My referendum year in numbers

It’s that time of year when folk look back at the last twelve months. Some go for levity, some profundity. Some just do what they can. I’m quite good with numbers so that’s how I see the referendum year that, thank God, is almost over.

Comments on and additions to this list are welcome. Humourless contributions and long lists of statistics from a Yes point of view will probably be trashed – no more Mister Nice Guy here. Enjoy.


a) The number of days after the referendum result was declared that the SNP implied another referendum might be held soon – see also 1 a).

b) The number of international leaders who declared unambiguously for Scottish independence.


The percentage of the EU population an independent Scotland would form (see also 20).


a) The number of opportunities in a generation to vote for independence according to then First Minister Alex Salmond – see also 0 a).

b) The number of ex-First Ministers who, almost immediately after losing the most important vote of their life (for separation from the UK) decided they wanted to be a member of … the despised UK parliament.


a) The number of international groupings (EU and NATO) that the SNP said an independent Scotland would be welcomed into with open arms and everyone else said wouldn’t.

b) The number of effigies of Alex Salmond in the Lewes bonfire festival. Normal people thought ‘amusing.’ The zoomers zoomed, the nats gnashed their teeth and confirmed their singular lack of humour.


The number of political parties on each side of the Yes/No divide – Labour, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives on one, the SNP and two tiny parties on the other.


The number of years in government the SNP had to persuade Scotland to vote Yes in the referendum.


The percentage of registered electors who didn’t vote in the referendum. No one knows if they hadn’t heard of the referendum, couldn’t care less, couldn’t read or write, or got lost on the way to the polling stations.


The date in September of the referendum of course, when ‘the sovereign will of the Scottish people’ was exercised. The people decided their sovereign will was to stay part of the UK and the phrase has scarcely been heard of since.


The rank by population size an independent Scotland would be in an EU of 29 countries, slightly less than Slovakia. A rough measure also of the influence an independent Scotland would have had in the EU.


The number of council areas (out of 32) in Scotland that returned a majority for No in the referendum.


The percentage of the adult population of Scotland that voted for independence.


The percentage of those voting Yes in the referendum, Also known as ‘losing’ or a ‘minority.’ Celebrated perversely by adherents of separation in the hashtag #the45 (see also 55).


The percentage of those voting No in the referendum, known in some circles as a ‘majority.’


The percentage of the adult population of Scotland that didn’t vote for independence.


The percentage of the Scottish adult population that aren’t SNP members – see also 100,000 [1 – (100,000/4,292,306)].


The average price of oil in US dollars per barrel over the next few years assumed in Scotland’s Future – needed to bankroll both current government expenditure and set up an Oil Fund (I have commented on the impact of low oil prices on Scotland). On 22 December (most recent date available) Brent Blend was $58.31 per barrel, 52% of the SNP’s optimistic assumption.


The number of pages in the Scottish Government (i.e. SNP) manifesto for independence, Scotland’s Future. It is also 126 pages longer than the 1881 edition of Charles Dickens’ infinitely superior work of fiction Great Expectations.


The year of the Arbroath Declaration. ‘Civic nationalism’ wasn’t supposed to be about the distant past but it often was – see also 2014.


The year of Alex Salmond’s own Arbroath Declaration, which sank without trace. Its launch was accompanied by a TV clip of him on a bowling green in the shadow of the abbey with some middle-aged bowlers. When asked how they were going to vote, they all said ‘No’. He feigned deafness.


The number of new members said to have joined the SNP after they lost the referendum, raising the total to about 100,000. Good luck SNP (see also 97.7).


The supposed total of SNP members post-referendum (see also 70,000 and more importantly 97.7).


The cost to the Scottish government in pounds sterling (after all ‘It’s our currency and we’re going to use it’) of holding the referendum – their own estimate of March 2013. I have seen no more recent estimate but other public bodies including the UK government have also incurred costs. PS – for ‘government’ costs read ‘you and me.’

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