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Sketch: the Salmond v Darling debate, round 2

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum was a fitting choice for the Salmond-Darling rematch.

It has the odd jawdropper - the Spitfire, the Dali - but generally it looks like Scotland's grandest junkshop, its maze of galleries tottering with random loot.

Surrounded last night by the bric-a-brac of empire, the First Minister and Alistair Darling seemed well aware of the lesson of its echoing halls.

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For the loser and their cause will surely be consigned to a dusty corner of history there too.

Will it be the independence movement that gets ignored by sullen school trips yet unborn? Or the Union that first-time voters return to reminisce over in their dotage?

Determined it won't be the latter, the Better Together chair went straight for the FM's missing Plan B if there is no currency union.

Mr Salmond, who previously said sharing the pound was economically irresistible, said he now needs a mandate to make it work.

But if something goes awry there are "three Plan Bs" in the wings. "Three Plan Bs for the price of one," he exclaimed. "They're just like buses. Three turn up at once. Three Plan Bs."

Mr Darling was taken aback. "Just haud on a bit," he said at one point, forgetting he lives in Morningside.

Increasingly confident, and with a vocal chunk of the audience behind him, the FM jabbed away at the Labour MP about Westminster perfidy, oil-glorious-oil, and the NHS.

"You're in bed with the Tory party!" he laughed, starting to enjoy himself.

The cross-examination was more livid than cross, as both men turned incoherently pointy and shouty.

As was if proceedings had suddenly been replaced by a CCTV feed of chucking-out time.

"Don't you lecture me on that!" Mr Darling squealed, as the FM asked about health budgets.

"Stay calm," Mr Salmond cooed after further effervescence.

An expert knife-twister, the FM even offered to include Mr Darling on his "Team Scotland" negotiating team in the event of a Yes vote.

You didn't need telepathy to know the two-word answer.

By the end, Mr Salmond was sounding hoarse while Mr Darling was looking for a hearse.

A poll declared the ex-Chancellor had been thumped.

If voters agree, somewhere in the Kelvingrove labyrinth there's an empty tea chest with his name on it.

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