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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