Sep 272013

Lies, Damned Lies, and The Trump Effect (or 74% of people don’t remotely trust the Evening Express).

Credibility is stretched to new extremes by claims made by the Chamber of Commerce and the Marcliffe’s Stewart Spence concerning ‘the Trump effect’. Numbers, surveys and statistics are used in attempts to demonstrate how positive an impact Trump is having on Aberdeenshire tourism. Suzanne Kelly peeks behind the curtain at the little man pulling the strings, using a satirical survey to demonstrate just how easily statistics can be massaged.

StatspicTrump International Golf Links Scotland hasn’t exactly been booked solidly, if its own online booking tool is anything to judge by.

But an assortment of people and institutions which were leading the call for the course to be built are hard at work, convincing us that we’re all better off with money flowing in.

There may be some money coming into town indeed, but here are a few thoughts before we swallow the bait whole.

Ninety-three percent increase in room sales to golfers at the Marcliffe!  Such a precise claim, it has to be accurate doesn’t it? 

Many people who’ve heard this statistic are accepting it as proof of Trump having a positive economic impact.

The Chamber of Commerce published an article, “Golf Halo effect benefitting Aberdeen City and Shire hotels by up to 93%” (

There is that magic number 93 again. It’s a high number, it’s echoed by Spence, the Chamber of Commerce, and in a few press releases that have been turned into press articles by some of our printed press. This is, in propaganda terms, positive reinforcement; a claim is made, it is repeated, it is not explained in depth by those who want you to believe it.

It starts to sink in.

We have the precise-sounding number ‘93’; we have had that figure reinforced in different media. You would be forgiven for drinking from the trough you’ve been led to and take it for granted that it is true and not to be questioned.

But numbers can be made to do almost anything you want them to do.  Is the glass half empty or half full? The answer depends on the spin you put on it.

A satirical survey was carried out for one week concerning the Evening Express; over 50 people replied to it. In truth, 52 people replied to it – but if you say ‘over 50’ people – then the reader can imagine higher numbers.

Taking that logic forward, let’s consider again the Chamber’s claim that the ‘golf halo’ is benefitting hotels ‘by up to 93%.’  This statistic is nearly meaningless.

How many hotels were in the survey? How many benefitted by 93%? How many benefitted considerably less than that? How many tourists were counted and how was it done? What was the mean (the figure arrived at by adding all the results together and dividing by the number of hotels)?  Was the mean significantly less than 93%?

StatsangleWithout further details such as the length of time the assessment covers, what other events were on which could have increased tourist numbers, how was the measurement made, this ‘up to 93%’ means next to nothing.

Furthermore, from most reports it is apparently the Marcliffe’s Stewart Spence claiming this 93% increase for his hotel.

The Marcliffe is a nice spot. Do hundreds of people stay there? No.

In fact there are 7 suites and 35 rooms.

Therefore this 93% increase is not likely to mean any huge number. For one thing, Donald Trump is known to have stayed at the Marcliffe; no doubt some of his large entourage stays with him. Let’s just say Trump gets one suite when he has stayed: Doing the maths, this is a 14.28% increase in suites used for visitors to the Trump course.

Depending on who’s doing the statistical analysis, you could also call this a 100% increase in Trump-related visitors from the time before the course.

The Chamber’s report also reads:-

“These figure relate to the golf ‘season’ from May to date and Mr Spence considers that by the end of September, this figures will have increased further to the point where rooms booked by golfers are three times as high as bookings in 2012.”

Coming in at something less than 93% increase – a 5% increase is reported by Jury’s.  This is buried in the Chamber’s article, and Jury’s less boastful claims also credit a discount offered as well as theatre and other events than golf being a factor.  But again, is the Marcliffe really imposing a survey on all of its well-heeled guests?

Is it guessing who’s playing and who might be playing? Without knowing the methodology used and the numbers involved, Mr Spence’s guess is just that. Furthermore, he’s hardly likely to do anything but insist the numbers are up; it might just be in his interest for us to think all is rosy – and for Mr Trump to hear him making such positive noises.

There also seems to be a faint hint of arrogance at suggestions that Trump is now why people are coming to our area to golf. There are after all more courses than this new one.

What questions you ask and whether or not they are slanted can generate virtually any statistic you want to generate.

Getting back to the spoof Evening Express survey, here are the results:-

Question:  Do you Trust the Evening Express?

Answer Choices                                                                                                                                                                           


Yes when it comes to cute baby competitions 14.29% (7)
No 20.41% (10)
Not Even Remotely 73.47% (36)
Total Number of Respondents  49

Question:  What do you think can be done to improve the Evening Express?

Answer Choices                                                                                                                                                                            


Sack the Editor 48% (24)
Protect the jobs of the workers who it seems face more job cuts 32% (16)
Allow reporters to investigate stories and write their conclusions up freely 68% (34)
Stop taking items that are 3 days old and recycling them 46% (23)
Exorcism 28% (14)
Total Number of Respondents 50

Question:  What do you think of first when you think of the Evening Express?

Answer Choices                                                                                                                                                                            


Sarah Malone Bates, VP at Trump Golf, Winner of the EE Face of Aberdeen Contest, and her subsequent marriage to Damian Bates, Aberdeen Journals Editor in Chief, and the wee potential for a conflict of interest this creates 70% (35)
The balanced, reasoned, multifaceted approach to local issues 6% (3)
The lovely pictures of the granite web, printed at the drop of a hat 28.00 (14)
The time their headline read ‘two deer found dead ahead of cull’ and the deer actually
died a year before of unknown causes?
18% (9)
Total Number of Respondents  50

Question:  What would you most like to say to the EE Editorship?

