You would expect a fight for the very existence of our country to loom large in the memory as 2014 draws to a close, and the Scottish independence referendum rises to that expectation by topping not one but two of our end-of-year polls.
No less than 75 per cent of party members ranked the campaign as the pre-eminent political event of 2014, against just 20 per cent who chose the defections to UKIP, with their attendant by-election defeats and acres of difficult coverage for the party. Other potential contenders, like the rise of the Green Party to national attention or Gordon Brown’s belated departure from Parliament, barely register in comparison.
Despite a more competitive field the referendum also handily topped our poll for Scrap of the Year, with 54 per cent of party members listing it as their number one choice.
Of the rest, 15 per cent selected the Prime Minister’s ill-fated showdown with Jean-Claude Juncker over the presidency of the European Commission. Michael Gove’s struggle with Theresa May and Michael Fabricant’s clash of wills with John Bercow ended up separated by a single vote, with 11.5 and 11.4 per cent respectively. Only eight per cent chose the party hierarchy’s face off with May and her special advisers.