Live blog – never done this before!
Nicola Sturgeon V What’s His name, Alistair Carmichael, Scottish secretary. Very short opening statements
On no! Bernard (I put it to you, First Minister) Ponsonby is sniping from the studio.
Q – Do you accept that RUK have a legitimate say in indy debate?
Nicola – Independence can transform Scotland. ‘Scottish and UK govts signed an agreement to accept decision. It is in interests of RUK for Scotland to keep pound.
Q – Automatic membership of EU?
N – We are already a member. Chair keeps mentioning Spanish PM’s comments that we wouldn’t be part of EU [Spain have their own indy movement in Catalan. Hardly neutral observer]
A C – Scotland would have chosen to leave – no automatic entry into EU
Q – You represent less than 20% of vote but are Scottish Secretary.
A C – Blusters, doesn’t address point. We had 13 years of Labour which reflected our voting [that’s all right then]
Q – mandate?
A C – blusters
Q – Currency?
N – No-one in UK govt has clearly said we won’t get to keep pound.
Q – Cameron can veto
N – Not in their interests.
Q – Plan B?
N – They won’t stop us using pound – as much our pound as rUK’s
N – In interests of both us and rUK
Q – Policy to veto currency union
A C – Blusters quite badly. ‘Highly unlikely’
Why would independent Scotland want to be part?
N – We want fiscal independence.
Stronger fiscal position than rUK
Q – Structural deficit
N – Better able to address this when independent.
Q – How many years to reduce deficit [come on! Who fucking knows?]
N – UK govt has put us into deficit
Q is not being firm enough
Q – Where is your vision?
A C – We have published [something]
Q – What do we get if we vote no?
A C – My vision is anyone on minimum wage will not pay tax.
N – policies cutting welfare and putting more into poverty
Ponsonby – White paper re-hash of arguments [i.e. addressing the issues]
Then contradicts saying White Paper should concentrate on ‘bread & butter’ issues’
Colin somebody – No definitive answer on currency from either side.
Ponsonby – Post indy, self interest will rule for both sides.
Colin – Constructive so far, engaging with issues – will hear more about Spanish PM’s comments.
CROSS-EXAMINATION – 9 MINS EACH
N – No campaign has been demanding answers? What will happen to Scotland if we vote no? How many Scots children will be in poverty by 2020?
A C – We inherited in 2010 poor economy
N – How many children . Child Poverty Action Group – 50 – 100,000 more children in poverty by 2010 if we vote no.
A C – We are making difficult decisions, blah blah
N – Repeats q again. Is 100,000 more acceptable?
A C – How will you finance funding gap?
N – What powers if we vote no? Give us 3 powers.
A C – Begs Q to stop interrupts – told to answer question, which he doesn’t
N – Give me one power
A C _ again asks for help from Q
N – Scottish funding after ref? Barnett formula? 4 billion less? Come clean
A C – Nicola is scaremongering. Argues about former Scots secretary and position on Dr Who [?]
N – Has not answered a Q
N – We will always get govt we vote for if indy. Gurantee that Liberals will not impose a Tory govt?
A C – Still whines about Qs – doesn’t answer any q.
N _ Child poverty, powers, impose.|Tory govt – no answer.
AC – How will indy Scotland work? Membership of EU – Spanish PM again. Do you accept that we will leave EU.
N – No. Transition period where we will negotiate terms of continuing membership.
N – We will not be out
A C – Not continuing membership.
N _ It will be. Not you job to stand up for Scotland. Risk to our membership is not independence, but EU referendum
A C – again whines about Nicola playing too hard.
N – You said you couldn’t gurantee membership of EU because of EU vote.
A C – Currency. Salmond said years ago that pound was millstone round our neck. Do you agree?
N – Circumstances change
A C – Makes sense to have currency union – we are 2nd biggest market of r UK – it makes sense to keep
A C – USA is 1st market – we don’t need currency union. Why do you want this weak independence?
N – We want fiscal independence.
A C – Shipbuilding. Independence threat to jobs, quoting some union convener.
N – I will support Clyde if independent or not? You said that contracts will not come to Scotland as a matter of law. Clyde best place to build them. You were quoted in Portsmouth newspaper talking down the Clyde.
A C – When has UK built warship abroad?
N – They are looking abroad at the moment.
THAT’S THE DEBATE THEN
[Descended into talking over each other a bit too much – lots of heat, but little light. Alistair Carmichael wasn’t very forthcoming, and Nicola a bit too much sniping. It didn’t flow very well as they didn’t allow each other to speak.]
I give it to Nicola.
Ponsonby – Nicola won – when she was being cross-examined, she turned the tables.
Colin agrees – Nicola won.
Ponsonby – Nicola’s issues were about child poverty etc – Carmichael’s issues were dry.
Colin – Carmichael wasn’t thinking on his feet.
[Off to my kip. Go Nicola!]