  • Print facts without bias
  • More people read Aberdeen Voice………
  • propaganda isn’t journalism.
  • Just give up.
  • Print a newspaper, not a comic
  • You traitors!
  • What will you do when there is no more oil? You’ve sh*t upon the people of Aberdeen for many years (on behalf of your advertisers), so there will be no-one to cry when your advertising revenue dries up and your paper goes bust.
  • Not printable, I’m afraid.
  • Have you considered journalism as a possible change of career ?
  • Well done for speaking up for the silent majority in Aberdeen, those who shout loudest usually get what they want, that’s why our City is such a mess.
  • Print the truth
  • Why and when did he decide that Joseph Goebbel’s style of propaganda was appropriate for a local newspaper?
  • Get out of the pocket of big business.
  • The only content from local areas is of vandalism or babies. If there is any cultural events happening that the EE haven’t sponsored – they will not find its way into the paper. Certainly have no decent article written about them.
  • You’re a crook and an obsequious lickspittle of corrupt and greedy businessmen
  • Unprintable
  • Well, hello, I suppose as I didn’t realise it had an editor. Thought some PR company just collated their press releases. I would also like it to campaign for chips to be wrapped in newspaper once again – then it would have a purpose
  • Take a reality check
  • Can the editorship read?
  • Balanced! Not a lot of crap typed by keyboard warriors!
  • I used to think this paper was the only one worth buying, until it printed a story about me that was utter sh*te.
  • Stop printing sh*te!
  • Your fired
  • we want proper unbiased news not some fatcats pipedream
  • so long and thanks for all the fish
  • How do you manage to sleep at night.
  • Get a grip.
  • Goodbyeee!
  • Stop promoting Donald Trump, Sir Ian Wood and Stewart Milne.
  • Unprintable.
  • Get tae …
  • Get a divorce, mate.
  • Nothing …. because anything I say will be taken down, changed beyond recognition, put in quotes and used against me in a skewed context.
  • What is the difference between the EE and a bucket of shite? The bucket.
  • Being the “Millionaires Best Friend” and slanting the news accordingly, may be profitable, but as a newspaper, ???? shameful.
  • Ta, ta!
  • Get Ye behind me Satan!!!!
  • Stop sucking up to “Big business”


Question:  What would you like to see done to the EE headquarters?

Answer Choices                                                                                              


Build a granite web over it 20.41% (10)
Turn it into an outdoor theatre 6.12% (3)
Give it to Aberdeen City Gardens Trust (an unelected private company) to manage 16.33% (8)
Turn it into some kind of credible business 53.06% (26)
Exorcism 16.33% (8)
Total Number of Respondents  49

It should be noted that the respondents were anonymous; I did not ask anyone to reply, and I did not reply to the questions myself. When setting up a survey, it is possible to target specific audiences. I was asked if I wanted to purchase an option to have specific kinds of people given my survey to answer; I declined.

When it comes to surveys you are being asked to put your trust in, you may want to determine who the respondents were and how they were chosen.

Aberdeen’s Evening Express seemed a likely candidate for this illustrative, satirical exercise for several reasons.

Firstly, they are more than happy to print the conclusions of the Pro-Trump lobby.

Secondly, there is a good, recently disclosed reason for that:  Aberdeen Journals Editor in Chief is married to Trump’s Vice President, not that you learnt this from the paper itself.

Thirdly, on occasion their coverage of issues could be what you might call slightly bias.

Fourth, the  paper is running its own survey as to ‘mending our broken heart’. This survey starts from the premise we are broken-hearted over not having built a granite web over our only city centre green public space. Their campaign in favour of building the web was nothing short of ferocious.

ballsNow they want us to believe they are interested in mending the huge divisions the issue caused, and that they merely want to get our opinions. Not everyone would agree their survey comes from a place of neutrality with a goal of peace-making. They therefore seemed a good candidate to illustrate how surveys can be slanted.

The EE survey questions all had set answers (except the last one). Those who live in Aberdeen City will recall being given similar ‘straightjacket’ answer choices when it came to choosing a shortlist for potential designs for Union Terrace Gardens.

The choice to leave the gardens as they are and just improve them was not given to us, forcing us to choose one of 6 (mostly abhorrent) designs.

What the public did actually vote on and comment on in this exercise remains a mystery. Despite the public purse paying (at least in part) for the exercise, an unelected Limited company consisting of 4 people refuse to let us have the results. Perhaps the Hotel Association will want to come forward with the raw data they have collected regarding Trump .

The Evening Express survey was leading – were leading questions asked of hotel guests?

Using the logic employed by the Chamber, I could write an article now saying ‘Up to 98% of Aberdonians think the Evening Express is Dreadful’.

One thing my survey did was to ask for comments. No two are alike. Not only do they all say different things while conveying the same general message, none of them were from the same IP address. Bear that in mind, and go back to the public consultation as to whether or not to allow the Trump complex to overrule the SSSI protections.

Of course both sides had recommended their followers to either support or object. However, a startling number of supporters came in via email – and dozens and dozens of these are wholly identical.

Identical not only in terms of the wording being verbatim, but the fonts and even the line breaks. Of course these were all counted as individuals weighing in. While many organisations will use form letters, usually this is pointed out when responses are counted – this does not necessarily seem to have taken place with the Trump application.

do not accept any conclusions until you know how big the sample was

It is one thing to say thousands of people support a course of action – but it is quite another thing to say that thousands of people sent in precisely the same replies supporting a course of action. (Does government look at things like IP addresses?  It might be worth doing so in future).

