If anything, it engendered in those viewing - probably of all opinion & none - a great deal of frustration. Why? Because both Salmond & Darling fell into the standard political bickering that has no basis or importance in reality. Darling pressed for a 'Plan B' on currency but received no answer. It begs the question, how engaged in life (never mind politics) do you have to be to understand that if Salmond said Plan B was to use the pound anyway (which by the way is Plan B); Darling would go off on an economic diatribe so dark and incomprehensible - we'd all be off stubbing our toes and stepping with our bare feet on upturned plugs just to cheer ourselves up a bit.
Salmond then pressed Darling on whether he agreed with Cameron's thoughts around Scotland being a successful small independen- you know? I can't be arsed repeating it. Darling obviously prevaricated - he couldn't be seen to agree with Cameron because Salmond would in turn have banged on about that. Again, how engaged does a brain have to be to understand it doesn't matter whether Labour Darling agrees with Tory Cameron because we all know you can't get a fag paper between Tory and Labour policy and they both want us all to vote no.
Here's the really frustrating thing: we know what currency we'll be using and no one cares if Darling agrees with Cameron or not - its all political posturing; great fodder when seen through the skewed prism of a newspaper headline but completely fucking pointless in real life.
I'd hoped - and there was a hint of it in Holyrood at the start - that Scotland would engage in more pragmatic politics and leave this frustrating childish point scoring at Westminster where they have it down to a fine art.
I think those of us on the Yes side expected Salmond to use Darling as a mop to give the studio floor a good going over - that he didn't and our reaction to it is a component of the famed Scottish Cringe. Like the classic underdogs we are, driven by what I'm going to call National Subordination Syndrome within the UK: when someone capable does step up, our expectations go through the roof. Even if they draw or win narrowly on points; we are struck down with despondency, its business as usual in Scotland, back to our place of subservience we know so well. There are some in Scotland who revel in that familiar disappointment, they hold it close their chest and chew on a corner like a chastised kid with a much loved comfort blanket.
As in the video above, Alistair Darling has spoken before about the need for political and currency union together and that a currency union would mean ceding budgetary controls - ergo - meaning it wouldn't be real independence. My question is; we have a form of political & currency union now, while Westminster controls the over-all amount of cash Scotland gets to spend on devolved areas - it has no specific control over budgets. Holyrood decides how much it spends of what little it gets back in specific areas - heck - Holyrood has budgets for services that don't even exist in England. How would a currency union with an independent Scotland mean Westminster or the BoE gets to control budgets north of the border when it isn't doing that now?
Am I missing something or is Darling scaremongering about things he's trying to tell us won't happen anyway - how the hell does that work?
(Unionists on Twitter: don't bother answering that, I know about lender of last resort & interest rates blah blah blah - contrary to what you think, you haven't got a clue either - its yet more bluff & confusion masquerading as information.)
The real skinny is this: Better Together feigns certainty while accusing the Yes Campaign of making assertions. In reality neither are being entirely straight because its about likelihoods. What is likely to happen in a given set of circumstance. After a Yes vote, circumstances will change like they already have since the beginning of the campaign, meaning Unionist parties are now 'promising' more - albeit unusable - devolution for your No vote.
The chat about having a Plan B (or not) is a campaign tactic, trying to claim in a currency union Scotland wouldn't independent is so much arse-gravy - its also totally beside the point (as is trying to get Darling to admit he agrees with David Cameron., why bother? We know he does on more than enough issues for us to feck him off at the first opportunity.)
Some might also have noted a subtle new paradigm in the currency debate, the pound doesn't belong to England, Northern Ireland, Wales or Scotland - it belongs to the UK. This brand new wheeze from the marketeers of Better Together gets round the awkward fact that Scottish endeavour over the past 300 years (and oil over the past 40) helped make the Pound what it is today. We have just as much right to it - even if independent - as the rest of the UK's component nations. One wonders what the good people of England think about the Pound not being theirs - well - those who know England isn't the United Kingdom anyway.
In the aftermath, some audience members were asked if they'd had their minds changed. Many said they'd still be voting No because they thought it was the 'safe' thing to do. No voters should be in no doubt; Better Together and Alistair Darling do not represent the status quo, there is no such thing - voting No is not a safety blanket the corners of which you can safely sook. Both Campaigns represent something new, both represent change. The absolutely key point here? A No vote cedes control of that change where-as a Yes vote takes it back.
We could go on for ever, nit picking points from either side of the debate. But here's the thing: much as many politicians like to think its all about them - its actually not and voters shouldn't fall in to the same trap. The referendum on the 18th of September is not about Alex Salmond or Alistair Darling, its about having a government that doesn't treat Scotland as an afterthought.
Did anyone win? STV got good ratings and it certainly fired the debate. Unfortunately, since the format wasn't conducive to anything approaching informative TV, the only winners are the trolls. They have yet more slurry to spray around social networks further hampering genuine efforts to inform those not currently engaged.
I'll let you decide what campaign has what roll in that potentially damaging equation.
To STV Producers? Do us all a favour and get rid of the section where politicos get to cross examine each other - it doesn't work and ends up being an impenetrable rammy. Also, what's with the robotic audience members who are obviously political plants - is it beyond your abilities to get some normal folk in?
I'm finished now.