— Mike Smithson (@MSmithsonPB) August 5, 2014
But can Salmond versus Darling change the fundamentals?
Make no mistake – this is a massive day in the Scottish IndyRef Campaign. For tonight the First Minister of Scotland takes on the leader of “Better Together” the former UK chancellor, Alistair Darling, in a two hour long live TV debate.
So far this is the only such debate that had been agreed and those wanting independence are hoping that Salmond can use it to turn the campaign round to YES.
The polling has all been that NO is leading albeit with quite a variation between the pollsters. Survation at the weekend had the NO lead at just 6% which suggests that with a 3% swing YES could make it on September 18th.
Salmond is charismatic, articulate and engaging and all the betting has been that the post debate polls will have him as the winner. But Salmond knows that this is about much more than being deemed winner of a TV event. He has to deal with the concerns of those Scottish voters who are nervous about making such a jump apparently into the unknown.
Darling is a much quieter figure but no less formidable.
In all these big TV political occasions it is not necessarily the detailed arguments that are central but the manner in which the protagonists are seen by TV viewers. Some are suggesting that Darling should play it “boring” and let Salmond overdo with hubris.
The event is being organised and broadcast in Scotland by STV and will be available to viewers round the world via YouTube. No doubt links will be available during the day.
I’ll be watching with Betfair app open on my tablet ready to move if opportunities arise.