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Salmond needs a convincing win in Tuesday’s big IndyRef TV debate to move the polls to YES

August 3rd, 2014

Can he pull off the Holyrood 2011 magic?

One of the big moments in Alex Salmond’s career was a big TV debate of Scottish party leaders in late March 2011. At the time the SNP was trailing LAB in the Holyrood polling and it did look as though SLAB was going to return to power.

In the debate Salmond came across brilliantly and it was blindingly obvious that the Scottish LAB leader at the time was no match for Salmond as the nation’s first minister.

And so it turned out. The polls moved in the final weeks sharply to the SNP and the party was returned with a majority. It was that election victory that paved the way for the September 18th Independence referendum.

    With the latest referendum polling overnight from Survation showing NO maintaining its 6% lead Salmond needs something to turn the campaign round.

On Tuesday he’ll be facing the former LAB chancellor and now leader of Better Together, Alistair Darling, who is in a different league from Iain Grey, the 2011 leader of SLAB.

The expectation, according to Survation, is that Salmond will win but leading on expectations beforehand is not necessarily a good thing. Cameron led on expectations in April 2010 before the first general election debate with Brown and Clegg and we all know what happened.

In any case being deemed in instant polls the winner of the debate is not the same as winning the election.

Salmond has to change minds of those segments of the Scottish electorate still very nervous about moving from the status quo.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble