In a letter to First Minister, Alex Salmond, the Prime Minister has confirmed he will not take part a TV debate on Scottish independence. David Cameron insisted that the unionist cause in any debate should be presented by Alistair Darling, who chairs the pro-Union campaign group Better Together. The response from Mr Salmond can be summed up in one word – Feart! He believes the prime minister is afraid of facing him in a live political debate.
The correspondence between the two men was started by Alex Salmond. He urged the Prime Minister to take part in a televised debate, insisting that Mr Cameron was central to the campaign to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom. A refusal, he argued, would be neither consistent nor credible.
But in his reply, while Mr Cameron agreed there should be television debates in the coming year, Mr Darling had been asked by all of the pro-UK parties in Scotland to lead the campaign. It was not up to the Scottish First Minister to decide who should lead for the No campaign. In his letter, he explained that it was “a well understood and reasonable principle that you get to pick your own team’s captain, but not your opponent’s as well.” He added that it was “time for the two campaigns and the broadcasters to meet and start working to make these debates happen.”
In his response to this rejection, Mr Salmond said that he had “noted the prime minister’s apparent unwillingness to take part in another General Election debate and I’m sure people will draw their own conclusions from that. Indeed, I believe his refusal to debate Scotland’s future with me can be summed up in one word – “feart”. He insisted that he had wanted to counter what he called the “spurious and unfounded claims” the Prime Minister had made about an independent Scotland.
The people of Scotland will vote in the independence referendum on 18 September next year. They will be asked the straight yes/no question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”