Let’s assume that massive hordes of golfers are now coming here because of the Trump course. You would therefore expect the course to be running at capacity. From eyewitness accounts of people living nearby, this is not the case. Even the online booking system used by the Trump organisation shows there are often many un-used tee times almost every day.

The next time someone tells you there is ‘up to 93%’ of an increase in something, or the next time you read a statistic somewhere, do not accept any conclusions until you know how big the sample was. Do they mean 93% of ten thousand people? Or are they talking about 93% of 7 suite and 35 bedroom guests?

If someone tells you there is an increase in an activity, find out what the time period is, what other factors could have influenced the increase (were people flocking to an area, say for an event like Offshore Europe?). Ask whether the person or group giving you the statistics have a vested interest in the matter at hand: does Mr Spence want to encourage Trump and co. to continue to visit his hotel?

Do VisitScotland want to validate their ongoing claims as to the benefits of the Trump course? Does the Evening Express have any reason to want to regurgitate pro-Trump statistics? Unfortunately numbers, as well as people, can be deceptive. Without having more information such as who the respondents were, the raw data and background, statistics are meaningless.

Put another way – at least up to 93% of survey data and statistics are unreliable.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.

  68 Responses to “Lies, Damned Lies, and The Trump Effect”

  1. Bang on the nail, Suzanne – could sub-title it The Use & Abuse Of Statistics. In my experience, provincial journalists quite genuinely can’t make head or tail of anything in statistical form – their critical faculties simply desert them as soon as they’re confronted by a percentage sign – see their annual reports of school exams results!

  2. Nice one, Suzanne! The Marcliffe has a “partner stays free” offer on its website. Maybe Trumpy and co each brought a friend? Lol!

  3. And here’s me thinking that all the hotel rooms in Aberdeen were booked up by oil workers in
    in transit. It was the Trump effect all along. I was wrong all along.
    By the way, do you think Mr Spence and the fChamber have been listening too much to that fine
    De la Soul anthem “93 is a magic number” ;- )

  4. Who cares how many people play at the course, why is it of interest to anyone!?

    Paul Lawrie has a new golf venture just out of town, are you snooping about his bookings?

    I simply can’t fathom out your obsession with the Trump course and the local papers, surely you could use your time in a more constructive manner, do something positive instead of deriding others.

  5. George— Could be something to do with the fact Paul Lawrie is not making questionable claims
    Could be something to do with the fact that Trump and the local papers have published survey figures which needed scrutininising.
    Could be something to do with the fact that Trump derides anyone or any organisation who disagrees with him.
    Could be something to do with….Och George I could give other instances but you wouldn’t believe them anyway so I’ll not bother.

    As an ex newspaper employee what I will say is that citizen journalism like that of the Aberdeen Voice and other independent news and information sources are more likely to get nearer to the truth than those media sources who are heavily dependent on advertising revenue.
    I should point out there are another 8 articles and a poem in this weeks AV which have absolutely nothing to do with Trump or the local papers and could be described as positive and constructive

  6. Bob,

    As long as this vindictive agenda against the same people continues I’ll continue questioning the motives, there must come a point when the harassment stops, he’s built a course, get over it! You don’t like the local papers, don’t buy them…and get over it!

    The attacks against Trump, Wood, Milne have an agenda behind them imo, every word written on them here is negative, not one positive on the employment and wealth they’ve brought to the area.

    The reason no other courses are ever mentioned here is because no one is picking holes in them looking for fault.

    There is an awful lot of people in the area with problems way worse than having a small mound built outside their homes, it is so trivial when you step back and look at it logically.

    I’d also like to mention that I’ve stayed at the Marcliffe on several occasions and had direct dealings with Mr Spence, I’ve always believed him to be a man of the utmost integrity who goes beyond the call of duty to assist his customers, a true credit to our City, unlike the writer here I have no reason to dispute his claim of the course helping business, unless proof exists to contradict that I believe he’s above recourse.

    A nonsense article.

    • I am amused that the conclusion George reaches is that I have an agenda, but that the Evening Express doesnt. Hmm. I do have an agenda as it happens – and that is not to let untruths published go unquestioned, not to stand by while the rights of people with little money are sacrificed for the whims of the powerful, and to ensure that our common good park UTG stays just that. I like my agenda more than their agenda. Hope this helps.

      As to the mound of earth walling the Leyton Cottage inhabitants in, that’s a very callous outlook you have – do come and see the thing for yourself. It is unacceptable.

      • My parents used to have a view of a green field, it’s now a view of a big school, I don’t recall them once whining about it, if it bothered them that much they could move.

        In my opinion you’re wasting your time and appear to have lost focus, you’re too blinkered. Open your eyes, do you really think people living in cramped overcrowded housing care that someone’s view from their window has changed?

      • Suzanne,
        I am beginning to despair over George’s logic. He seems to see bogey men and women
        hiding behind every dyke just to have a go at Mr Trump and his ilk.One thing though which certainly comes across from George is that economic prosperity is far more important than the lives of the people who have to suffer because of this rush toward economic prosperity.
        A mound of earth round a person’s home seems small beer to him. I just wonder how he would react however if his next door neighbour was to block his view with a surrounding mound of earth.I suspect he would be upset and be straight on to his lawyer. If he can afford to stay at the Marcliffe on several occasions I should think he could afford the one of the best..

  7. Thanks once again for providing your readers with an antidote to the extremely inane and tiresome pro – Trump wealth – worshipping nonsense we are forced to endure on a regular basis. Those who choose to forget or overlook that the Trump development was sold to us by the Scottish Government, amongst others, as being worthy of what, in my opinion, amounted to a corruption of democracy due to the promised “national importance” of the golf course at Menie are now clutching at straws comprised of 93% manure and 7% hot air.

