Sparks flew at a Scottish TUC debate on A Just Scotland on Saturday as Labour frontbencher Willie Bain crossed swords with SNP Highland Council leader Drew Hendry.
The pair exchanged verbal blows at the latest STUC consultation on the national question.
Mr Bain, who is a shadow Scotland Office minister and Labour MP for Glasgow North East, told the plenary session at Inverness Town House: "Splitting monetary policy and fiscal policy has been a disaster at European level.
"Why would we want to do that in Scotland?"
Councillor Hendry retorted: "There are many independent countries that are working well in Europe without tying themselves to right-wing neoliberal orthodoxy."
Labour loyalist Bain, speaking for the Better Together platform of parties opposed to independence, also raised eyebrows when he stated: "I want to see a more progressive taxation system - arguably you can do that under an enhanced devolution."
The debate was joined from the floor by a range of participants, including one speaker sceptical of the promises of both independence and devolution camps, who said: "From a Highland perspective, we would just be swapping one centralised government for another."
STUC deputy general secretary Dave Moxham told the Morning Star: "We're always aware that there is more to Scotland than Glasgow and Edinburgh - and it is vital for the STUC to pick up on the diverse range of views of trade unionists and communities everywhere in the country."
The final two events in the STUC's series of consultations on the nation's future A Just Scotland are due to take place in Edinburgh on Saturday September 22 and Dundee on Saturday September 29. For more info or to reserve a place visit www.ajustscotland.org
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