Nov 072016

Director Anthony Baxter catches up with Aberdeen Voice about his film being released for free before the US elections. With thanks to Suzanne Kelly.


Just the ticket. Director Anthony Baxter relaxes following the UK premiere of You’ve Been Trumped Too at Aberdeen’s Belmont Filmhouse.

A soaring number of Americans tuned in Sunday night to a special live streaming of two films Donald Trump has battled to suppress – multi award winning You’ve Been Trumped and the critically acclaimed You’ve Been Trumped Too.
Official figures show that more than half a million potential voters tuned in to watch one or both films over the course of two Facebook live events, with over 3 million more reached through Facebook shares, twitter and other social media.

Trump has reacted furiously to the content of You’ve Been Trumped Too – threatening to sue cinemas showing the film – adding to previous blistering attacks on both the film’s director launched on Twitter and lashing out at local residents branding them ‘morons’

Following Trump’s legal threats, the filmmakers took the unprecedented decision to get the films out to as big an audience as possible through Facebook.

Director Anthony Baxter, who is currently touring Scotland’s cinemas with You’ve Been Trumped Too took part in a groundbreaking Q&A live to Facebook viewers from Inverness last night. Thousands of viewers reacted with fury to revelations contained in the film, that 92 year old Molly Forbes had been without a working water supply for 5 years, ‘all because of Trump’.

Now with just hours to go before Americans go to the polls, some UK cinemas are busy planning special You’ve Been Trumped Too events in defiance of Trump’s threats. For example, At Nottingham’s Broadway theatre a distinguished panel of political experts has been assembled to discuss the film following tomorrow night’s screening. They’ll also be hosting a presidential quiz as the first results come in.

Described as a ticking timebomb’ by Indiewire and ‘the most important film of the year’ by The Irish Times, You’ve Been Trumped Too continues to stream live at and at the film’s Facebook page. The film is also playing at a growing list of cinemas despite Trump’s legal threats.

Among those showing the film are London’s Picturehouse Central, the GFT Glasgow (where Baxter will be present for a Q&A tonight at the 8.45 screening), the Eden Court in Inverness, St Andrews New Picturehouse, the MacRobert Centre Stirling, Dundee DCA, Aberdeen Belmont Filmhouse and Edinburgh’s Filmhouse. The film has also been playing in theatres in the United States and Canada.

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Nov 022016

trumped-too-baxter-from-facebook-page-2With thanks to Suzanne Kelly.

Donald Trump is using legal threats to prevent a new documentary from reaching American voters – according to the producers of ‘You’ve Been Trumped Too’, which opened in New York on Friday and began in UK cinemas this week.

You’ve Been Trumped Too contains footage showing Donald Trump wanting to ‘get rid’ of houses and building Mexico border style walls around homes in Scotland. 

It also explores the 5-year long saga of a 92-year-old widow who went without proper water supply for half a decade after having it cut off by Trump workers.

But the Trump Organization has issued a legal challenge threatening to sue if anyone dares show the film, and is pledging to take a frail pensioner to court over claims made in the film.

Montrose Pictures, a small Scottish based company, has completed a successful Kickstarter campaign – attracting more than thousand backers, aimed at bringing the film to as many American voters as possible ahead of the election through a digital or TV platform. 

Director Anthony Baxter added,

“Mr Trump tried the same approach with the BBC back in 2012.  But the corporation aired YOU’VE BEEN TRUMPED anyway, to widespread critical acclaim. We’re now looking for an American broadcaster or streaming platform willing to get the truth out there.  According to the critics, this is a film all Americans need to see.”

The film been called a ticking timebomb’ by Indiewire, ‘laced with enough maddening new material for it to feel like a valuable addition to the most hollow house of cards in the history of American politic.’  The New York Times said the film was ‘timely’ and added:

“this time the “you” in the title is the United States.“  

According to Variety: 

“the movie raises a valid question…how would Trump, if elected, treat the American people?”

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Oct 062016
Michael Moore and Anthony Baxter courtesty of A Baxter

Anthony Baxter with Michael Moore. Baxter’s 2011 film, ‘You’ve Been Trumped’ won the Special Jury Prize at Michael Moore’s prestigious Traverse City Film Festival.

With thanks to Suzanne Kelly.

Film maker Anthony Baxter launched a crowd funding appeal to get his next film out before the American elections.

From the Menie Estate to the American presidential campaign trail, Anthony takes us on a further journey exploring what Donald J Trump has done to Aberdeenshire residents, the environment and how his campaign became the most bigoted circus in American presidential politics – ever.

Menie Estate residents will confront American Trump supporters with facts; the film will share these reactions.

Anthony and his partner Richard Phinney will bring us the latest from the Aberdeenshire coast and some of those caught up in the activities at the estate.  When the duo worked on their first film, You’ve Been Trumped, they were infamously arrested – the first time journalists were arrested in Scotland.

