PRESS RELEASE (October 3rd, 1996)
Lord Macdonald of Macdonald, premier clan chief of Clan Donald, has appointed Ronald W McDonald to be Sergeant-Major at Arms of the Guardians of Clan Donald: the linear descendant of the chief's bodyguard.
The Guardians of Clan Donald will be open to all Macdonalds and their septs, dependents, and descendants, who are in good standing in the community. Successful applicants will be enlisted as Sergeants at Arms and issued with a Warrant in the form of a Certificate which is suitable for framing.
The cost of membership is £1 (postal orders please) or £2 sterling for overseas applicants.
The Guardians of Clan Donald aim to uphold and protect the dignity and honour of the ancient and honourable name of Clan Donald by all legal means.
One specific aim is to offer moral support to Mary Blair, proprietor of McMunchies, a small sandwich bar in Fenny Stratford, Buckinghamshire, who is being threatened with legal action by McDonald's Restaurants, the fast food chain, for daring to use the prefix "Mc" in the name of her shop.
When interviewed in BBC2's "The Money Programme" a top trademark lawyer made it clear that McDonald's have not a legal leg to stand on. Instead they rely on their unlimited financial resources to bully small businesses who cannot afford to fight back.
This type of business ethics might be good practice in the USA but it is singularly un-British. McDonald's have registered most names beginning with 'Mc' as trademarks, not with any intention of using them, but to try and stop anyone of that name setting up a restaurant.
Even my own name Ronald McDonald has been registered as one of their trademarks.
This is an attack on Scottish culture when even our very names are hijacked.
It has been stated by government ministers that a person is fully entitled to use their own name for business. But McDonald's has grown so large it is supra-national, with an advertising budget bigger than the Gross National Product of many countries. It is time that the government took in hand this matter of bullying of small businesses by companies such as McDonald's.
Perhaps this might be a subject for debate by a future Scottish Parliament.
If McDonald's persists in its action against McMunchies they are disgracing the ancient and honourable name of Macdonald. In the days when a clan chief had the power of pit and gallows the ultimate penalty for shaming the clan name was to be flung over a cliff but it seems unlikely that any executive of McDonald's Restaurants would volunteer for this!
Injustice and bullying are matters that concerns everyone and not just those affiliated to one clan.
To this end, the Guardians of Clan Donald have decided to launch a petition calling upon McDonald's Restaurants to drop their action against Mary Blair of McMunchies Sandwich Bar.
Petitions should be sent to the Guardians of Clan Donald or direct to McDonald's Restaurants, 11-59 High Road, East Finchley, London N2 8AW. (Fax Number 0181-700 7050 Telephone 0181-700 7000). A personal letter, telephone call or fax to McDonald's condemning their action is also effective.
[Also mentioned in Magnus Magazine and the McSpotlight web site.]