Salmond steam rolled Alastair Darling with combative stance
Salmond steam rolled Alastair Darling with combative stance Reuters

The Scottish National Party's leader Alex Salmond steamrollered former Chancellor Alastair Darling in a debate over Scottish independence in combative style - but failed to deliver any more clarity over key issues such as currency.

Snap polls following the televised debate at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum showed that 71% of viewers thought Salmond got the better of Darling, who seemed flustered by his opponent.

However, those looking for clear answers were no better off than after the pair's previous tussle: there was no substance behind Salmond's style.

Whereas in the previous debate Salmond was smashed by Darling's interrogation over what an independent Scotland would use as a currency, this time round the SNP's leader was simply indignant and aggressive.

"We don't need permission to use our own currency," said Salmond.

"We don't need permission to use our own currency," said Salmond.

"The argument actually is that they will deny us the assets of the Bank of England. The reason that won't happen is that if you deny us the financial assets, then the UK will get stuck with all of the liabilities."

Darling, exasperated, called it "a nonsense option".

"Even your insults are retreats from the first debate," he added.

"He can't answer basic questions on currency. He can't answer basic questions on tax and spend," said Darling.

Salmond appeared not to be listening and delivered a rallying volley: "I want a mandate so we can go in with the will of the Scottish people, for the common sense option of a currency union."

Where Salmond arguably scored most points was over his warning about the plans to privatise the health service and the future of the Scottish NHS.

Darling accused Salmond of scaremongering over his claim, and questioned his timing of the claims.

On the subject of national debt, Salmond said it was a fact that the rest of the UK would still have to meet the bill, even in the event of independence; Darling said he "can't have best of both worlds" if they break away but they can have "best of both worlds" if the countries stay together.

"He's asking us to take his word for it. Well, I'm sorry I can't," he said.

"We do not need to divide these islands into separate states in order to assert our Scottish identity. I say that we all have no option other than to say politely, respectfully, but firmly, no thanks to independence."

Salmond was not taking these claims lying down.

"No one... will run the affairs of this country better than the people who live and work in Scotland. No one cares more about Scotland," said Salmond

"We are a rich nation, a resourceful people. We can create a prosperous nation and a fairer society: a real vision for the people. This is our time, our moment."

"You are getting three Plan Bs tonight. They are just like buses Alistair: you expect one and then three turn up."

Questions over what currency an independent Scotland would use; how it would tackle its own debt; how much oil is in reserve; healthcare; pensions – all remain unanswered.