Stirring memories

by Mike Travers
THE forecast that construction in Scotland is likely to be left trailing as the rest of the UK starts to round the corner of recession (or ‘challenging conditions’ depending on who you listen to) stirred memories of tough times of the past.
Those of a certain generation will remember with fondness the so-predictable, three-yearly ‘boom and bust’ cycle that once characterised a recession; Scotland would enter it later and more slowly and emerge from it in similar fashion.
But those were different days and the landscape of Scottish construction has altered. Many of our home-grown contractors have slipped into oblivion, either driven into the ground by economics or swallowed up by mega groups from outside our borders. Recessions have also changed; back then you had a fair idea when they would end. But it’s getting on for five years since this one kicked in, so fast and fierce that even the most seasoned professionals were taken by surprise.
As is usual at the start of a new year there has been a welter of surveys and studies predicting what may lie ahead. Without fail, especially if you work in Scotland, they have been filled with gloom. But, and it’s a tiny but, if the industry in England is getting back on track is it tempting fate to recall those boom and bust merry-go-rounds and to hope that we may soon begin catching on to their coat tails?