A FOREIGN INVESTMENT

In the 80's I worked as a contractor for Unisys, a large American corporation. They had a plant at out at Livingston manufacturing equipment for banks. I was part of a team who wrote software for these machines.

Livinston was one of the areas which attracted grants for such foreign investments. The amount of money granted and the conditions attached were too secret for either the workers or the tax payers to be told about.

Most of the workers at the plant were Scottish, we had a few English like myself and one or two Americans. At one point we saw an influx of many Americans taking up different jobs around the plant. This did not seem so strange, the main project was behind schedule and we needed all the help we could get. The Americans were welcomed. Some cynics claimed that they had come over simply to learn how the plant operated so that the work could be moved back to the states. I didn't believe these rumours as the came from the conspiracy theorists who where always spreading doom.

A softball match was organised with mixed teams of Americans and locals. Softball is a variant of baseball and is similar in many respects to rounders. Most of the locals knew how to play rounders.

There are some differences between softball and rounders. When you get to a base in rounders you simply have to pass it, then you can hang around near the base. In softball you have to remain in contact with the base (I assume that this is why Charlie Brown has to slide). While there was a local running for the base and a local guarding the base the "rounders" rule applied - the runner could have been touching the base but generally forgot to - it didn't matter because the guard also forgot that he or she could get the runner out simply by touching the base with the ball.

A few months later the plant was shut down and hundreds of people lost their jobs during the worst recession that any of us had ever seen.