My Celtic roots aside, I have long been a fan of Scotland. It has outstanding beauty combined with diverse cities and its people are determined in the face of adversity.
Scotland also has a rich history of doing things its own way, often better than the rest of the UK. For example, it has implemented free personal care for the elderly despite the rest of the UK deciding it wasn’t possible.
This independent thinking has also been true in business – it pressed ahead with the Home Report while the Home Information Pack in England and Wales was watered down to the point where its demise was no surprise.
The business community has a strong sense of shared identity and supports local contacts. An early example was the construction of Hadrian’s Wall to stop southerners from spoiling the scenic views with their holiday homes.
But this positive sentiment can go off the rails. A frustrated contact recently told me of a town in Scotland where it seems a cartel is in operation for some business services.
Outside competitors are not only unwelcome, but threats are issued to locals who work with the interlopers, even if they are from other parts of Scotland.
This is counterproductive. Businesses such as lenders and brokers who seek to expand operations will boycott locations they have concerns over. Nobody wants a vanilla UK with zero regional diversity but everyone loses from virtual Hadrian’s Walls.