Following publication of an in-depth report into many failings and misuse of powers at the Menie Estate, Suzanne Kelly responds to those who have been asking what they can do to help.
People have been asking by email and Facebook what they can do to help the situation at Menie in some way.
It seems daunting if not impossible: Scotland’s First Minister, the local press, a majority of Aberdeenshire politicians, Grampian Police, VisitScotland and Scottish Enterprise all lent their assistance to a billionaire international real estate developer.
What chance does the average person in the street, unhappy at what is going on, have to change things?
More than you might think is the answer.
The report I wrote was never meant to be an end in itself; it is a tool which I hope people will use to complain and campaign. Trump might (or might not) be a billionaire with great connections, but there are thousands in Scotland and thousands more around the world who are watching what is going on, thanks largely to Anthony Baxter’s documentary, ‘you’ve been trumped.’
First, there is the question of ‘why bother to fight’.
Some people can’t see why I’m investing my time and energies into what is happening at Menie; for me I don’t really see any alternative but to do so.
This is a pivotal point in so many ways – in terms of what environmental protection means, in terms of how the police enforce or don’t enforce the law, how our politicians carry out their duties (are they more interested in the needs of businessmen or those who elected them). The environmental issues are very important, but the human aspect of what is going on is paramount.
Molly Forbes, Michael Forbes, Susan Munro, David Milne, Rob Menlove and their families – we can’t let people be shunted aside and abused, their rights and legal protection eroded.
Many of us are concerned with human rights abroad. We can’t ignore them being eroded our own doorstep. These issues have been allowed to go unchecked in our local print media; and this has contributed to the sense of invulnerability visible from security guard to politician.
It is time to go forward and protect the environment robustly, to ensure the rights of the residents and visitors are upheld, and to ensure nothing like this ever happens here again. Here are some simple things you can do to help.
1. Sign the 38 Degrees Petition started by David Milne
This petition requests a public inquiry into events concerning the golf development; it has been presented to Holyrood, and will at some point go before a petitions committee, and then (if there is any justice) before government. There are over 14,000 signatures – but the more the better. UK residents can sign; more information and a link to it can be found here: https://aberdeenvoice.com/2013/02/david-milne-launches-menie-estate-inquiry-petition/
2. Live in Scotland? Write to your Councillor
If you live in Aberdeenshire, you can find your local area councillors and their email addresses on this website: http://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/councillors/contact/index.asp . Explain that you want a public inquiry; send them a link to my report if you like, or tell them what particularly bothers you about what’s happening at Menie. Ask them how they voted. Tell them this issue will influence how you vote in future. Ask them to follow up with Aberdeenshire planning department, outdoor access officers, etc.
3. Write to MSPs, MPs or MEPs.
If you’re in Scotland, you can find out who your MSP is at this link: http://www.writetothem.com/ As above, tell them what you think, that you are concerned about EU Human rights, EU environmental protection, and whatever other aspects concern you.
4. ‘you’ve been trumped’
Anthony Baxter had to mortgage his home to make this documentary; he was thrown in jail while filming it along with his partner Richard Phinney. The ‘you’ve been trumped’ website has further information, including details of how to buy a copy of the DVD. http://www.youvebeentrumped.com/youvebeentrumped.com/THE_MOVIE.html
5. Other Actions
There is also a ‘Take Action’ section on the ‘you’ve been trumped’ site – it lets you know how to contact the police, the people in planning and the residents. Every postcard or email reminds the people in power that this issue is not going away; every contact with the residents lets them know they are not forgotten. Access this page here: http://www.youvebeentrumped.com/youvebeentrumped.com/TAKE_ACTION.html
6. Tripping Up Trump
Campaign group TUT has lots of information and initiatives. Their website can be found here: http://www.trippinguptrump.com/ There are back news items, links, and many resources. As their website says:-
“TUT is committed to supporting the rights of the families at Menie and will highlight and seek to stop any further bullying or other wrongs by the Trump Organisation in Scotland.”
Taking just 10 minutes out to find your elected representatives and writing to them can have more impact than you think. The more people that write, the more likely the politicians are to remember they rely on our votes. If you get any responses, please feel free to share them with Aberdeen Voice.
Just a final word: the residents have throughout their trials stayed within the law. They do not resort to vandalism or threats; they do not damage the environment, and they obey the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. Things can change for the better in this situation, and the more people who take action, the more certain positive change becomes.
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