'Salmond strikes back', bank holiday weather and Ebola nurse's bravery

The second televised debate ahead of the referendum on Scottish independence prompts much analysis of the participants' performances.

The Daily Telegraph declares First Minister Alex Salmond to be "back in the fight" after a debate that "often descended into a slanging match". And it's widely held that the nationalist leader got the better of pro-union Better Together campaign chief Alistair Darling in a reversal of fortunes since the first debate.

"Pumped up Salmond bounces back," declares the Independent. For Glasgow's Herald, the headline was "Salmond strikes back", while the Sun puts it bluntly: "Blundering Darling smoked by Salmond." A snap poll by ICM for the Guardian suggests 71% of viewers thought the same. However, the paper's "poll of polls" still has the "no" campaign in front, while the paper speculates that "shy" respondents who don't want to admit their true views may make up a crucial portion of "no" voters.

Quentin Letts writes in the Daily Mail that though Scottish warriors once "tried to murder each other with curved skean dhus", the grey-suited men did battle with "tremendously bushy, black eyebrows". However, during the eight-minute "cross-examination" section, he says: "The evening turned farcical, the two rivals jabbering at the same time. It was like listening to a badly tuned radio."

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The Guardian's Michael White agrees: "It was impossible to tell who was quizzing who. 'Don't lecture me,' said Salmond. 'Don't lecture me,' replied Darling." For the Telegraph's Tim Stanley: "It was reminiscent of a fight in a pub car park. Without the happy resolution in a midnight kebab."

The Times rates each man out of five in areas such as worst blunder, best statistic, funniest joke and screen appeal, with Mr Salmond outscoring his rival by 20 points to 15 in the final reckoning. However, while the Telegraph's judging panel also scored the debate in the SNP leader's favour, they felt he didn't do enough to answer key questions.

For the Herald's Magnus Gardham, it was a "striking turn-around from [Mr Salmond's] lacklustre performance in the first televised clash three weeks ago". Prof John Curtice, writing in the Scotsman, says: "Arguing he had three Plan Bs, the first minister was not cornered on currency in the way he had been three weeks ago... A much better night for Mr Salmond. But will it be enough to sway many voters?"

The Financial Times reports: "It was not so much that Mr Salmond had new answers to Mr Darling's persistent questioning on an independent Scotland's currency or oil reserves, just that he delivered his replies with more conviction."

Times cartoonist Morten Morland sketches Mr Darling cringing on the platform as his opponent announces: "Look at the facts... Scotland's got oil, England's got Ebola."


Summer brollyday

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While Monday was a normal working day in Scotland, the Metro bemoans the "chilliest August bank holiday ever" for the rest of the UK. It records sub-zero temperatures in parts of Northern Ireland and Scotland, while several papers use photo montages - of drenched beach lifeguards, cricket fans wearing rain ponchos and bedraggled rock festival campers - to show just how miserable things were.

Three weeks' worth of rain in one day made for a "bank brollyday", as the Daily Star put it, while the Daily Express talks of a "dank holiday deluge". The Daily Mail reckons west London's Notting Hill Carnival looked more like "a scene from Singin' in the Rain" and renames it "Sopping Hill" but uses several photographs of "daringly dressed dancers" to prove that the downpours didn't spoil proceedings.

Tourism bosses reportedly said the bad weather cost the economy £1bn, with the Times saying: "Holidaymakers deserted resorts early yesterday. Instead of soaking up the last rays of summer, they sat in their cars under grey skies as motorway queues formed." Another Times headline reports: "Train delays wreck bank holiday break."

Despite all that, the Guardian has time in its editorial column to praise weather forecasts. "Sunday night's forecasts made clear what was in store. The Scots could expect a fine day. Down south, England could prepare for rain." However, it's less impressed with Met Office "yellow warnings... that there may be some impact to holiday traffic and outdoor activities". The paper argues: "Don't debauch the currency of necessary warnings with needless scare stories about what happens when it rains."


'Very brave'

Tuesday's papers have more on the British nurse flown back from Sierra Leone to be treated for Ebola.

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The Daily Mirror leads on comments attributed to a friend of William Pooley who said he's expressed confidence that the doctors treating him at the Royal Free Hospital in North London will "help him recover in weeks". It features a glowing tribute from a colleague in the west African country who said he'd begged to work at the Kenema Government Hospital when he heard about the outbreak: "He told me he had a calling to go there. I advised him not to go. But he pleaded with me. He is very brave."

Meanwhile, the Guardian produces comments given by Mr Pooley during an interview just 10 days ago, in which he spoke of his pride at seeing patients recover. "It's great seeing them walk away after some of them have been in a terrible state and seeing them on the wards," he's quoted as saying. The Telegraph reports that he has been "credited with saving dozens of lives by making sure a hospital at the centre of the outbreak remained open".

The Times says Mr Pooley is being treated in the equivalent of a "plastic bag" to ensure his infection is not passed on to staff through bodily fluids but quotes doctors saying his care will be limited to "fairly basic supportive treatment", similar to that offered on neighbouring wards. And the Sun says the nurse has vowed to friends: "I'm going back to Africa as soon as I'm better."

His efforts lead the Telegraph to praise aid workers like him as the world's "unsung heroes", while the Sun contrasts Mr Pooley - "the best of the best" - with the jihadists of Syria "representing the worst mankind has to offer".


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'Mean United'

After making a shaky start to the English Premier League season, it seems Manchester United are splashing the cash in a bid to make up lost ground on their rivals. The Daily Mail's back page says "£70m Di Maria arrives at United" - a reference to Argentine midfielder Angel, who was at the club's Carrington training ground on Monday to discuss a British record transfer from Real Madrid.

Assuming that deal is in the bag: "Now United target £34m Vidal," reports the Independent. This time it's a Chilean - Arturo Vidal of Juventus - who's reportedly on manager Louis van Gaal's shopping list. Despite the largesse, the Mail renames the club "Mean United", reporting that the mother of an eight-year-old was refused a refund after she forked out more than £90 on a replica shirt bearing the name and squad number of Belgian star Adnan Januzaj for her son - only for the club to change his number from 44 to 11 a week later.


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