Solid match-up

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One of the most unattractive aspects of Alex Salmond is his trade-mark smirk and the smug way he has of evading crucial questions from opponents or the general public. Like Gordon Brown, he is a politician for whom prolonged exposure does no favours and he has been restricted during the independence referendum campaign to set pieces and distant waves to camera. 

In the up-coming television debates, Salmond will face the solid and reliable Alistair Darling, one of only three ministers to serve in the New Labour cabinet continuously from 1997 to 2010. 

The media are routinely dismissive of the Loretto and Aberdeen University alumnus, but it would be a serious mistake for Salmond to underestimate this veteran survivor. The Edinburgh advocate is not one of Holyrood’s chumps and not only has a far better mind than the First Minister, as a former chancellor he also has a much better grip of finance. Darling is much criticised for Project Fear, but the fact is that breaking up the UK is scary.

Rev Dr John Cameron

Howard Place

St Andrews, Fife