To now attempt to argue that it is not appropriate for Alex Salmond and David Cameron to engage in such a debate conveniently ignores some of the facts.
Irrespective of how one views our current democratic structure, the two most senior government ministers elected on platforms supporting independence and supporting a continuing union are, respectively, the First Minister of Scotland and the Prime Minister of the UK.
The “Edinburgh agreement” confirming the legal legitimacy of the referendum was signed by the same persons.
The two most prominent, and many would argue the two most capable, political debaters of the current era, are those ministers who lead their respective governments and whose performances are regularly scrutinised in the public forums of Holyrood and Westminster.
From a personal perspective I admit that I would probably enjoy the spectacle of Alex Salmond dismantling Alistair Darling’s attempts at justifying the failed social and economic policies of successive Westminster governments, never mind his attempts to explain why we should trust people who say that Scotland can get a better deal in the future from within the UK when those same people deliberately misled us in the past over the value of Scotland’s oil resources.
However, whatever our personal perspectives, political leanings or perhaps antipathies, surely the Scottish public deserves to witness the highest level of serious debate possible to help them decide which way they will vote in determining Scotland’s constitutional future.
It comes as no surprise that David Cameron refuses to debate with Alex Salmond on Scottish independence.
His poor performance in the 2010 pre-general election debate with Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg probably denied him outright victory and forced him and his fellow Tories into coalition.
As in Europe, his feeble attitude invites ridicule as he continues to shout from the sidelines, afraid to get involved.
He treats the Scottish public with contempt, preferring Alistair Darling and the likes of Gordon Brown to do his dirty work for him.
Why should the Scots take lessons from a former Labour chancellor and a ex-Labour prime minister whom, it could be argued, are largely responsible for the current financial shambles that has caused so much misery and heartache?
This is like asking the fox to look after the chickens.
David K Seeley