Just as Glasgow now has its new bridges, riverside walkways and street café culture (yes really!), how times have changed on the business front. 30 years ago the Scottish commercial scene was dominated by the omnipresent whisky and, mainly, manufacturing industry, steel making (Corus – now owned by Tata Group), vehicles (Rootes + Albion Trucks), textiles (Coats Patons), rail locomotive (North British and Caledonian) and of course shipbuilding (Upper Clyde, John Brown’s and Fergusons). This was fleshed out by Edinburgh’s then very healthy financial and banking scene: Bank of Scotland (now part of Lloyds Banking Group), Royal Bank Of Scotland Group Plc, Scottish Equitable, Scottish Widows (now part of Lloyds Banking Group).
Whisky is still with us but now largely owned by multi nationals like Diageo but with the exception of a lingering presence of shipbuilding – frigates for the British Navy - at Govan on the Clyde and now a subsidiary of BAE Systems, all of the above companies have either disappeared or been absorbed into other groups.
Electronics was seen as the way to absorb the loss of heavy engineering and moving the Scottish economy forward and many multi national companies (mainly American) were encouraged by financial incentives to set up manufacturing facilities in Scotland. Certain locations (dubbed “Silicon Glen”) within EC development areas were a magnet:
- East Kilbride: Motorola and Honeywell Greenock: IBM and National Semiconductor
- Glenrothes: General Instrument and Elliott Automation
At its peak the electronics industry in Scotland employed near 50,000 but was very much a ‘branch economy’ and it did not survive the world wide collapse of this sector in the late 1990’s. Over recent years, Scottish Enterprise has pushed the electronics sector towards software development, a move which has been successful in terms of the economy as a whole but is employs far fewer people than did the manufacture of semi conductors and electronic circuits. 
The financial presence still remains with the Royal Bank Of Scotland Group Plc easily Scotland’s largest publicly quoted company (Edinburgh is still the sixth largest investment management centre in Europe and the 15th largest in the world  but the recent travails of the financial sector and particularly the Scottish financial sector, are well documented elsewhere.
Nevertheless, despite these changes (of which some are very critical seeing it as a hollowing out of…