    The dunes at Menie, as I’m sure you know, were of a scientific value unmatched anywhere in the UK and yet, despite receiving the highest level of protection possible, were destroyed to satisfy the demands of a wealthy pseudo – celebrity with a penchant for extreme vulgarity. That our national leaders chose, in my opinion, to aid Trump in achieving his dubious ambitions at Menie by taking the unprecedented step of “calling in” the application and ignoring the protected sttus of the site, not to mention the rights of the local people, surely places a demand on all concerned to ensure that such action can be in any way justified. One suspects that those who once described the development to be of “national importance” are now more than a little red – faced.
    Great survey by the way. I tried several times to participate but was unable, despite the various options available, to find a way to effectively articulate my level of contempt for the Evening Express.

    • Dear Bruce – George (or someone) inferred that you and I know eachother. We don’t. Having said that, reading your comments, I’d be happy to buy you a BrewDog one of these days. All the best, suzanne

  8. George -Your probably right that people living in cramped overcrowded housing don’t care that someone’s view has changed just the same as Mr Trump most likely couldn’t care about people living in cramped overcrowded housing. Just because your parents weren’t bothered about their view that doesn’t mean that others don’t have the right to object if they feel theirs is, especially when they are being hassled by the person whose actions are spoiling that view. Suzanne thought you were portraying a callous attitude. She could have added unfeeling, uncaring,” I’m all right jack” attitude. However that is an attitude which has become more and more prevalent in Aberdeen, and I’m sorry to say this, but it really only became this since the discovery of oil.I’m old enough to remember a much more caring society in this city.

    • Bob I care about real issues, I have no time for witch hunts. Champagne socialist against the rich man was my first thought, this isn’t about sites of special interest nor the local people in my opinion.

      A new Maggie centre opened in Aberdeen this week, local business contributed big style, how refreshing an article on that would have been instead of another on Mr Trump.

      We have a chronic housing shortage in Aberdeen, that is far more pressing than someone’s seaside detached having its view changed, tens of thousands of people in town would kill for that property.

      [ Potentially defamatory elements removed – Moderator ]

      • And for the record Bob, I’m far from well off, I’ve been cursing the end of the Month being on Monday because I’m almost out of money, I don’t own property and have to privately rent. I work full time and have always done so, any luxuries I’ve ever had have been grafted for.

        I hold no grudge about anyone that has done better in life than me though, nor do I look down on those who have not, everyone is equal in my eyes.

      • Egality is a noble sentiment George, now if we could only get the Scottish Government, Aberdeenshire Council, Police Scotland, Aberdeen Journals Ltd, ACSEF, ALL elected representatives, and others, to agree with you, we might just be on to something.

      • George, as the subject of this thread is to do with lies, I’m sorry, but I cant let this one go.

        “everyone is equal in my eyes”

        I’m a football fan like yourself George, a Dons fan at that, and so it should not surprise you that I regularly read, and occasionally post on football forums.

        From what I have read of your posts on one particular forum over the last few months, I would have to say the above is a blatant lie … unless of course we are not to include Arabs, Muslims, Women, or anyone with a shade of skin significantly deeper than white.

        Sorry, but you dont turn these prejudices off, nor brush them under the carpet simply by logging out of one site and going onto another.

      • If you take those comments on the other site seriously and missed the tongue in cheek irony than that is your issue Fred, it’s a parody, not real life.

      • “Tongue in cheek” “irony” “parody” I can’t say that any of these would be readily identifiable as characteristic of your normal style George. Could it be thou doth protest too much?

  9. [ Potentially defamatory post removed – Moderator ]

  10. Quote, unquote – “everyone is equal in my eyes”, I’ll need to remember this one. (LOL)

  11. Don’t take on these Lefties George , you will never win against their holier than thou attitudes , ABERDEEN VOICE !!!!! Don’t make me laugh , Please change the name to ABERDEEN WHINGE , that would suit you lot better .

    • I am always reduced to giggling like a schoolgirl when someone responds to a well – reasoned, extremely detailed and properly documented argument by having absolutely nothing to say other than to moan about people moaning. The “irony” referred to by George must be contagious. It’s even better when I am transported back to 1983 by reference to “lefties”.

  12. Corporate bookings are not made online so they don’t register.
    The course has been a great success bringing in loads of money
    for Trump and the area. That obviously upsets some people but hey ho.
    In George’s defence, I recognise that his posts on said football chat site are
    not meant to be taken seriously.

    • How much has it brought in and how successful has it been?

    • Corporate booking do close off tee slots so its easy to see what available tee slots are left. Usually more on one course than St Andrew’s has on the five online bookable.
      Recommendation: go play Cruden Bay. Better (consistently high in world ranking), cheaper and more ethical.

  13. On the subject of witch hunts George. How about the witch hunt conducted against Martin Ford by certain individuals and organisations through the local press. I happen to be someone who has chaired a couple of committees and his decision to vote for the status quo is the norm when a vote is tied. The fact he voted against the Trump application AS IT STOOD in the original vote becomes somewhat irrelevant when voting for the status quo.It might be of interest to you to know that a North east born reporter for a newspaper from outwith this area who attended the council meeting where Martin Ford was dismissed described the whole affair as “a witch hunt against a decent man” Who was one of the leading figures behind the witch hunt? I’ll give you three guesses.

  14. Aaah … tongue in cheek. That explains it then. That’s why I’m never sure when to take you seriously George. I’ve been trying too hard to make sense of you. For example. You told us on here you were not a supporter of EDL, and that the facebook ‘like’ was a long time ago .. or something to that effect.

