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'No one can stop us using pound': Salmond rallies in Scotland debate

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'No one can stop us using pound': Salmond rallies in Scotland debate

Alex Salmond gave the ‘Yes’ camp a boost as polls declared him a resounding winner in a televised debate on Scottish independence.

The performance of Scotland's first minister against former chancellor Alistair Darling was a far cry from the weak showing he put in the first debate.

In an emotive opening address held in front of 200 people at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery, Salmond said: ‘We are a rich nation, a resourceful people. We can create a prosperous nations and a fairer society, a real vision for the people of Scotland.

‘This is our time, it's our moment, let us do it now.’

In response Darling said: ‘I know people want change, but they also want security on jobs, on pensions, on their children's future.

‘A good line is not always a good answer, it's answers now we need.’

The currency an independent Scotland would use was at the heart of yesterday’s 90 minute debate, as Salmond looked to narrow the gap between the ‘No’ camp ahead of next month’s referendum on 18 September.  

‘No one can stop us using the pound sterling, it’s an internationally tradeable currency’ Salmond said.

‘I’m seeking  the best option for Scotland, so our prosperous economy keeps the pound sterling.’

Darling told Salmond to stop playing games: ‘You are taking a huge risk if you think it is just going to fall into place,’ he said.  

‘I think the currency union would be bad for Scotland because our budget would have to be approved not by us, but what would be a foreign country.’

Darling once again accused Salmond of not having a Plan B if an independent Scotland was forced to abandon sterling, although he admitted there was nothing to stop the country using the pound.

This prompted Salmond to label Darling a ‘one trick pony’, while pointing out he actually had ‘three plan Bs for the price of one’.

The three options included using the euro, a separate currency, or using sterling unilaterally and pegging it to the pound.  

The pair also clashed on the North Sea oil revenue figures provided by the Yes campaign, with Darling questioning their validity.

‘You are promising all sorts of things on the basis of a revenue that is very volatile,’ Darling said.

‘To rely so much on something ... it is gambling our children's future which is totally unacceptable.’

A snap Guardian ICM poll had Salmond as the clear winner by 71% to 29% margin. The same poll had Darling winning by a narrower 56% to 44% gap in the first debate.

Meanwhile 98% of those who had planned to vote Yes before last night's debate saw Salmond as the winner, while only 59% of No voters believed Darling had pinched it.

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