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Scottish Review

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Oliver Brown
Entrepreneurs & Businessmen


When Ireland freed the 26 counties from English rule, the Guinness family led the opposition to Home Rule and threatened the most terrible punishment possible in Irish eyes, the closing down of their brewery. When, however, the first Irish Government boldly announced their first loan, it was strongly supported by the Guinness brewery!


One provost who has been arranging the settling of foreign firms in Scotland, told me that there is one essential difference between the Americans and the English. The first wish to train Scotsmen for executive positions and leave the Scottish branch with considerable autonomy. The English bring up their own executives and regard their Scottish extension as a mere part of the parent company.

It is easy to see which type will have the less difficulty in adjusting itself to a Scottish Government. One American firm has given its Scottish subsidiary complete control in order to fit in more easily to a self-governing Scotland.


In the early thirties a Scottish industrialist started a factory on the banks of the Clyde at Old Kilpatrick, and was doing well until an English combine threatened him with legal action over patent rights. They explained that whether they won or lost did not matter as he would be reduced to bankruptcy by legal costs. I met him in a state of furious indignation as he told me the terms of his surrender.

When writing Scotland the Satellite I wrote to him asking for permission to reproduce those terms which I had carefully noted for that purpose. In reply I received a furious letter accusing me of being incapable of understanding the transaction and threatening me with legal action. The Aurora lamp factory no longer exists.


Having been present in a professional capacity at many discussions between Scottish businessmen and their foreign counterparts about contracts, I have learned the essential fact that, poor as they are as salesmen, the Scots show a degree of honesty which I would have regarded as incredible if I had not translated the statements.


 

 


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