Scottish debates: Salmond excels as Murphy slumps

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An online STV poll has revealed that Alex Salmond handsomely ‘won’ the SKY ‘Scottish debate’ broadcast yesterday, the only UK wide debate thus far to include the SNP….

An online STV poll has revealed that Alex Salmond handsomely ‘won’ the SKY ‘Scottish debate’ broadcast yesterday, the only UK wide debate thus far to include the SNP.

The debate, chaired by Adam Boulton, featured Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond who was pitched against Jim Murphy for Labour, Alistair Carmichael for the LibDems and David Mundell for the Conservatives.

The survey showed that Mr Salmond’s performance had attracted 43% of the votes, Mr Carmichael 33%, Mr Mundell 18% and Mr Murphy a disastrous 5%.

A lively debate, excellently handled by Adam Boulton, saw the four politicians clash over Iraq, ID cards, Trident, Banks, fuel price and youth unemployment.

After the debate, SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson said Mr Salmond had been the “clear winner”.

He added: “There has been nothing to choose between the three Westminster leaders in the other debates, but there is a clear leader here in Scotland.”

During the debate, the SNP leader explained that an independent Scotland, like other nations “could have coped” with the banking crisis.  Mr Salmond insisted that, unlike the UK government, Scotland would not have allowed the banks to behave in the fashion that brought about their downfall.

However, Labour’s Jim Murphy argued that Scotland could have been “destroyed or broken” by such events.

Mr Mundell attacked the SNP leader saying: “You’re the only party on the planet that doesn’t recognise that there are going to have to be cuts.  You talk as if there don’t have to be any cuts at all and you’re going to magic the money from oil revenue.”

The SNP leader countered by pointing to the massive oil fund accumulated by Norway and suggested that the cuts proposed by all three London parties would jeopardise the fragile recovery.

LibDem representative Alistair Carmichael made an impassioned plea for the voters to abandon the two ‘old parties’ and embrace change.

One unsavoury moment however saw the Dunblane massacre used in a blatant attempt at dragging up the Al-Megrahi affair.  The question was fielded well by the four representatives, however this morning at least one Scottish newspaper has disgracefully tried to use it in order to attack the SNP.

Meanwhile an equivalent BBC debate later that evening witnessed host Glenn Campbell set the agenda for what turned out to be a disappointing sequel to the earlier SKY discussion.

Stewart Hosie replaced Alex Salmond and Malcolm Bruce sat in for Alistair Carmichael as Jim Murphy and David Mundell again made up the four.

The show was poor as Campbell made frequent interruptions that negated flow.  A small studio audience saw their questions routinely ignored and cut short as the host adopted an inquisitor style that served no-one.

In the end there was no clear winner as the participants struggled with a format that rendered audience participation secondary to the hosts apparent desire to steer the discussion.

The battle of the debates saw SKY emerge as the clear victor.