The latest outburst from the First Minister that Scotland would default on its debt is no longer just a part of political knockabout but possibly the most seriously damaging phrase ever to be blurted out by the resident of Bute House.
His uncanny knack of soundbites brought us “the pound is sinking like a stone” and “the pound is a millstone round our neck” but this threat on debt could bring pariah status on Scottish borrowing from international markets.
Argentina has recently defaulted on its debt yet again and has interest rates of 24% and inflation around the same figure, as the markets will simply not lend to Argentinian banks at anything below rates used for the highest risk borrowers.
Every person living in Scotland with a mortgage, a bank loan, a car loan or a credit card will be horrified at the prospect of Scotland defaulting on debt.
I genuinely beg leading figures in the SNP to rein in Mr Salmond’s outrageous behaviour or Scotland will pay with a brutal loss to our credibility.
This goes way beyond September 18 - this is monumentally concerning for the future of Scotland whatever the outcome of the vote.
Thomas McCafferty, Drumbrae South, Edinburgh
Bernard Ponsonby wins the big debate
I think the winner in this debate is Bernard Ponsonby who did a sterling job refereeing and asking some very incisive questions of the two protagonists and maintaining order and focus.
I’m no more impressed by either politician’s answers and evasions than I was beforehand.
I remain undecided between Alex Salmons’s land of Heather Honey and the UK’s paternalistic patronisation. Maybe I should emigrate to Norway!
Gillian Milne, West Calder
Why the delay on Scottish powers?
Ahead on the referendum debate on Tuesday, 5 August, there was a three-party pledge that Scotland would quickly be given new powers in the event of a no vote.
The joint statement, signed by David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg, offered extra tax and legal powers to Scotland.
What precisely are these powers?
How soon after a no vote would these powers be given to Scotland?
What guarantees are there that these powers would be transferred?
Why has the process of transferring these powers not already started?
So many questions and no answers.
Andrew Farquharson, Grassmarket, Edinburgh
Politicians will bungle it whoever wins
I recorded the independence debate for convenience, but the few snippets I saw on news broadcasts led me to delete it, and I certainly won’t watch the “return leg”. I don’t care whether Scotland becomes independent or not: our dogma-driven politicians will bungle everything as before.
What does concern me is the quality of argument deployed, in which respect I was appalled by Darling’s new “tough guy” performance. Personalising an argument is one of the weakest and most dishonest forms of debating.
When Salmond mentioned Scotland getting governments it didn’t vote for, Darling replied that he didn’t vote for “him”, but he was stuck with “him” (not the SNP government).
He then belittled the First Minister on the subject of currency by comparing him negatively with an eight-year-old child, who, he claimed, could rattle off the flag description, capital city and currency of foreign countries.
Really? Well, Brazil recently had long-term publicity through the football World Cup: how many readers of this paper, let alone enthusiastic eight-year-old fans, could supply these three details of Brazil?
It may well be that Salmond was equally guilty of substandard argument; either way, I take this attitude as an insult.
Robert Dow, Ormiston Road, Tranent
Norway is not the real role model, Alex
After seeing the independence TV debate and the reference Alex Salmond makes to Norway’s oil fund I would like to make the following comments:
To start, Alex Salmond does not give the whole picture about Norway, here are the facts he does not mention.
Norway only uses 4% of its oil fund yearly.
Pension age in Norway for men and women is 67 years and the Norwegian goverment encourage everyone to work until 70. As like Scotland Norway has an aging population and a small work force to pay for pensions.
Norway has a national health service but it differs from the UK. A visit to your local GP will cost GBP 18, a day visit to the hospital will cost GBP 30, prescriptions are not free.
There are no free travel for pensioners.
New road building is partly financed by tolls all over Norway. If you live in Oslo a return trip to the main Oslo airport will cost GBP 8.
All these facts I know to be true as I live there.
Ian T Cunningham, Edinburgh