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Every word counts – Alex Salmond & Alistair Darling debate the issues, hopefully without scripted soundbites. First and last response to Alex Salmond agreed in advance.

Who will win? – pundits pontificate

Smug / Banker

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AS

Alex Salmond

Wearing: Dark blue suit, pink tie, white shirt

Direct mode of address:Mostly three-quarter profile. Making eye contact with audience in hall rather than audience at home.

Interruptions

Sound bites: We have the opportunity of a lifetime, We should seize it with both hands.

My vision is for a just society.

A majority of people in Scotland did vote for the SNP but in the UK elections we did not vote for the Tory party.

It’s our pound as well as England’s pound.

I just happen to have brought along a transcript…

Mr Salmond argues that the Scottish government could “end austerity”.

Why is the “No” campaign is called “Project Fear”?

I will melt in the sun before I allow tuition fees to be charged to the people of Scotland.

There will be no disruption to pensions in Scotland.

Swinney has balanced the books every year for last seven years, something no chancellor has been able to do

Demeanour: Reaction shots during opening statement of AD smirking. Drinking water. Sweat formed on upper lip.

The first minister uses a familiar “Yes” campaign argument, that Scots will get the governments that they vote for in an independent Scotland.

Alistair Darling

Wearing: Dark grey suit, light blue shirt, blue and white polka dot tie.

Direct mode of address: Mostly making eye contact with the TV audience.

Interruptions

Sound bites: In Scotland we have a population which is aging more quickly than the rest of the UK.

Oil revenue is declining and famously volatile.

I want you to imagine for a moment you are wrong.What is your plan B?

I made it “abundantly clear” that a currency union would only work with a political union.

Using the pound without a currency union would be “ruinous” for Scotland’s economy.

Stupidity on stilts. (x2)

I’ve always said all countries can go it alone if they take the risks that go with that.

The strength of the UK meant I could protect the economy during the financial crisis.

Because public spending is more per head in Scotland than rest of the UK, they can provide these services.

The pension that you draw will be paid for by the people who are working at that time.

Demeanour: hand chopping movements, finger pointing.

Major tactical mistake by the Better Together not to set out a comprehensive list of extra powers that they all agree on.

Streamed worldwide
Figures from Mori poll this week
40% Yes
54% No
7% Undecided

The first minister uses a familiar “Yes” campaign argument, that Scots will get the governments that they vote for in an independent Scotland.

Woman in audience says to AS it’s not good enough to say “it’ll be all right on the night”

Format – opening statements, questions from Bernard Ponsenby, questions from audience, “Spin room”.

Debate

In my opinion it was a very poor quality debate involving prevarication, trickery and outright deception. A direct answer to a direct question would be a refreshing change but this was an example – much of the time – of slippery avoidance.

Has it firmed up my decision? Sadly not.

A snap ICM/Guardian online poll of 512 Scottish viewers scored the eagerly-awaited contest 56 per cent to 44 per cent in favour of the Better Together leader.

The poll showed 93 per cent of No supporters believed Mr Darling had won, compared with 82 per cent of Yes supporters calling the contest for Mr Salmond.

Mr Darling also won on the arguments – but Mr Salmond was rated as having the stronger personality, by 47 per cent to 39 per cent.

However, though showing a victory for Mr Darling on the night, the poll suggested the debate may not have much impact on people’s voting intentions.

After the clash, 53 per cent said they would vote No next month, unchanged from the start.

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