The arrests were condemned soundly by the NUJ. The crime? Trying to find out when the Forbes Farm residents would have their water supply restored after Trump’s construction team broke the supply pipes. Charges were dropped.

The film will go out in American in advance of the Thursday 8 November election date. An Aberdeen premier will be announced shortly.

In order to complete the film, Baxter’s crowd funding campaign needs to raise a minimum of $70,000 by the 30 October. So far it has attracted 432 backers and raised $36,207.

There are a variety of rewards available, and all contributions are welcome.

Further details can be found here:

Aberdeen Voice’s Suzanne Kelly was one of many people interviewed for the film.

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Aug 072015

Filmmakers agree to stream for free the movie Donald Trump tried to ban. With thanks to Anthony Baxter.

Michael Moore with Anthony Baxter. Courtesty of A Baxter

Michael Moore and Anthony Baxter courtesty of A Baxter

An award-winning documentary that Donald Trump threatened to sue the BBC over is being made available to Americans before each US Presidential debate.

You’ve Been Trumped will be available to watch in its entirety at 12:01 am EST on Thursday, August 6, the date of the first debate in Cleveland, Ohio. This first free showing will expire after 24 hours.

The trailer for the film can be viewed here.

“Since Mr Trump has soared in the polls we have received many requests for You’ve Been Trumped,” said its director Anthony Baxter. “In a way we feel we have a public duty to make the film available as widely as possible.”

“You’ve Been Trumped shows a side of Mr Trump that anyone thinking of voting for him hasn’t seen, and so it’s perhaps no surprise Mr Trump hates the film.”

Trump tried to sue the BBC when the corporation aired You’ve Been Trumped in 2012. He then launched a bitter Twitter tirade against the film’s director and threatened legal action. But You’ve Been Trumped was aired anyway to record audiences (trending number one on twitter) and led to a collapse in his popularity in Britain.

“We intend to make the film available the day of each Presidential debate that Mr Trump takes part in,” said Mr Baxter.

Baxter, who was thrown in jail after an arrest by Scottish police backed by Trump (the police later apologised), is in the United States as part of the release of A Dangerous Game, which looks at the impact of Trump’s super luxury golf courses in America and Scotland, and features an explosive interview with the billionaire in Trump Tower. The BBC has acquired the film for broadcast later in the year.

Members of the public wishing to view You’ve Been Trumped, should go to

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Sep 052014

cllr-ford-with-michael-forbesWith thanks to Martin Ford.

Aberdeenshire Green councillor Martin Ford has welcomed the announcement of a planned feature film about the battle between residents on the Menie estate and Donald Trump.
The saga has already been the subject of a number of television and cinema documentaries.

Cllr Ford said:

“The tremendous resilience and courage of the Menie residents in standing up to Donald Trump and his backers is certainly a story worth telling. The residents are obvious heroes. There is also no shortage of villains in the plot.

“I look forward to seeing the completed film.”

Cllr Ford confirmed he had been contacted by the proposed film’s producers some time ago.

“I have now spoken with the screenwriter on a number of occasions to provide factual information about Aberdeenshire Council’s involvement in the events which the film will portray,” he said.

Cllr Ford chaired the Aberdeenshire Council committee that refused Donald Trump’s application for outline planning permission for a golf resort at Menie. Cllr Ford subsequently spoke out strongly against Mr Trump’s request that Aberdeenshire Council use compulsory purchase orders to remove his neighbours from their homes on the Menie estate.

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[Aberdeen Voice accepts and welcomes contributions from all sides/angles pertaining to any issue. Views and opinions expressed in any article are entirely those of the writer/contributor, and inclusion in our publication does not constitute support or endorsement of these by Aberdeen Voice as an organisation or any of its team members.]

Sep 022014

Anthony Baxter talks to Suzanne Kelly about golf, human rights, Robert F Kennedy Junior, politicians, and Glenfiddich. By Suzanne Kelly.

dangerous game hare2

‘A Dangerous Game’ will be on general release as of Friday 5th September in Scotland.

Anthony Baxter and Richard Phinney set out some years ago to make a documentary. Their subject was Donald Trump building a golf course on the Menie Estate, and what life was like for the residents. The filmmakers didn’t expect to be arrested for their investigative journalism. Then again, they didn’t expect to win virtually every documentary prize worldwide for the resulting film, either.

But that’s what their first film, ‘You’ve Been Trumped’ did.

‘A Dangerous Game’ is the sequel, and unusually for a documentary, it will be on general release as of Friday 5th September in Scotland, with English cinemas following on the 12th September.

The film premiered in Canada, Sheffield and at the Edinburgh International Film Festival to great acclaim. Anthony Baxter will hold a Question and Answer session and panel discussion after the 5th September 18:30 showing at Cineworld in Aberdeen’s Union Square. On the cusp of its general release.

