Zero companies have left Catalonia. The BBC, Sky News, France24 and Deutsche Welt have all told me repeatedly today that 1500 companies have left Catalonia. Goodness knows what the Spanish media is like – El Pais, soon to be renamed The Ecstatic Francoist, has put me off looking any further. But despite the media bombardment of fake news, actually no companies have left Catalonia at all. What have left Catalonia are not 1500 companies, but 1500 emails and forms giving a change of Head Office address. The companies and the jobs are still exactly where they were. In Catalonia.
Actually, it was very helpful for the Madrid government to initiate this process, because all those companies will need Spanish offices now their main premises are no longer in Spain but in Catalonia. They can now in addition register their Catalan premises with the Catalan state company register..
We saw Project Fear in spades in Scotland in 2014, but while they threatened that no business would remain in Scotland, they were not stupid enough to claim they had actually already left. Project Fear is a lot less effective when its bluff is called. The Spanish government has managed to call its own bluff, to shoot its bolt prematurely, and it turns out to be not a real threat at all. Now what does that remind me of?