darling  By G.A.Ponsonby

Better Together head Alistair Darling has pulled out of a live TV debate with First Minister Alex Salmond.

The shock decision by the leader of the No campaign follows confirmation on Sunday that Mr Salmond had agreed to take part in a televised debate after repeated requests from Better Together.

Commenting on Sunday, on the day it was confirmed the First Minister would take part in the head-to-head, Blair McDougall, the campaign coordinator of Better Together, said: “Alex Salmond’s TV debates bluff has finally been called.

“This is a welcome, if long-overdue, climb-down by the First Minister.”

However, according to the Telegraph newspaper, the anti-independence campaign has now announced it is pulling out of the debate because of a possible date change.  The original proposed date of July 16th may be changed in order to avoid a clash with the Commonwealth Games.

Better Together have attacked STV, complaining that the broadcaster has bowed to pressure from Mr Salmond in allowing the date change.

A Better Together spokesperson said: “This is astonishing stuff. STV told us that they would not negotiate on the date of this debate. They were emphatic that the date would not change.

“That hard line stance lasted until Salmond decided that, even although he was free on that date, he didn’t fancy debating Alistair. STV have simply rolled over. It is not on.”

However the claim that a date had been formally agreed was challenged by STV who this evening published the responses from both sides after STV invited them to take part in the debate.  The broadcaster had proposed a two hour debate on July 16th, but claimed that neither side had formally accepted the date.

According to STV, the First Minister’s office indicated his preference was for a debate with Prime Minister David Cameron.  However, Mr Salmond accepted that, should Mr Cameron decline to participate, he would agree to a debate with Mr Darling after the Commonwealth Games, which concludes on August 3rd.

The First Minister had agreed to a proposal from STV to a referendum debate in front of a live audience in Edinburgh on July 16 if the Prime Minister David Cameron accepted the challenge.

And if the PM continues to duck a debate, the FM agreed in principle to a debate with Alistair Darling on a date shortly after the conclusion of the Commonwealth Games.

The First Minister’s letter said: “Should the Prime Minister continue to refuse to participate in a head-to-head televised debate, the First Minister will indeed agree in principle to debate with Alistair Darling or another No campaign nominee, in the terms set out by your letter of June 18, on a date shortly after the Commonwealth Games have taken place.

“Given your desire to secure the first televised debate involving the First Minister we believe the proposals we outline above would allow that landmark debate to take place live on STV.”

Responding to Alistair Darling pulling out of the STV debate, a spokesman for the First Minister said: “This outburst at STV from the No campaign shows they are rattled and fraying at the edges.

“Our position is clear and has been throughout – we will pursue the Prime Minister for a head to head debate on STV’s proposed date of July 16 or in advance of the Commonwealth Games.

“And the only thing stopping a debate on that date is David Cameron’s refusal to step up to the plate.  If he continues to duck the debate, we will take on Alistair Darling after the Commonwealth Games.”

An STV spokesman said: “STV is firmly committed to staging a live TV debate between the First Minister and Alistair Darling.  We have not received agreement from both sides on the proposed date of July 16 and are reviewing the proposed date on that basis.”

Better Together revealed that Mr Darling has instead accepted an offer to take part in a TV debate to be hosted by the BBC.

The broadcaster, which has moved to a pro-Union stance in its coverage of the referendum, has set a date of August 12th, however it is not known if the First Minister has agreed to take part in this rival debate.


2014-06-24 23:02

So basically, they are only willing to go ahead if there is a guaranteed event which can bury the trouncing or if it is a carefully set trap by the unionist BBC.
2014-06-25 06:24

Bettettogether are at their usual faux outrage routine, the question is why?
It is clear from the STV website that the FM position had been known since the start of the process ie offer to debate Cameron on 16 th July failing which debate substitute after Commonwealth Games.
So why the pretendy outrage? it is in there press release where they mention the BBC debate in mid August. They dont want the STV debate they prefer the BBC to chair it, now why could that be?
2014-06-25 06:27

Well, I am not surprised because Darling is all hot air, he does not do debates and just prefers sniping from a distance unchallenged, in safety.

Of course he would want to have it with the BBC, as it will be rigged against Salmond and then give him a slight chance of something. Even that would not help him being done over, but biased it would be.

BT are using faux indignation with STV just so Darling can escape a thrashing. All their talk is laced with bravado, until they have to be brave of course.

