A MEMBER of the audience on BBC Scotland’s Debate Night was applauded after he spelled out why he had changed his opinion from supporting the Union to “absolutely” backing independence.

The show saw SNP MSP Jim Fairlie and Alba leader Alex Salmond argue the case for independence, while Tory MSP Roz McCall, Labour MSP Claire Baker, and Scots LibDem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton made the case for the Union.

In one memorable moment, one member of the audience told the three Unionist representatives that they needed to “take a hard look” at themselves.

She started: “You’re busy blaming the Scottish Government …”

One of the politicians attempted to cut in off the audience member, forcing the host, Stephen Jardine, to intervene to allow them to continue.

The National:

She asked them to have the “courtesy” to listen to her point in full, eliciting a frown from Cole-Hamilton (above), before going on: “Westminster cuts the budget to Scotland from the revenue we send down.

"It gets continually cut and you’re busy slagging off the NHS, ‘they’re not doing their job properly’, they’re not getting the funding from the Scottish Government needs to look at this.”

Cole-Hamilton then argued it “wasn’t about cuts from Westminster” but “direct choices the SNP government have made over 16 years”.

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The audience member also argued for more locally sourced food and other groceries, saying that too many goods are shipped into Scotland and not enough is produced within the country.

Elsewhere in the show, another audience member said he had seen the effect independence had on other small nations while spending time abroad – and argued for Scotland to do the same.

“I know it’s difficult to judge priorities and get that right,” he started, before arguing that independence would likely need to come before change, not the other way around.

“I’ve spent a bit of time in some other countries, small countries, who are doing very nicely thank you very much. Places like Estonia, places like Mauritius, who are envied by their neighbouring Reunion because as a department of France they can’t do the things that they can do in Mauritius.

“It’s just looking at that bigger picture.”

The audience member said that he was living in England in 2014 so could not vote in the independence referendum, but he would have backed the Union.

He then went on: “Unfortunately there was another irresponsible referendum after that in 2016 and we’re now in a situation where the whole arrangement has changed.”

He added that he would “absolutely” now vote for independence, sparking applause, before going on: “We need to get that first, and then move to addressing the other [issues]. It’s a question of priorities.”

The Debate Night broadcast also saw Salmond, the former first minister, argue for exploration and extraction to continue in the North Sea – with offset requirements being in place.

The Alba leader said there was an “expectation of £80 billion coming in over the next few years in oil and gas revenues and by devoting a small portion of that to invest in Scottish carbon capture projects, we can be using that pipeline network to get the carbon dioxide back into the North Sea, which is enough to store 200 years worth of UK emissions”.

“So instead of pushing North Sea jobs off a precipitous height or talking about a just transition that can’t be met in that timescale, why don’t we invest in the technology which might make an oil and gas future compliant with the future of the planet,” he said.