Too often in Scotland these days, it seems like the doomsayers have the upper hand.

Some of the negativity seems to be down to the goldfish bowl nature of Scottish politics. There is so much carping by the likes of Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross and Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack that at times it makes you wonder if they are happier to see problems, rather than success, in Scotland. Politics is politics, but it is a sorry state of affairs and, truth be told, rather tiresome.

There have also been recent heavy-handed efforts by the UK Government to control Scotland’s engagement with other countries, which has worrying implications for the economy north of the Border.

Against this backdrop, it was most encouraging this week to see another set of hard numbers showing that, while not everything is perfect in Scotland, the nation is doing very well indeed on certain key fronts.

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With such successes always in danger of being drowned out by the moaning of Ross, Jack et al, people could be forgiven for missing the good news this week, revealed in that set of hard numbers, that equity investment in Scottish companies hit a record level last year.

Not only that but the breakdown of the figures was encouraging, with university spinouts attracting a large amount of funding. And the research, published by economic development agency Scottish Enterprise, also showed the nation’s companies were proving attractive to venture capitalists which can invest anywhere.

The research follows other reports, from inward investment and trade promotion agency Scottish Development International and accountancy firm EY, showing Scotland’s strength on the foreign direct investment front in recent times.

Success for Scotland, however, seems to make the Tories somewhat testy, especially when the nation is making its presence felt on the international stage. However, it is absolutely crucial for Scottish trade and for attracting inward investment that the nation is able to do just that.

Earlier in the spring, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs James Cleverly decided to intervene on Scottish Government ministers’ engagement with other countries.

Mr Cleverly wrote a letter on March 31 to heads of UK missions abroad entitled “Working with the Scottish Government internationally” and covering new Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office guidance on “how to manage and support devolved government ministerial visits overseas”.

Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Angus Robertson wrote to Mr Cleverly on May 1, declaring: “I am concerned about the damage the letter and guidance could do to Scottish trade, cultural exchanges and education, and to Scottish interests in general.”

Mr Robertson claimed the new guidance “is further example of the UK Government’s intention to undermine devolution”, adding: “The UK Government’s apparent determination to reduce Scotland to the status of a mere administrative unit and for it to be characterised as such by UK Government diplomats is unacceptable.”

He observed: “The Scotland Act 1998 does, broadly speaking, reserve international relations, but as the guidance acknowledges, ‘the reservation of international relations does not have the effect of precluding Scottish ministers and officials from communicating with other countries, regions or international or European institutions, so long as the representatives of the Scottish Parliament or Scottish ministers do not purport to speak for the United Kingdom or to reach agreements which commit the UK’.”

Mr Robertson added: “It should be needless to say that Scottish Government ministers would never purport to speak for the UK. The fact that we have very different views on matters such as immigration, asylum and Brexit will be well known to governments overseas, and it would be absurd to think that our such views could be confused with those of the UK Government.”

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First Minister Humza Yousaf told a meeting of the Scottish Parliament's committee conveners on Wednesday: “It was an incredibly clumsy intervention by the Foreign Secretary and I said as much to the Prime Minister when we last met.”

Scottish Enterprise said this week that its 2022 Risk Capital Market report, based on data from Beauhurst, showed “Scotland’s investment market has retained its position as one of the best performing across the nations and regions of the UK”.

The value of equity investment secured by Scottish businesses was a record £953 million in 2022, up 26% from £754m in 2021.

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Scottish Enterprise noted that Scotland had been “surpassed only by the ‘golden triangle’ of London, [and] the south-east and east of England, for both deal numbers and amount raised”.

This seems like quite some feat, especially when you think about how much money the UK Government has been pumping into the north of England with its Northern Powerhouse investments.

Scottish Enterprise highlighted significant investment into university spinouts in Scotland last year and observed that a growing number of companies were attracting later-stage and international investment, highlighting these as strengths for Scotland.

It said: “Spinouts from Scottish universities continued to attract significant investment with £235 million secured by 58 spinouts, making it a record year for spinout value, up 53% on 2021.”

And it observed: “Participation by venture capitalists is particularly encouraging, again placing Scotland after the golden triangle, and testament to the quality of Scottish companies able to attract this mobile international investment.”

Kerry Sharp, director of entrepreneurship and investment at Scottish Enterprise, said: “This latest research shows that Scotland continues to punch above its weight in securing significant investment for its most innovative and ambitious companies.”

She noted this year marks the 20th anniversary of Scottish Enterprise’s co-investment model, introduced as a catalyst for investment into early-stage, high-growth-potential companies.

Ms Sharp added: “Since then, our equity funds have leveraged over £2 billion of private investment into ambitious Scottish companies. It is extremely gratifying to see many of our investee companies go from strength to strength through this investment and also the advice and support that is made available to entrepreneurs and young companies here in Scotland.”

This is all very good news indeed.

It is the type of news which should put a smile on the face of Mr Ross. Anyone attending tonight’s Scottish Premiership Play Off semi-final between Ayr United and Partick Thistle at Somerset Park, or watching it on television, would seem unlikely, however, to detect any exuberance over Scotland’s economic achievements from assistant referee Mr Ross as he runs the line.