Of course the First Minister is quite right not to use the BBC, they are the pits. BT needs to be shown up for the cowards they are.
2014-06-25 06:30

So basically Darling wanted to set time, date and place and when this wasn’t forthcoming didn’t fancy a fair fight.

Who knew?

And now he needs his aunty to hold his hand. Oh dear.

It appears Mr Darling’s anytime, anywhere boast is coming back to haunt him. Not to put it too indelicately, but considering I’ve just had unsolicited HMG propaganda dropped through my letterbox this week, the FM is looking to debate with the head of the no campaign and UK government first and foremost, not Mr Darling.

Mr Darling will be attended to in the debating forum when that little task has been either attended to or ruled out. If Mr Darling is still insistent on a debate with his direct opposite number I’m sure Mr Canavan will be more than happy to roast (cough) ahem, debate with Mr Darling. 🙂
2014-06-25 06:31

BBC is the place for prima donnas right enough. I seem to remember the BBC snubbing Mr Salmond with their live leadership debates. Let Alistair Darling debate himself. He’ll still lose and get himself in a fluster.

I remember STV got Cameron to commit himself to a live debate with Alex Salmond, although he left himself lots of weaseling room. Usual fickle guff from a Tory MP.
2014-06-25 07:00

If the FM agreed to use the July 16th date to debate with Darling, I wonder what excuse he would use to wriggle out of that. However, if he’s so desperate to debate on 16th, we could get Nicola round to really scare him. Better togetherUKOkNoT  hanks are an absolute joke.
2014-06-25 07:42

Hand up all those who are truly surprised at this turn of events.
2014-06-25 08:03

This rabbit known as Darling ought to be well used to the glare of the TV camera lights so that’s not what scares him then.
What really scares him and the rest of the Better Together – No Thanks pack is the demolition job Salmond or even Sturgeon would inflict on them in front of the nation, glued to their television screens.
Blustering, bubbling contracticting himself throughout and clearly uneasy he would be the very best argument for a Yes vote next to Tory toffs lecturing us on self determination.
2014-06-25 08:07

so stv says no to a date change after request from better together but bows to preasure from first minister to change the date. stv should be called scottish separatist tv
2014-06-25 17:31

You obviously did not read the piece and who the FM agreed to debate on which dates. By making your point you confirm that you cannot parse ordinary English sentences.
2014-06-25 20:06

Quoting Danny Alexander:

Alistair Darling, leader of the Better Together campaign, has said he is willing to debate with you, as leader of the pro-independence campaign, anytime, anywhere. I hope you will take up his offer and I want to extend the same offer to you.

of 30-January 2014, see archive.today/zwxWs

Also in his open letter to the FM, per Politics.co.uk
Quoting Danny Alexander:

Alistair Darling, leader of the Better Together campaign, has said he is willing to debate with you, as leader of the pro-independence campaign, anytime, anywhere. I hope you will take up his offer and I want to extend the same offer to you.

see archive.today/zwxWs


2014-06-25 09:06

None of this is to do with the Salmond Darling debate….It’s all to do with making another side issue the focal point ….to stop the debate focussing on the issues that matter.
2014-06-25 09:22

A scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail comes to mind.
2014-06-25 09:44

So Darling pulls out of a Debate 48 hours after agreeing and the media gives better together and Darling the front in excuses blaming Alex Salmond for there own actions to be honest i knew Darling never really wanted to debate and it seems all they want to do recently is play pathetic games with the intention of Blaming Alex Salmond or vilifing any independent supporters etc and if proof is needed that the media are trying to help the No campaign and spin a lie on events heres one:
Jacque De Molay
2014-06-25 13:09

Is anyone really surprised that he pulled out.

I have never seen him take part in a real debate or being grilled by a demanding interviewer.

Even a simple question seems to send him over the edge so he has probably done the right thing for HIM!

He wanted a managed set piece in which he could rant through – Pound / Bank collapse / Seat at the big table / your granny will be a alien etc

The thought of an actual debate!!!!
2014-06-25 14:43

I hope everyone annoyed at all this chicanery will also be along at BBC Pacific Quay this Sunday 29th for the protest at 2pm – no excuses for not turning up ! How about everyone e-mail or text the BBC scotland radio “news” programs in next two days asking them to come along in person or bring an interview recorder ?
2014-06-25 15:51

5th August now agreed
2014-06-25 16:08

Scottish independence: Lawyer Mike Dailly apologises for Salmond Twitter abuse
I was surprised to read this on the BBC,Mr Salmond accepted the apoligy unlike a certain lady the other week who was not abused.

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