Sunday 1 July 2012

The Big Debate: Ladies' Night

So for the third in the series of Big Debates (curiously, only a month after the last one - did the SNP demand a rematch after their previous disappointing performance?), BBC Scotland decided to have an all-female planel, chaired by Brian Taylor injecting some much needed jocularity for a change.

Fiona Hyslop showed herself to be very adept at talking a lot but saying little but was at least slightly less annoying than La Sturgeon. Following Patrick Harvie's untimely yet predictable exit from the SNP's Yes Scotland fiasco, it must have been galling for Hyslop to hear Margo MacDonald, one of Scotland's better known and longest serving nationalist politicians, admitting that she declined to have anything to do with the ill-starred campaign.

Margaret Curran seemed a little shrill and defensive at times when trying to put her point across - no great improvement on Johann Lamont's previous appearance. In contrast, Annabel Goldie sounded very confident and authoritative. In fact, following her colleague Ruth Davidson's appearances in previous Big Debates, the Tories have proved to be the most skillful debaters so far. Goldie also raised the important point that the "geographic share" of oil revenues that now seem to be an implicit presumption in the SNP's promises of future prosperity would face a minefield of negotiations, both constitutional and commercial.

But the star of the show must have been the scary-looking guy with the bad teeth and the "Scottish not British" T-shirt, sitting at the back of audience, who managed to get two questions in. What a great advert for Scottish nationalism!

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