Scottish independence: Amid the hysteria, the most measured debate came from the wise, young voices on Radio 1's Newsbeat

The lively late-night chat gave 16 to 24-year-old voters in Glasgow a chance to air their views, with both the Yes and No camps having their say

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"This is an extraordinary moment!" gasped the political commentator Iain Macwhirter on 5 Live's Pienaar's Politics. "This is happening in real time! People are discussing this everywhere!"

I leapt to my feet and ran to the window. What in the world was going on? Was a meteor the size of Ikea plunging towards the Earth? Instead, I saw a man quietly painting the outside of the house opposite. A cat walked lazily across the road.

Over the past week, radio has been awash with these overwrought moments of interviewees and presenters peaking too early. As the narrative of the Scotland vote has become more tense, and the fighting more dirty, so the conversations on our airwaves became conspicuously sillier.

The political stakes may be high for Scotland but for much of the time producers seemed at a loss at how best to provide coverage beyond getting Scottish people to sit across from one another, alternately barking "Yes!" "No!" "Yes!"

John Pienaar retained a semblance of calm in a programme broadcast from a café over the road from the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, He had his work cut out quizzing the assembled voters though, many of whom were struggling to commit. A young man named Rory, who may or may not have been making a philosophical statement, held up a sign that read: "Totally undecided." I liked the cut of his jib.

On Radio 2 Jeremy Vine had also upped sticks and decamped to Scotland, leaving the work experience kids to run riot in his London studio. The presenter was permanently on the edge of his seat. "This is so exciting!" he frothed roughly every half an hour.

Meanwhile, reporter Tim Johns was charged with the task of finding out what time the results would come in on Thursday night (answer: it's impossible to tell) while the analyst Professor John Curtice from the University of Strathclyde was asked, based on polls and previous voting patterns, who was going win (answer: it's impossible to tell).

Elsewhere, trolling emails were read out from listeners. Drew Parker, a Scotsman in England, declared: "Let them go and get on with it. Once it falls apart we can sit and laugh at them." Minutes later, mobs with pitchforks had presumably gathered outside his home.

As the week wore on, conversations on Radio 4's Today moved from "veiled politeness" to "pub debate after five pints and a tequila chaser". But amid the burst blood vessels there wasn't much we hadn't heard already. On Wednesday, James Naughtie was asked to find out what time the results would come in (answer: it's impossible to tell). Everyone and their dog was asked who would win (answer: guess what?).

The most measured debate came from Radio 1's Newsbeat: Scotland Decides, which gave 16 to 24-year-old voters in Glasgow a chance to air their views. Hosted by Edith Bowman and Chris Smith, this was a lively late-night chat, with both the Yes and No camps having their say without recourse to mudslinging. Instead, the conversation moved calmly through issues of currency, tuition fees, tax and the NHS. The mood remained jovial. Someone called Disco Dave suggested that they start a Mexican wave.

For those feeling battered by the argy-bargy of the past month, this was a gentle and interesting guide to the most pressing issues. Gloriously, no one was asked to predict which way it would go. As the debate came to an end, one thing was clear: young people know what they're talking about and they know how to behave. Someone put the kids in charge.

Twitter.com/FionaSturges

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