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In the aftermath of the second Salmond vs Darling #Indyref TV debate, Message Matters' Directors Peter Duncan and Andy Maciver waxed #indyref with Kezia Dugdale MSP.

You can listen to the ninth podcast in our @InsideIndyref series here:

Let us know what you think on Twitter @InsideIndyref, and keep listening for more podcasts from key campaign insiders as the weeks become days in the countdown to September 18th.

Happy listening...

The Message Matters team



As the nation prepares for the second Salmond vs Darling #Indyref TV debate tonight, Message Matters' Directors Peter Duncan and Andy Maciver caught up with founding member of Women For Independence, and former Director of Communications for Yes Scotland, Susan Stewart.

You can listen to the ninth podcast in our @InsideIndyref series here:

Let us know what you think on Twitter @InsideIndyref, and keep listening for more podcasts from key campaign insiders as the weeks become days in the countdown to September 18th.

Happy listening...

The Message Matters team



Hot on the heels of the first #Indyref TV debate between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling, Message Matters' Directors Andy Maciver and Peter Duncan caught up with representatives of both sides of the campaign for some post-debate analysis. 

First up was Stephen Noon, Chief Campaign Strategist for Yes Scotland.

You can listen to his take on the #ScotDecides TV debate here:

Stephen was followed by Anas Sarwar MP, whose analysis from Labour's Better Together perspective can be heard here:

Tell us what you think. You can comment on the @Insideindyref Twitter page, where we’ll continue the debate and podcasts in the run up to September 18th.


The Message Matters team



Dear green places: Braidburn Valley Park in Edinburgh is one of this year's Green Flag winners. A record number of Scottish parks will be flying a Green Flag this year, with 59 parks and green spaces awarded the honour. Parks all over Scotland won flags, with Dumfries and Galloway, Stirling and North Lanarkshire represented amongst the winners for the first time.

The Green Flag Award, administered in Scotland by Message Matters' client Keep Scotland Beautiful, is the benchmark for a quality green space. This year’s awarded parks are run by local authorities, park managers, a university and a community group.

Entrants are assessed by volunteer judges who usually have a background in parks management, conservation or ecology. They judge against eight criteria testing whether the park or green space is: welcoming; healthy, safe and secure; clean and well-maintained; sustainable; manages conservation and heritage; has community involvement; markets itself, and has good management.

Derek Robertson, Chief Executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said:

“Scotland’s green spaces are going from strength to strength, with more parks flying the Green Flag than ever before. This is a reflection of how determined an increasing number of local authorities and park managers now are to make their parks the highest quality green spaces they can be.

“All over Scotland people are caring for their towns, cities and green spaces. Whether it’s through Green Flag or our other programmes such as Clean Up Scotland and Beautiful Scotland, local people are raising the bar and making their communities great places to live in.”

Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Environment and Climate Change, said:

“It’s great to see that the number of Green Flag Awards in Scotland is increasing each year.  The award-winners are also setting an example which I hope many others will follow.

“None of this would be happening without the endeavours of Keep Scotland Beautiful and I thank them for their hard work in facilitating these awards across Scotland.  The availability of high quality greenspace and parks is very important for the health and well-being of the people of Scotland. Long may these commendable efforts continue.”



The Bon Vivant (Thistle Street) has been honoured at the Tales of the Cocktail 2014 Spirited Awards. The first ever Scottish winner at the hotly-contested international awards ceremony, the Edinburgh restaurant bar competed against Delicatessen (Moscow), Spitalfields Bar at Hawksmoor and Blind Pig at Social Eating House (both London).

Bar man: The Bon Vivant's Stuart McCluskey receives his Spirited Award in New Orleans.

Founder and Director of The Bon Vivant, Stuart McCluskey picked up the Best International Restaurant Bar award at the glittering Spirited Awards ceremony on Saturday July 19th in New Orleans.

Tales of the Cocktail is the world’s premier drinks industry event, taking place annually with up to 20,000 attendees. It brings together the international spirits community to celebrate what’s new and next in bartending. The Spirited Awards are the climax of the five-day Tales of the Cocktail event and recognise the world’s best bars and bar talent.

The Bon Vivant is renowned for its winning formula of providing an informal ‘European’ style of dining, whereby high quality food is savoured and complemented by excellent libations in a stylish, relaxed setting.  It is the first Scottish establishment to receive a Spirited Award.

Stuart McCluskey, Founder and Director of The Bon Vivant said:

Winning the Spirited Award at Tales of the Cocktail is a stunning result for The Bon Vivant. To even feature in the final four for the Best International Restaurant Bar 2014 category was incredible, but to win against such reputable establishments makes me very proud of what The Bon Vivant team has achieved since we opened on Thistle Street in Edinburgh in 2008."

“The Spirited Awards are the drinks industry Oscars and I was honoured just to be in the same room as so many peers whom I admire and respect. This win puts The Bon Vivant and Scotland on the global drinks map and gives us so much to build on for the future. We are delighted.”