    Yet, as recently as July, you were Singing the praises of that same organisation and its thug leader. Hmm … so you were only kidding, Ok I get it now …. it was pretty convincing tho … your use of the word ‘darkies’ was the punchline for me …. yup, I had you down as a racist. Silly me. I almost feel as if I owe you an apology.

    Well, you’ve given me considerable food for thought George. You see, I was under the impression that in a reasonably developed and civilised society, there were certain things that were never funny, no matter where they were written, and regardless of the number of ‘lol’s and smiley tagged on at the end.

    For example, even if you could convince me that it was Ok to use facebook to “perv at birds I know”, I don’t think you would ever convince me to post it in an open public forum, next to a picture of myself on my avatar, and with personal details available. But what do I know?

    Maybe I’ve been wrong about you all along. But hey, now I know it’s all ‘tongue in cheek’, maybe now I can go have a second look at your ( previously regarded as disturbing ) thread about the mother of Stephen Lawrence, and your latest offering on the shopping mall massacre in Kenya, which I found particularly distasteful.

    Maybe this time round I will realise you are not sick, but you are, in actual fact, f**king hilarious.

    • Yeah Fred, all tongue in cheek, I am Hilarious.

      You certainly like digging into my background, I wonder if everyone here gets the same attention or just those you disagree with.

      The things you’ve quoted me as saying without the context involved are worthless, anyone reading that doesn’t get the parody behind the full text is looking to be offended.

      • What’s hilarious George is that you still think it has been necessary to ‘dig’ this info up. Truth is I found many of many of your posts on said forum ( in the context they occurred ) extremely offensive before I knew who you really were.

        I did have an idea it might have been you, but when YOU posted that picture of yourself with the wax model of the queen, and confirmed it was you in discussion, that’s when I knew you were responsible…. not before. No need to dig, you presented yourself – very clearly – with no effort, encouragement or invitation whatsoever on my behalf.

        As I said, I am a football fan. I read football forums. Many people do. Not all posters reveal their identity as readily and as obviously though, so don’t give me this ‘digging up’ nonsense.

        As for your comments, and their contextual frame, yes, readers can decide for themselves if they really want to go there…. I would hardly recommend it though.

        However, I just felt that a little context was perhaps required to provide a framework for your regular challenges regarding basis, values and motives underpinning the work of Aberdeen Voice contributors, by shining a wee light on the basis, values and motives underpinning your own contributions here and elsewhere.

        After all, you did mention something about equality somewhere didn’t you?

    • Fred,
      I’m coming round to the idea that George likes to post on certain sites because he maybe gets some perverse pleasure from winding people up. If we all ignored his posts maybe he would disappear in a puff of smoke. By all means though let him rant on as he has a right to his opinion however mind boggingly insensitive and uncaring he comes across at times.But of course if he is a Trumpie “disciple” then he has a good teacher. I find the posts by people describing those who protest, through whatever medium, to be lefties or whingers to be particularily humourous. If people didn’t protest from time to time and bring things to the public view then we would all be controlled by the very people George seems to admire.As William C. Faulkner the American Nobel prize winner once said “never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice, lying and greed. If people all over the world did this, it would change the earth”

    • [Post removed. Aberdeen Voice will not tolerate the promotion or endorsement of organisations, or members of organisations characterised by discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, or nationality. Nor will we serve as a vehicle for peddling comments consistent with their doctrine – Moderator]

  15. It’s one of the best courses I’ve played. You can use my eyewitness account that the course was very busy when I played it. It’s great to have such a course in the area (along with the others). Why are you bothered? The Marcliffe may well be 93% up, that may well be a fact. Just because they don’t have many rooms doesn’t change that. It’s a sound bite. It makes it easier to write and read that we’re 7 rooms in every week up on bookings from the last year or something like that. Live and let live…

    • Jason,
      I like your sentiment live and let live. Unfortunately that’s precisely what Mr Trump is not doing through his continual harassment of the Milne, Munro and Forbes families.. Why are folk bothered? Well although the pro Trump lot would like others to think that those opposed to Trump are opposed to him simply because he built a golf course it goes much much deeper than this. The building of part of the golf course on a legally protected SSSI might have been the catalyst to all the furore but the process by which the planning process was circumvented through the intervention of John Swinney and his mates and subsequent events surrounding this such as SIX retrospective planning applications which even the Aberdeenshire Council are beginning to baulk at are only some of the things at the heart of the protest.David Milne acknowledges the golf course is now built but his 19000+
      petition for a public inquiry is to stop others suffering the same fate as himself and the other Menie families at the hands of people like Trump and “faulty” planning processes.Please don’t hide behind the convenient smokescreen of a golf course when attacking the protesters views.

    • There is a slight problem with your logic Jason. Reviews of the Marcliffe reveal complaints about the high number of “golfers and weddings” during weekend stays throughout 2012. Even more intriguing, however, is that one of Mr Spence’s main marketing tools, that is his official website, continues to wax lyrical about the opportunities to play “magnificent” golf courses throughout the area, namely and specifically Royal Aberdeen, Murcar and Cruden Bay, but not Trump. It is not unreasonable, therefore, to conclude that Mr Spence considers these courses to be much more of an attraction than those he does not consider significant enough to mention, such as Trump No 1 and Hazelhead No 2 for example. One might even conclude that Mr Spence does not wish the reputation of his hotel to be tarnished by the Trump brand. Either way, Mr Spence is sending out very mixed signals.

      Incidentally, when did you play the Trump course Jason and why are you bothered?

      • The high number of golfers backs Mr Spence’s quotes, thanks Bruce. I assume you’re planning on a night there soon if you’ve been trawling the reviews, I can recommend it, comfiest bed I ever slept on.

