A textile titan’s tale

Andrew M Rosemarine runs a law office specializing in International Business Litigation and in Immigration Law


A Bazaar Life — The Autobiography of David Alliance, written with Ivan Fallon, (The Robson Press, £25) is David Alliance’s revelatory smörgåsbord of adventures, with lessons for success in the cut-throat world of business.
Lord Alliance (who, like the three Magi, hails from Kashan, in Iran) spun his own yarn of magic all the way to Cottonopolis, Manchester, saviour of this country’s fortunes through its textile trade. And Alliance became the king of that trade, establishing the biggest textile empire in Western Europe, with over 70,000 employees, and revenues of £2.5 billion.

Yet he started out with “no money, no contacts and only a few words of English — “How much?” and “too dear”. He says that a rabbi “humorously summarised business ethics to me as ‘Buy cheap. Sell dear.’” Alliance’s ethics today are far more ennobling and enabling: “Your reputation is your most important asset… There is no such thing as ‘can’t be done’… The key to good business is a satisfied customer.”

Enormous wealth, of course, brings access to the powerful — in Alliance’s case, British prime ministers, the Shah of Iran, Ethiopian dictator Colonel Mengistu, and various Mossad princelings, offering him considerable insights into the modern Middle East.

He discloses how, at the time of Israel’s establishment, when Jews were fleeing Arab countries, the Shah ordered that Jewish refugees, newly arrived from Iraq, should be given Iranian passports.

Alliance also recounts how the BBC’s unremitting anti-Shah propaganda helped to bring down the Iranian leader.
A more positive highlight includes Alliance’s own leading role in redeeming thousands of Ethiopian Jews, which included using textile plants as a cover for the escapees in Operations Moses and Solomon.
The tone is not modest, but is often self-critical and with the great advantage of being written in the riveting prose of the financial journalist Ivan Fallon.

He discloses how the Shah ordered that Jews fleeing Iraq should be given Iranian passports Andrew Rosemarine

The content is appropriately contained between a couple of L S Lowry pictures — a reminder that the tall, thin Alliance was once one of them. Before that, he writes: “I lived in constant fear of being expelled by the British immigration authorities because I did not have a work permit.” His is an inspirational tale for refugees.

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