Inverness Campus (Highland) SEZ 2024

Inverness Campus (Highland) SEZ 2024 – 18 x 24cm, acrylic, wire, on canvas

Those promoting Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s freeports and their surrounding investment zones are quick to trot out the same old tropes of growth, prosperity, environmental friendliness, and a brighter and more sustainable future. Each time I hear these sorts of phrases now, the reverberating echoes of Boris Johnson’s maxim “take back control” appears in my head against a discordant drone of Wurlitzers and blurry visuals of merry-go- rounds. If the post-Brexit litany of catastrophically fiscally illiterate mayhem, law-breaking, and abject societal failures are anything to go by, the next stages of the reconfiguring of the welfare state and “restructuring of sovereignty”, obstinately going where no free marketeer has gone before, should be cause to hit the panic button.

There is a dearth of understanding, due caution, or lessons learned about the very real dangers inherent in ‘spaffing’ out contracts to the mostly private sector, including in and around Sunak’s Freeports. Now outside of the EU, third country UK is becoming an international pariah, with panicked level-headed investors responding to Truss and Kwarteng’s recent economic debacle by balking at the risks that a deregulated free market independent territory is prone to experiment with.