        Bit weird people would complain of golfers and weddings, not something that has ever offended me.

  16. Tommy.
    You possibly are correct in saying that corporate bookings are not done online. However the times booked by such would still have to be taken off the system. This still left a lot of times not taken up over the season.A survey has shown that golf has become less popular in America where it’s popularity has dropped by 13% since 2000. Now of course golf has become more popular in India and China but if their economic bubble bursts as some economists have predicted then that market falls by the wayside. Let’s wait and see how successful Trump’s course has become after a few years.At the moment it would appear he is reliant to a large extent on corporate bookings from his “pals” .If he doesn’t succeed in stopping the offshore windfarm what then? The business cannot survive on golf bookings alone and he says he shall not continue with the rest of the development if he loses the fight over the offshore windfarm,or is this just another bit of Trump bluster. I have no problem with the golf course other than where part of it was built, and the “faulty” process which allowed it to be built and of course the building of the bunds round people’s homes.

    • Don’t get me wrong, I sympathise with those who’s property is close by and did not accept an offer to move.
      It’s happening with WPR and new Don crossing.
      I just feel that people are against Trump just for the sake of it..
      There are far more important things going on, like Aberdeen’s trip to Paisley.

      • Sorry to disappoint you Tommy but people are not against Trump just for the sake of it. It could have been anyone. The response against what has been happening at Menie would have been the same.

  17. Bob,

    Why are you and others so concerned with how busy it is? I just can’t get my head round it, are you also following the well being of all the other courses in the area?

    An interesting hobby no doubt but not for me, I’ll stick to speaking crap on bulletin boards.

  18. Not going to argue but must say Trumps gold course must be one of the biggest tourist attractions in the whole of Scotland

    Well done Donald

    • Doesn’t say much for the rest of Scotland’s history or heritage then does it? Perhaps you should consider reviewing some facts.

  19. Nowhere near one of the top tourist attractions William. Doubt if it is in the top 100. Edinburgh Castle has around twice as many people going through its doors in one day that a fully booked up Trump’s course has for a month. No I didn’t specifically troll through the internet for information on Edinburgh Castle.

    I read this in one of the newspapers lately. Depends who you class as tourists. Corporate bookings on golf courses are not necessarily tourists.Top tourist attraction in Aberdeenshire is Crathes Castle.{Visit Scotland Figures}

    As I am a fully paid up member of the National Trust for Scotland, if I had the time, which I haven’t, I could probably find you many other places in Scotland which gets more TOURISTS than Trump’s course.

  20. Would also like to add that we need more things to be accepted in Aberdeen i am fed up of the council rejecting everything like the Aberdeen’s City Garden Project and the Aberdeen football stadium plans and as for the Aberdeen bypass it has taken so long cars will be flying before its finished.

  21. This would sound a lot less like a childish rant and more like an observation if you called people by their names instead of just throwing about surnames. Stewart Spence for example…

    Secondly, the Evening Express is a privately owned newspaper. While you may not like it that means they can print what they like about who they like as long as they have the evidence to back it up. That also means there can be no such thing as a conflict of interests. They are not a publicly funded body, they are funded by the sales of the paper. Whether you like it or not the Evening Express is, by sales figures, the most popular local newspaper in Scotland. While their style of writing is only a touch better than yours, they make money.

    Thirdly, how can anyone take anything you write seriously when your polls are as mature as p5’s in the playground deciding which boy is the best looking in their class.

    This has to be some of the most uneducated, one sided, childish drivel I have ever had the misfortune of clicking a link to and I’ve read sun newspaper articles before…

    [ Whilst you are welcome to your opinion Brian, and we are happy to accomodate and publish same, an unsubstantiated insult has been removed from your post. Will be reinstated if you can point out one single example which backs up your claim – moderator ]

    • I think you will find that most people reading a newspaper would want the relationship between its editor and a golf course it promotes to be fully disclosed – why the secrecy? There are codes of ethics and standards that come into play – well, or that should do.

      You clearly missed the point that the survey re. ‘saving the evening express’ was a. satirical and b. undertaken to show how statistics can easily be manipulated. I told you the sample size and confirmed that no responses were paid for or solicited. Let’s see the Evening Express do the same with their recent ‘broken heart’ survey, and let’s see the actual numbers and details involved in the ‘up to 93% increase because of Trump’ claim revealed.

  22. Has it ever occured to you that other NE tourist attractions are enjoying increased visitors because of the additional people Trump’s course is bringing to the area? Probably not because it would harm your anti Trump stance. I live in the area and your comments about the poor downtrodden Menie resident is nothing short of laughable.

    Have you seen the state of one of the properties in particular? It should have been bulldozed years ago as an environmental hazard. Aberdeen and the North East is quickly becoming a backwater due to a minority of NIMBYs in prominent positions blocking progressive projects which benefit the area in general.

    • Wow what is going on here? Tommy, Jason, Ledandy, William and now Ally suddenly appearing in support of a position consistently adopted by George just after he appears to have been outed, on the basis of the evidence, as a racist sexist “perv” What a remarkable coincidence!

      Let’s see if you are any better at answering questions than the others. Can you tell me how many “additional people” have come to the area as a result of the Trump development?

      • Bruce you are asking an impossible question to answer with any real figure and you know it, thats why you keep asking it. To find out what you have asked the following would have to be done; Barricades erected all around Aberdeen with tourist check points that ask, Do you live in Aberdeen or the surrounding area. What is the purpose of your visit to Aberdeen. Has the new golf course at Balmedie Beach had any bearing on your visit.

