Salmond: I should have done better on currency

SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE: Alex Salmond has admitted he could have made his position on the currency of an independent Scotland clearer during his televised debate with No campaign leader Alistair Darling.

Alex Salmond (L) and Alistair Darling will take part in another TV debate next week. Picture: Getty

The First Minister and Mr Darling clashed in the STV referendum debate earlier this month.

During the live TV debate, Mr Darling repeatedly pressed Mr Salmond to set out what his Plan B would be if an independent Scotland failed to secure a currency union with the UK.

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The SNP leader, speaking on a radio phone-in programme yesterday – exactly a month before the referendum – was asked whether he was disappointed in his TV performance and if he would change his approach when the two men face each other again on the BBC next week.

Mr Salmond said: “I wish I’d explained one aspect in more detail to people, and I’ll definitely take the next opportunity to do that, and that was the question of the currency.

“Apart from that, the tone I wanted to adopt was the tone of conversation with people as opposed to shouting and waving.”

During the radio phone-in, which saw Mr Darling take calls from listeners for an hour, followed by the First Minister, Mr Salmond was also asked if he had “got it wrong” by asking a series of questions about supposed “scare stories” about driving on the right hand side of the road and a possible alien invasion.

Mr Salmond told Clyde 2: “No, I was trying to illustrate the extraordinary nonsense of the ‘Project Fear’ campaign and then come to the essential point that Alistair couldn’t answer, and he couldn’t answer it again today on your programme ten days later, he can’t bring himself to say – even as David Cameron has done – that Scotland could be a prosperous independent country, he just cannot bring himself to say that.

“It’ll be quite interesting if Alistair can get his head round saying it in the next debate.”

Mr Darling was repeatedly pressed during the phone-in if an independent Scotland could be a prosperous country.

He said: “I’ve always said Scotland could go it alone; however you’d have to cut your cloth according to your means.

“I think it would be less successful and we’d be less prosperous if we left the UK. If you look at countries like Denmark, you pay a lot more in tax, the amount of money that people have got to spend is less, its energy prices are some of the most expensive in the world, so the idea that if you become a small country all your problems go away and there’s lots of money around, it’s just simply not true.

“Our best chance of making sure that we can provide jobs in the future, decent paid jobs, is being part of the UK, being part of something bigger.”

The second TV debate between the pair will be on BBC One Scotland and across the rest of the UK on BBC Two from 8:30pm next Monday.

The 90-minute debate will be staged in Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow in front of an audience of 200 people selected by polling and research consultancy, ComRes.