Scot Night’s debate was a disaster. Both participants (Nicola Sturgeon and Johann Lamont) should be invited back, with a new set of rules. I would suggest that both apologize to all Scotland’s voters, each accepting a share of the blame.
I don’t think either can be trusted not to heckle if it is physically possible to get away with it, each forgetting the chair, each assuming she won’t do anything. Until they can prove they’ve learnt their lesson, have them in soundproof booths, with the chair able to switch off their microphone if they refuse to stop speaking until its their turn. Eventually they can earn the right to get off the naughty step.
I don’t think Nicola would object to that. I know she can do better. We all know that. I suspect Johann won’t be nearly so happy to go through this all over again because she lacks confidence that she can do any better. She is just happy Nicola looked almost as bad as she did.
Johann has little incentive to subject herself to a rational debate. And that is precisely why the Yes Campaign needs to fight for such a debate. We make this call not primarily out of naked self-interest. We do it to help the undecideds make up their minds because, as Tam Dean Burn pointed out, last night’s car crash will have turned the don’t knows into the don’t cares.
While Bernard Ponsonby and his STV colleagues are weighing up the pros and cons of asking Nicola and Johann to go head-to-head again, I would appeal to Nicola Sturgeon not to just wait to see what happens. I think it would be good if she offered her own personal apology, the sooner the better.
Tell the voters that you have seen the recording, Nicola, and that you realize how bad this looked, that you are not rejecting viewer feedback on twitter, that you have learnt a lesson or two and will try to do better in the future…. Make such an apology and I predict you will occupy the moral high ground. Make such an apology before Alex Salmond has to subject himself to Johann Lamont’s questions at First Minister’s Questions tomorrow, and you give him a chance to praise you for your maturity. How about it, Nicola?