        Without such a comprehensive survey any figure given can and most probably would be met with the same “check how right I am na na nana na” style argument you are sticking to as if it proves some magical point you havent quite managed to make yet.

        [ Note to moderator received and read Brian, and as it at least proves you know there is a moderator, it should come as no surprise to you that your posts are subject to moderation – Moderator ]

      • Perhaps your remarks as to the impossibility of counting how many Trump-related visits there are to our area should not be directed at those who are questioning the logic, methodology, sample size, duration used by the hotel association and Spence who claim to be able to put a figure of ‘up to 93%’ on the increase value?

    • Ally, there is considerable problem with your comment re the buildings on Menie Estate, the vast majority of them are in a very sound and stable condition. The only house that is in significant need of essential maintenance actually belongs to Trump. The tenants are getting no response when they try and get repairs done! So please check your facts and accept when you are wrong.

  23. I’ll think you’ll find most people couldnt care at all who was married to who within Aberdeen Journals apart from those with axes to grind and no real evidence to back any of their assumptions up so then have to look for ulterior reasons. You’re around two steps away from claiming the royal family are really lizard people and Elvis is alive and well on the moon…

    The poll you question doesnt claim to be comprehensive, just a snap shot from the hotels asked. They will be based on figures gathered from straw polls left in rooms and questionnaires sent out by email after the stay, comprehensive it certainly is not. The writer then uses Jury’s Inn as a separate example. Without casting to many assertions I think it goes without saying that most of those in Jury’s in for £35 a night arent in the city to see the sights and tour the country just like those paying up to £450 a night arent in the city to get drunk in the big smoke with their friends from Buckie. Its also safe to say just like the Chamber of Commerce used the most positive example to highlight its message the writer used the most negative. Would it have made you all happier if the Chamber of Commerce had lead with JURY’S INN SALES UP 5% BECAUSE OF TRUMP COURSE and then right down the bottom and Mr Spence has said the Marcliffe has recorded a rise of 93% in golf tourists. Childish to the extreme.

    • Brian,

      You have already conceded that is impossible to calculate the increase in visitors, if any, which can be attributed to the Trump development. Your apparent support for those who suggest otherwise would, therefore, appear to put you at odds with yourself.

      Frankly, your failure to accept that the public have been consistently misled, by a variety of sources, in relation to the potential benefits of Trump, suggest that you will be very much looking forward to joining Elvis in a lunar rendition of Heartbreak Hotel in the very near future.

  24. Stewart Spence said during an interview with The Times that he travelled to London to purchase his shirts and boasted about how much they cost. What was wrong with the shirts available in the local shops? He also said something along the lines that the dunes at Menie had no value. Clearly a man fitting the famous Oscar Wilde quotation. I think he is envious of Trump. DT has a private 737 but Spency has to make do with a ride on mower. Spence has been a cheerleader for Trump’s grandiose scheme throughout. However the image of him dressed in short skirt, Alice band, bobby socks and wielding a pair of pompoms is making me nauseous.

  25. I have no interest in golf but if it keeps some people happy, that’s fine by me. What is not fine, what will never be fine, is unequal treatment under the law. Planning regulations and procedures exist for good reason and should be equally applied across the board. That being the case, the events at Menie should be a national scandal, being a glaring example of preferential treatment for someone who is not even a British citizen, far less a tax payer. I have no doubt that some people will have received financial benefits from the development at Menie but they will be very few. Hardly any jobs have been created, despite the inflated claims for such prior to planning being granted, and those which do exist are temporary, seasonal, part-time and/or low-paid. Few could afford to take them. The continued inexactitudes emanating from the people involved in the development and the broadcasting of the same via the local media remind me of the concepts of newspeak and thoughtcrime in Orwell’s 1984. Perhaps those who doubt the value of questioning the claims made should read that book and try to imagine, if possible, how they might feel if they were subjected to the treatment suffered by the residents at Menie.

  26. Well Bruce what a load of garbage you have now aimed at me. I neither know George or have any allegiance to him. For you to make such a broad sweeping statement about me shows staggering ignorance.I would tread very carefully in what you are implying.

    • Ally, I would suggest that you have another look at your original comment and then ponder the wisdom of accusing other people of making broad sweeping statements. You might be a tad embarassed. I’m not quite sure what you mean when you refer to a perceived implication and don’t really care.

      By the way, are you threatening me Ally?

  27. The anti Trump brigade associated with this site and their Facebook page will never accept anything positive which comes from TIGL in the form of increased visitor numbers or the economic benefits.

    The blatant blinkered approach by all involved cannot see past their own hatred of the man to see the good the course is doing and can only continue to do in the future.

    It’s impossible to point out reason to those who just don’t want to see it. Donald Trump isn’t the nicest person in the world and the way he’s went about his treatment of a few locals (although you never hear about the ones who made a killing on their property) could have and should have been handled better. However the course is built, the second has stared and people are coming to the area specifically to play it and the region IS seeing the benefits of it yet it would stick in their throats and choke them to death before anyone associated with this page or it’s regular contributors to admitted anything positive about the course.

    I’ll be surprised if this sees the light of day however as long as you see it then that’ll do because you know and I know that’s the truth of it….. Now should I add a stupid smiley face to indicate I can say what I want and get away with it as long as I make out it’s a joke?

    • quick one – who are you accusing of hatred? For the record, I don’t hate a soul, so who do you mean? If not me, perhaps this accusation belongs somewhere other than on one of my articles. Many people have set out the abuses of law, procedure, overriding environmental protection, biased policing, arrest of journalists, illegal security operations directed at locals, etc. ad nauseum. But for you none of this matters, just the possibility that money is being made. Trump has, according to the BBC and others, links with organised crime. But as long as he’s perhaps making money, whatever the cost, that’s all that’s important to you. Again, you are invited to write your own article; please do.

