scottish as it is the UK” is not a real point. Instead, he should have turned it on Darling to ask why it is better for rUK to avoid a currency agreement.
The fact is it is better for everyone to keep the pound and Darling wouldn’t have been able to get away from this. Alex Salmond had a chance to show how passionate he was about forging business ties, but failed.
On Iceland, Ireland and Portugal
Darling made reference to Scotland going bust like Iceland, Ireland and Portugal. Salmond mentioned Norway a few times, but there are a number of countries that survived the global crisis largely untouched like Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Austria.
Salmond had a clear opportunity to expose Darling for the fear tactics by highlighting that Darling was using Iceland, Ireland and Portugal (and RBS) as examples of what would happen to Scotland.
Salmond should have drawn correlations between Scotland and the good examples. This would have been much more positive.
On “no going back”
Why is there no going back? So if we make a mistake and it all goes belly up then the rest of the UK will not want us back? Why – just to spite us or are we just not that valuable?
If we’re not that valuable then why are they fighting so hard to keep us? If it’s just to spite us then why should we be part of a union that acts that way?
Darling’s approach to “no going back” is representative of England’s bully style treatment to the smaller UK countries (and even some counties in England).
It’s not acceptable.
Darling is fear mongering. Salmond should have gone to town on this.
Lastly, on fear tactics
The frustrating thing about Alistair Darling is that he actually seems like an alright guy. So the fear tactics are not as overt. His tone also suggested some level of passion, which would have done him some “favours”.
But the fact is Darling was just playing the fear game: No you’re not getting the pound, You’ll fail just like Iceland et al, Your pension pot is in doubt, There’s no going back.
He never once put an argument forward for how Scotland can be a strong nation. Alex Salmond did a decent job at keeping it positive, but I think in a summary statement he could have listed the negative points Darling and his team are continually making. They are treating the Scottish people like fools – and no Scot wants to be treated like a fool.
Salmond could have exposed Darling much more on this. He could have made a few honest comments (perhaps on the currency) and then thrown the honesty back in Darling’s face. What had Darling been honest about?
But then again, we are talking about politicians here…
I dream on
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