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Wings Over Scotland


Archive for the ‘stats’


The distant choir 257

Posted on August 27, 2020 by

During the 2014 indyref, the astonishingly vast imbalance of the mainstream Scottish media was partly compensated by a huge rise in new media, with dozens and dozens of sites filling the gaping chasms where printed and broadcast media would have been in any country with a press worthy of the name at such an exciting time.

The subsequent shrivelling of that presence has been one of the least observed and explored phenomena of the six years since the referendum, and especially since the SNP’s election victory in 2016. The incredibly wide-ranging, mutually-supportive pro-Yes new media is now down to a tiny handful of outlets, most of which are barely read (and most of which would celebrate if the others burned down in a chemical fire).

There are many and varied reasons for this worrying situation, but before we get into those let’s have a quick look at who’s still who and what’s still what.

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How to waste your vote 254

Posted on August 13, 2020 by

We’ve been having a closer look at the latest polling for next year’s Holyrood election (YouGov, from this week), and in particular the list numbers. We thought you might be interested in a little stat from them.

That’s the full breakdown. But that’s not the graphic that really tells the story.

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Another problem solved 454

Posted on May 21, 2020 by

When the news isn’t news:

Lots of Scottish newspapers (most notably everything in the Herald And Times Group) had already ducked out of providing ABC figures at all, but this will be a godsend for the rest to save their growing embarrassment.

Wings readers can remember the pitiful state of the last published figures here.

The success story 212

Posted on January 05, 2020 by

We couldn’t help but raise a quizzical eyebrow at this assertion from SNP MP Pete Wishart in today’s Sunday National.

It was said in the specific context of securing a second indyref in 2020, and since such a referendum has NOT in fact been secured – and looks extremely unlikely to be – we wondered which other definition of “success” might be being used to justify the claim.

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The power of ideas 715

Posted on September 01, 2019 by

So it seems like our semi-idle musings about the possibility of starting a new list party for the Scottish Parliament generated some interest last month.

(That’s more than the whole of 2018, more than the whole of 2017, and over five times the previous biggest single month since we moved to our current stats provider in December 2014.)

But yeah, nobody cares and it’d be certain to fail, apparently.

The inverse miracle 140

Posted on August 21, 2019 by

We really can’t be bothered with having the GERS “debate” again, in which all the same people make all the same exactly opposite spins on the exact same data. Minor annual fluctuations aside, the core reality is the same as the one we repeat every 12 months, and serious economists on both sides of the political divide still treat the figures with the disdain they properly merit.

One such person is Richard Murphy, and in an excellent piece today he posted a version of this graph which did catch our jaded eye. It purports to show the share of UK debt supposedly accounted for by Scotland – which has, let’s remember, just 8% of the UK’s population – in each of the last 16 years, and which immediately prior to the SNP’s 2011 majority stood at almost exactly that of our population share.

(Which is itself a gross calumny against reality, but let’s stay focused.)

How very remarkable, some readers may feel, that the extent of Scotland’s supposed responsibility for the UK’s debt should have rocketed so very dramatically at the exact point when independence became a live political question.

It does rather make you wonder why the UK government, scraping as it is for every penny of possible savings, seems more and more desperate to hang onto Scotland as the terrible economic burden we become on the rest of the country grows ever heavier.

Truly, our partners in this great equal and bountiful union must be the most generous and forgiving people on Earth. We don’t deserve them.

The big idea 604

Posted on August 13, 2019 by

Crazy stuff happens when we have a thought.

Buckle in for a bumpy ride if you don’t like pictures of my ugly mug.

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The cut-off 160

Posted on August 03, 2019 by

The Times leads its Scottish edition today with a piece on Ruth Davidson’s collapsing popularity with Tory members, which it helpfully illustrates with a graph.

Alert readers will notice, however, that for some inexplicable reason the graph ends more than a year ago, in July 2018, with Davidson’s rating still at a very healthy 54% – some three and a half times what it is now. So we’ve fixed it for them.

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How to be goodest at numberology 128

Posted on May 16, 2019 by

Ruth Davidson led on numeracy (or as Tories call it, “numberacy”) at FMQs today.

And we can see why she’s concerned.

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Spilt black milk 393

Posted on May 07, 2019 by

Last week, Norway rubbed our faces in it again.

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Context phobia 418

Posted on April 22, 2019 by

Alert readers will know by now that there’s nothing the Scottish media – and the Scottish Daily Mail in particular – likes more than printing scary-sounding figures with no context whatsoever by which people could judge how big or small they really are.

Nothing’s changed today (other than a rather sneaky inset shot of an old story about a different statistic which misleadingly makes today’s one look like a big increase), so rather than bang on we’ll just fill in the blanks: ScotRail runs around 760,000 trains a year, so this year’s cancellation figures amount to about 3.5% of all trains.

Which is to say, around one time in every 30 that you go to get a train it’ll have been cancelled and you’ll have to wait for the next one, which on the average commuter line will probably mean 15-20 minutes.

Which is still a pain in the hole, of course, but if it’s such a high number ask yourself why the Mail is so pathologically averse to simply telling you what percentage it is.

We’ll see you again with these figures in a few weeks, folks.

Independence for England now 547

Posted on March 31, 2019 by

The breakdown data from last week’s vote on Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement:

ENGLAND: 266 MPs for, 256 MPs against (51%-49%)
SCOTLAND: 13 for, 45 against (22%-78%)
WALES: 6 for, 33 against (15%-85%)
NORTHERN IRELAND: 1 for, 10 against (9%-91%)

Once again, readers, the solution to Brexit is clear.



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