  28. The bit I like about this post is “although you never hear about the ones who made a killing on their property”. Drue is right there we never hear about them. Come on then Drue, who are these people?
    It’s one thing to say the region is seeing benefits, and write about the good the course is doing but you dont say what these are. I thought Aberdeen Voice was supposed to check what it published but it looks to me like the word of Drue is fact enough.
    I cant wait to read the article Suzanne says you should write Drue. I’m dying to know what that second course has been staring at.

    • Good point Gary, when it comes to articles, there is back up for any facts presented. however, when it comes to the comments, we are a bit more lenient. I re-invite Drue to write an article – anyone can write one – and share his facts and references with us for his claims.

    • We hear about 3 family’s who didn’t sell up and move on. It’s their right to stay after all as it’s their homes so I’m not knocking them, never have never will. However there was more than 3 homes that was affected by the building of the course and all but 3 sold up. Why do we never hear about the people who were happy to take an above valuation for their homes and land?

      It’s all very well highlighting the 3 that are left however in the interests of parity we should also know about the ones who were happy to sell and have had a successful outcome of their dealings with Donald Trump. So they are the people Gary, does that keep you happy? Also no outrageous claims have been made however you’d find out fairly easily that local businesses have benefited from the building of the course, food n drink suppliers, local people getting jobs who spend those wages in the region, Golfers who are heading up to play the course that may not have had Aberdeenshire on their radar when planning their golfing trip to Scotland, florists supplying blooms for the club house and dinner tables. The very fact it is there means people are spending extra in the region and that can be said without any hard evidence for back up, that’s pure common sense!! And the last sentence you wrote makes no sense so please clarify.

      Suzanne, for you to say that you don’t hate anyone is all fine and well so we can perhaps exclude you however don’t try and make a fool of anyone by insinuating that The Voice in general then doesn’t hate Donald Trump, one of you has in fact said it (well wrote it). And will YOU publish anything positive about TIGL? It’s all very well telling me to write something however I’m not the one with the anti Trump agenda. I’ve put enough down in favor of the course while saying I don’t particularly like Donald Trump or his methods. I do support what he’s trying to achieve and think all the positives it will bring outweigh the negatives. However The Voice is a full on anti Trump/Course publication and for that reason you’d never admit anything positive about the course or what it’s bringing in the way of cash to the local economy.

      • Drue, as one of the residents who have not sold to Trump I would ask you to tell me who has, because to the best of my knowledge there have only been two properties within the estate boundaries that have been sold since 2005. Both sold privately to parties other than Trump, at open market value. There have been no over market values offers made, the best offer for my own home was approximately 50% of market value at the time. Offers received by others were also considerably less than market value. so please get your facts right.

        Also if the second course has started then all work should stop as it would be a breach of planning as no formal application has yet been made to the best of my knowledge. As for local staff, I understand there has been a considerable turn over, I wonder why?

      • Drue, I can assure you the Voice doesn’t have an editorial policy, unlike the local newspapers where Damian Bates has a clear, visible financial interest in Trump doing well – his wife is VP there. The AV contributors – and you’re welcome to join their ranks and write an article – all have their own thoughts on issues, and there is no one here telling us what to write, what to write about, or how to think. If there have only been a few pro-Trump articles over the course of his presence here, perhaps that has something to do with virtually no one submitting a pro-Trump piece: perhaps this reflects how people feel? By all means, send us in a pro-Trump, fact-based story, and it will be published. But there is no Aberdeen Voice agenda on this or any other issue.

  29. Drue, all you have done above when you reply to me is say the same thing but with more words but little in the way of facts. Do you actually know for sure there were more than 3 houses affected?

    If you cant say for sure that more than 3 people sold out to Trump, and tell us who these are, then it suggests you know nothing about it and if you dont know that, then you cant say anyone was offered ‘above value’ settlements, and so your claim that a significant amount of people has made a killing is not worth a damn.

    I think as well when you count up what financial benefits the golf course has brought you need to balance that up with things like where does all the money go from the overpriced meals served by the underpaid staff? This is out of the pockets of locals as well as visitors. Are you telling us this feeds into the local economy? If you are I would like tell me how, because I dont believe that for a second. Just because money is spent on the course does not guarantee a penny to the local economy.

    I dont think you know an awful lot about it Drue and you’re not doing an awful lot to convince me otherwise.

  30. What evidence is there, which suggests that any business going to Trump International Golf Links Scotland, be it for golf or for very expensive meals in a temporary club house is new business, incremental to Aberdeenshire? Simply saying so is does not make it fact. Aberdeenshire has plenty to offer already both to lovers of golf and of fine dining. The brand Trump, to informed consumers, seems unlikely to be a draw. Curiosity perhaps, for some.

    Those who claim a so-called Trump effect appear consistently to be supporters of Donald Trump and his brand, which is perhaps less curious. Vested interests, in business and in local media and in commentary are an easy spot. Language appears to mimic that of the man behind the brand, “93%” and “haters” and comments when challenged quickly become vitriol, noteable by a lack of humour and frequency of posts.

    I do not hate Donald Trump. Like so many other members of the public who have taken an interest in the events surrounding his development at Menie and the shockingly bad treatment of the Menie residents, I support them in their fight against a bully. I hope Aberdeenshire and the Scottish Government will do right by them and put people first, before profit. The ends do not justify the means and politicians are accountable for their actions. I am anti Trump and I applaud Aberdeen Voice for publishing the truth.

    Over to you, Alex Salmond, and others.

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