Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Dis-United Kingdom?

Next month's vote on independence for Scotland will be close. And debates have not persuaded many people to change their minds.

No Clear Winner as Scots Debate Independence
Despite fierce, sometimes angry, exchanges, a televised debate on Scottish independence from the rest of Britain failed to produce a decisive victor… a little more than six weeks before Scots vote.

Opinion polls indicate that Scots will reject independence on Sept. 18, making the two-hour confrontation particularly important for the leader of the campaign for independence, Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmond, who has a reputation as a talented debater. Most commentators suggested, however, that he had not produced a knockout punch during the exchange with the leader of the campaign to keep the union, Al​istair Darling. A Scottish newspaper, The Scotsman, declared online that a “fiery debate” had produced “no clear winner.” Each side proclaimed itself happy with the outcome…

Salmond (l) and Darling (r)
In several exchanges, Mr. Salmond argued that Scotland was being run by political parties in London that Scots did not support. Mr. Darling focused on the uncertainty surrounding independence, including the issue of which currency it would use…

There were also impassioned exchanges over the issue of Scotland’s representation within Britain, with Mr. Salmond arg​u​ing that “for more than half of my life, Scotland has been governed by parties that we didn’t elect at Westminster,” referring to the government in London.

Mr. Darling responded that this was the outcome of democracy and that he had never voted for Mr. Salmond…

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