TV debate on Scotland's future turns heated

2014-08-05 22:57:00 | Al Muslim News
TV debate on Scotland's future turns heated

 

The leaders in the battle for and against Scottish independence have clashed in a heated live television debate, six weeks ahead of a historic referendum on whether Scotland should leave the United Kingdom. On Tuesday, First Minister Alex Salmond, leader of the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP), went head-to-head for the first time with Alistair Darling, a fellow Scot and leader of the "Better Together" campaign. "My case this evening is this: no one, no one will do a better job of running Scotland than the people who live and work in this country," Salmond said. "On September 18 we have the opportunity of a lifetime. We should seize that opportunity with both hands." But Darling warned of the risks of going it alone and argued that Scotland would pay too high a price to leave the union, saying: "Remember this - if we decide to leave there is no going back, there is no secondThe pro-independence "Yes" campaign in particular had seen the encounter as a vital opportunity to use Salmond's talent for debating to close a stubborn gap in opinion polls. A poll tracker by the Financial Times newspaper currently puts the "Yes" vote at 36 percent, 10 points behind those who would vote "No" to independence. Some 16 percent remain undecided. Ahead of the debate, the leaders of Britain's three main parties vowed to hand over more powers to Scotland's devolved government if voters decide to stay in the 307-year-long union with England. Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband and Liberal Democrat chief Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, signed a joint declaration that would give Edinburgh more tax-raising control. Darling said that with these new powers Scotland could have the "best of both worlds" - more control and the support of a strong United Kingdom. However, one of the key players in the campaign for Scottish devolution in the late 1990s, retired clergyman Kenyon Wright, branded the promise of new powers a "desperate bribe"..

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