SCOTLAND has many things going for it but it seems at times there is a certain febrile insularity when it comes to the nation’s political scene – one which manifests itself in many negative ways.

As a business editor, politics comes on to the radar when it is directly about Scottish or UK economic or business matters or has a bearing on these.

And it does so frequently these days.

Of course, Brexit remains an enormous political decision with sadly very detrimental ongoing consequences for businesses, households and the economy at large. This obviously remains a central plank of the ruling Conservatives’ policymaking. And, given its large and continuing effects, it remains firmly on the radar.

When it comes to Holyrood and one manifestation of the aforementioned febrile insularity, it seems politicians are generally either trying to talk up or do down Scotland’s economy and business climate, depending on their particular persuasion. Such discussion tends to generate far more heat than light.

What is often frustrating is messaging from opposition politicians at Holyrood that might cause confusion about which powers are devolved and which are not, with a seeming impatience to point the finger at the Scottish Government for any problems faced by the economy north of the Border.

However, the clampdown on immigration which is causing such great woe in fuelling skills and labour shortages is a matter for Westminster.

And the ruling Conservatives drove the UK’s hard Brexit, with the Scottish electorate having been greatly in favour of remaining in the European Union.

There must, if we are to have a proper debate on matters business and economic, be a recognition of what powers are outwith the Scottish Government’s control and the decisions taken at Westminster that are harming the economy north of the Border.

Of course, Brexit has made the UK as a whole a far more insular place, and not just on the political scene.

One good antidote to insularity, in many contexts, is an external perspective.

Amid the back and forth of the political debate about the strength or otherwise of Scotland’s economy and business climate, the inward investment figures for the nation give a good, objective view of the actual state of play. After all, the overseas players making foreign direct investment decisions are putting their money where their mouths are, not just talking.

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So an EY survey published last Monday revealing the nation had secured record levels of inward investment in 2022 surely signalled a major vote of confidence in the business climate and economy in these most challenging of times.

This should be good news indeed for anyone who wants to see Scotland prosper, regardless of any political views they may or may not hold.

A record 126 inward investment projects were secured by Scotland in 2022, up from 122 in 2021, maintaining the nation’s position as the top UK location for FDI outside London, according to the EY survey.

The 3.3% rise in the number of projects secured by Scotland was in stark contrast to a 6.4% drop in the UK as a whole. UK-wide, the number of FDI projects won fell from 993 to 929. Scotland had achieved a 14% jump in the number of inward investment projects secured in 2021, way ahead of a 1.8% increase for the UK as a whole.

These are very solid numbers. The good thing about figures, as opposed to political outpourings, is that they make it easy to form an objective view. And, in the context of FDI, this external take on Scotland’s attractiveness is a most reassuring one.

Another important external perspective has been provided in recent days by former Bank of England governor Mark Carney in relation to the UK’s cost of living crisis.

Mr Carney said: “We laid out in advance of Brexit that this will be a negative supply shock for a period of time and the consequence of that will be a weaker pound, higher inflation and weaker growth.

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“And the central bank will need to lean against that. Now that’s exactly what’s happened. It’s happened in coincidence with other factors, but it is a unique aspect of the economic adjustment that’s going on here.”

He added: “There’s no joy in saying…‘we told you so’ because people are having to live with that reality.”

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Mr Carney has been described by Conservative MP and former Cabinet minister Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg as “one of the enemies of Brexit”.

When I had the opportunity to interview Mr Carney in Edinburgh back in September 2016, he came across as a man with a deeply analytical mind, with perfect objectivity and a laser-sharp focus on the economics of the situation.

Sir Jacob claimed, as he responded to Mr Carney’s latest comments on the impact of Brexit on the UK economy, that the Canadian was a “bad governor who politicised” the Bank of England.

This remark would almost be comical, as well as being ridiculous, if the matters at hand were not so serious, and were people not having to live with the reality of Brexit flagged by Mr Carney.

When he was Bank of England governor, Mr Carney warned of the consequences of Brexit ahead of the 2016 referendum.

The arch-Brexiters did not want to listen then, and they seemingly do not want to do so now.

However, they should.

In a more general sense, it would be great if we could see moves away from insularity when it comes to the Scottish political scene and the Conservatives’ foolish Brexit.

In these times, sadly, such progress seems unlikely indeed.