Vote for freedom

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We have received from the Secretary of MAMA their reply to Mr Robertson, as follows:—

Sir,

May I touch upon a few points in the letter addressed to me by Mr M Robertson, a copy of which he has sent to you ?

He does not understand why the wretched garagist should have to stock a greater selection of motor oils than the ones he catalogues. Clearly Mr Robertson has missed the point of our campaign. We are not seeking to compel the service station proprietor to stock any particular products, but to guard his freedom to stock what he likes and what his customers want. Fortunately not every motorist is like Mr Robertson; most of us still take some interest in what goes into our sumps, and prefer to have the oils of our choice—whatever they may be—available on a basis of unrestricted competition. 

Secondly, Mr Robertson makes the somewhat incautious statement that the people best qualified to make and market motor oils are the petrol companies. A moment’s reflection would have made him qualify, if not withdraw this statement. Motor oils made by independent companies specialising in lubricants have always been among the more popular brands throughout the world— even in North America, where the system which Mr Robertson is defending has been fully developed.

May I sum this point up in a quotation from the American magazine Fortune referred to by the well-known oil economist PH Frankel in his book ‘Essentials of Petroleum’ :–

“Certain small concerns are important, more important than the giants because their condition calls forth the phenomena of service and ingenuity. While the giants are sitting on inventions and coddling markets, these people encourage inventions and develop new markets.”

Thirdly, Mr Robertson refers to the part played in the foundation of this association by CC Wakefield and Co Ltd. It is true, and well known throughout the trade, that Wakefield’s took a leading part in the foundation of MAMA; it is true, and equally well known, that Wakefield’s have given the association certain facilities. But MAMA has attracted the support of every considerable independent manufacturer of motor oils in Great Britain, the manufacturers of many accessories, and the sympathy of an overwhelming majority of service station proprietors. Our ballot is designed to find out what the motorist thinks; so far as it has now gone, Mr Robertson is in a minority of rather less than 1.5 per cent.

It is no direct concern of mine how sales of Castrol are proceeding, but I am told by Wakefield’s that sales are now higher than ever before. That Mr Robertson has probably been genuinely deceived by petrol company propaganda is shown by his reference to the ‘increasing popularity’ of the solos system. I would ask him : popular with whom ?

I am, Yours, etc,

Bernard R Davies, Secretary, MAMA. London, SW1.

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