Scotland politics

Scottish independence: Aberdeen referendum debate round-up

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Ahead of the 18 September independence referendum, BBC Scotland hosted a debate in Aberdeen giving voters the chance to quiz politicians and commentators at the heart of the vote.

But the event wasn't just for the audience facing the panel - through social media, using the #bbcindyref hashtag, plus email and text - you told us what you thought.

Here are highlights from the on-air discussion, and the pick of what you said about our debate from the oil capital of Europe.

The panellists

Annabel Goldie: Baroness Goldie, MSP for the West of Scotland and former Scottish Conservative Party leader.

Nicola Sturgeon: Deputy Scottish first minister, MSP for Glasgow Southside and deputy leader of the SNP.

Jim Murphy: MP for East Renfrewshire and shadow international development secretary.

Sir Brian Souter: Founder of the Stagecoach Group and SNP backer.

The questions

1. Would an independent Scotland be less vulnerable to terrorism?

2. Would taxes rise in an independent Scotland?

3. Does the prospect of a strengthened UKIP presence in Westminster pose more risk to Scotland than independence??

4. What's better for higher education, independence or the Union?

The tweetgraph

BBC data journalist, Marc Ellison, developed an online tool to follow what was being said on social media, using the #bbcindyref hashtag.

He said: "Last night's event in Aberdeen generated the second-highest number of tweets (2,067) posted during any of BBC Scotland's referendum debates to date.

"Online posts plateaued at about 50tpm (tweets per minute) until the 21:33 mark, when it increased to 71tpm.

"This surge was prompted by the following question: Does the prospect of a strengthened UKIP presence in Westminster provide more risk to Scotland than independence?

"A second, smaller surge in tweets (62), came on the 21:39 mark as many of the Twitterati directed abuse at MSP Jim Murphy after he said the SNP voted with the Conservatives in 1979 to bring down a Labour government at Westminster, enabling Mrs Thatcher to come to power."

"A final tpm bump in came at 21:44 with the ire of many tweeters this time aimed at Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon following her statement that, "every person in Scotland could vote Labour and we wouldn't get a Labour government if England votes Tory."

What you said

Nick Eardley: Opened iplayer for #indyref debate. Briefly thought Sturgeon and Murphy were looking a bit different

Andrea Mullaney: Getting so distracted by the organ on #bbcindyref. Keep thinking the Phantom of the Opera is going to pop up & start playing dramatic music.

Tom Gordon: I've spoken to "at least one" Tory who told me there would be a currency union, Sir Brian Souter says to deserved groans #bbcindyref

Cat Headley: This divided audience reflects our country and this depresses me. #bbcindyref

Fiona White: At the end, I would've liked to see the audience given the chance to move seats based on whether their opinion had changed #bbcindyref

The arguments

Nicola Sturgeon said she would never support tuition fees for Scottish university students.

She argued that, as someone who benefited from free education: "I'll never be part of anything in politics that takes that away."

When asked if he could promise free education, Mr Murphy said: "Each of the political parties will say at the next Scottish election what their priorities will be."

Read the full story here.

The iPlayer

If you missed the referendum debate from Aberdeen, check it out on BBC iPlayer.

Join in

If you've enjoyed tweeting, texting and messaging on the Scottish independence referendum, you might now like to be in the TV audience, putting your questions directly to the politicians.

If you would like to be in the studio audience for the remaining debates, email your details to or fill in this form to apply.

1. Name and address

2. Which programme location are you applying for?

3. Which two issues would you most like to discuss?

4. How old are you?

5. What is your gender?

6. What is your occupation? If you are retired, what was your occupation before retiring?

7. Which ethnic group do you belong to?

Other (please specify)

8. Do you consider yourself to have any disabilities?

9. If disabled, do you require wheelchair access?

10. If there were a General Election tomorrow, which political party would you be most likely to vote for?

Other (please state)

11. If there was a Scottish Election tomorrow which political party would you be most likely to vote for?

Other (please state)

12. If there was an independence referendum tomorrow how would you vote?

13. How did you vote at the last General Election?

14. How did you vote at the last Scottish Election?

15. Are you a member of a political party?

16. If you are a member do you take an active role?

17. Are you active in any campaign groups?

18. Are you active in any referendum campaign groups?

Other (please specify)

19. We contact applicants individually - if any of your friends or family are applying with you please supply their names and telephone numbers so that we may contact them to discuss their applications.

* Required information