The Donald trumped by Old Molly
Donald Trump is not only making waves in the United States. His bullying behaviour in Scotland has got a lot of people excited too. If he becomes president, he shouldn't expect much applause from the Scots
In the event that The Donald becomes POTUS, an event that is turning from nightmare to possibility, there will be one place where a State Visit will be unwelcome.
Scotland. In particular, Balmenie, home of the Trump Golf Links.
Ten years ago he bought the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire with the avowed intention of building Golf Links aimed at the mega-rich. When the news got out, all hell broke loose amongst the locals.
This was a site of special scientific interest (SSSI). It was one of the most important and sensitive environmental and conservation areas in Scotland. Its sand dunes were unique.
It was a treasure trove of wildlife, marine life, trees and plants, and the local and national conservation organisations were appalled. So was the local planning authority. It threw out the planning application as an environmental disaster and totally incompatible with all planning criteria.
And there the matter should have rested. But there is a particular characteristic of Trump. He is only too aware that money talks and that many politicians like what it says.
Step forward the Wee Eck aka Alex Salmond, the then Chief Minister. In an almost unprecedented move, he had the planning application called in, and in the teeth of local opposition led by the Aberdeen Council, permission was duly granted.
Salmond’s case was that the employment and economic benefits outweighed environmental considerations, although the economic benefits of a game of golf are not clear. But it has been described as ‘one of the worst environmental crimes in recent UK history’.
Then the irresistible Trump came up against the immovable Molly Forbes, a feisty Aberdonian in her 90s.
She and her son occupy a farm bordering Trump. He wanted it, and tried every kind of blandishment, bullying and intimidation. He even tried to persuade the authorities to use a compulsory purchase order, a perversion of justice since CPOs are for developments in the public interest, not private gain.
Molly found her water supply interrupted. Her electricity was cut off by a Trump digger. There was alleged harassment by security guards. The makers of a documentary about the ruckus were arrested by the Grampian Police, handcuffed and bundled into the back of a police car. No charges were brought.
Trump described Michael Forbes, Molly’s son, as ‘the village idiot’ , and described their farm as a ‘pigsty’. Meanwhile, photographs of the refuse, waste and general detritus on Trump’s building site suggest wholesale breaches of health and safety and hygiene rules.
But Michael and Molly are as immovable as the granite hills of Aberdeenshire
And Nemesis may be just around the corner in the shape of Scotland’s draconian new limits on drink driving; one drink could cost you your driving licence. Alcohol consumption has dropped by as much as 60 percent in some places.
Golf clubs are particularly affected because of the tradition of playing the 19th hole. One major club has already gone bust.
Maybe time to revise those profit forecasts, Donald.
Robin Mitchinson is a Contributing Editor to The Commentator. A former barrister, living in the Isle of Man, he is an international public management specialist with almost two decades of experience in institutional development, decentralisation and democratisation processes. He has advised governments and major international institutions across the world
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