A warning sign?

As they read Martin Hannan’s forensic dismantling of the British establishment’s duplicity and mendacity, younger readers may need to be reminded that there was a time when this sort of revelation cause shock and consternation. As British Nationalist efforts to preserve their precious Union have grown ever more shrill and desperate, we’ve become rather blasé about their perfidy. Another day! Another British Nationalist lie.

But one part of Martin Hannan’s analysis grabbed the attention of even a weary veteran of the constitutional struggle such as myself.

The key point they [Knight Frank] made was that UK funds increased their investment by 58% in 2018, rising from £487 million to £771m – a huge increase of 255% on the 2016 figure of £217m.

This is, indeed, a huge increase. Massive enough, one would have thought, to tickle journalistic curiosity. What prompted such a significant change? What happened to change investors’ attitude to Scotland? What did they find out that suddenly made property in Scotland seem like a much better investment than previously? What factor could be significant enough to explain such a dramatic shift?

Two possible explanations immediately come to mind. Perhaps, in the wake of the EU referendum and the British government’s contemptuous disregard for Scotland’s Remain vote, institutional investors decided that it was now inevitable that Scotland would restore its independence. Maybe they figured that property – particularly commercial property – in a small, EU member state with a prime location and excellent resources, was too good a bet to miss whatever their former prejudices.

Or perhaps these investors were given some kind of assurance that the constitutional issue would be finally resolved in a very different way. Perhaps they were given cause to believe that Scotland was about to be put firmly back in its box. Perhaps their analysis led them to the same conclusion being reached by increasing numbers in the Yes movement – that he British state was planning to ‘deal with’ the Scottish problem in a very British way.

Maybe these investors also saw the signs that the British political elite intended to use the opportunity provided by Brexit to lock Scotland into the Union; re-impose direct rule from London; and disable democratic dissent by ‘suspending’ the Scottish Parliament.

The first of these seems unlikely; not least because of the way acceptance of Scotland’s independence conflicts with the evidently very strong market prejudice which had deterred investment in Scotland. It would require a change of attitude such is not commonly associated with persons or institutions governed by prejudice.

The second of our candidate explanation, by contrast, requires only a change in information such as aligns perfectly with the old prejudices. If investment was deterred by the threat of Scotland’s people exercising their democratic right of self-determination, investors would be greatly reassured to know that the democratic institutions required for this were about to be dismantled.

All speculation, of course. But surely the dictates of precaution demand that we we see in this exceptionally rapid 255% increase in property investment yet another warning of the British state’s malign intentions towards Scotland. And, recognising the threat to our democracy, surely we should take immediate steps to #DissolveTheUnion.

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