A brief history of Trump

It was June of 2011 when as a new contributor to Aberdeen Voice I went to Aberdeen’s Belmont Cinema to see the brand new documentary ‘You’ve Been Trumped’, and to interview its makers, Anthony Baxter and Richard Phinney.

By way of background, Trump was initially turned down by the Aberdeenshire Council for his grandiose scheme, until Alex Salmond, who had wined and dined with The Donald on both sides of the Atlantic, sashayed in and took the normal planning process away from the shire.

Salmond, who to this day has not visited the Menie residents despite their being his constituents, had the Scottish government hold an inquiry which led to the green light for Trump, concluding that there would be thousands of jobs and that environmental protection was less important than these jobs, jobs which never materialised. Donald Trump got his way.

Perhaps that should that be ‘The Don’ and not the Donald: the BBC has linked him to organised crime in the USA.

The bulldozers moved in, residents refused to move out, even when Trump-employed tricksters tried to buy their homes under false pretences.

Residents were then under siege. Property was destroyed: David Milne’s fence, Michael Forbes’ boat and other possessions. Their water supply pipe was ‘accidentally’ broken by Trump diggers, police threatened residents with arrest if they went through newly erected gates, and private security illegally demanded frequent identity checks.

Susan Munro’s cottage was veritably surrounded by high mounds of earth which blocked the light and blew dirt and dust into her home, also ruining automobile engines. The once wild area became a veritable personal dictatorship with the blessing of the government.

A Dangerous Precedent

So is The Trumpster alone in seeking greenbelt land to manicure into submission? Not at all, as Anthony and ‘A Dangerous Game’ explain.

While much of the new film is concerned with the Menie Estate, it is largely set in Dubrovnik, a beautiful, UNESCO heritage site with a long, important history.

Naturally it is now in the crosshairs of international property developers who want to create a golf resort. These developers will, it seems, get to turn the wilderness area above the city into a resort for the rich golfer, with considerable local government collaboration and contempt for democracy and rule of law easing their path.

This undemocratic modus operandi is happening in many places. What’s wrong with turning legally protected wild areas into golf courses? Nothing, aside from losing public green spaces, wildlife habitat and biodiversity, greenskeeping chemicals which do leech into the water table, and corruption in governments leading to exploitation of resources and contempt for the electorate.

Part of the film shows how towns like Montrose manage to encourage golfing without the environmental destruction, architectural aberration or megalomania. Not so at Menie, not so at Dubrovnik.

A Dangerous Film

The film talks to environmental campaigners, and to Trump and his son. Father and son taped the interviews independently of Anthony, so as to prevent them from being badly edited or being made to look foolish. Heaven forfend.

The new film is again beautifully filmed and edited. However, there are rich and powerful people in several countries who won’t be coming out of this looking very good at all. If ‘You’ve Been Trumped’ stirred the pot, ‘A Dangerous Game’ is potentially explosive.

Playing Catch Up

Anthony has been working nearly non-stop for months, if not years now. We finally get to speak at some length.

“I’m very excited to get the film out, to get the story to the audience.”

He explains:

“I want to get across the important message about democracy and how it breaks down when those who are supposed to represent us don’t do so. 

“It’s unusual to have a documentary released in cinemas. There will be a Q&A session and panel discussions. ‘A Dangerous Game’ will be in cinema multiplexes as well as art house theatres.”

We inevitably discuss the Scottish Referendum. Anthony says:

“This film is not about independence, but it is about our democracy. We have a responsibility to be vigilant, whichever side wins on September 18th.”

The film steers clear of the concurrent Scottish independence referendum debate, but it does not steer clear of criticising those who have earned criticism. It is undeniable that Alex Salmond’s intervention and previous enthusiasm for Trump’s megalomaniacal plans trumped, if you will, due process, existing environmental protection legislation, and the rights of Menie Estate residents.

It somehow feels as if the Menie Estate’s environment and people are being forgotten by the government behind the walls of dirt and sand that Trump had built up around the properties which he called ‘eyesores’ and ‘wanted pulled down’. Alex Salmond is meant to represent the Menie residents, it’s his constituency.

He’s turned down many invitations to come and watch ‘You’ve Been Trumped.’ He has been asked to visit the estate prior to the sequel’s premiere on the 5th September, and to come to the premiere too. Answer comes there none. (I’m still waiting Alex; do come to the Aberdeen screening on the 5th and/or the after party: there are people who would love to speak with you).

Anthony elaborates:

“The residents live in Salmond’s constituency, and even after the public outcry and outpouring of sympathy, the Trump organisation continues to make life difficult for them.”

Anthony mentions resident Mickey Foote, who wonders about the ‘duty of care’ or lack thereof, shown by his elected representatives.

 “Alex Salmond is of course busy, but in eight years of driving past the area, he has never once visited the residents in their homes.” 

Anthony quotes Robert F Kennedy Jr. in the film and to me:

“Wherever you see environmental injury you also see the subversion of democracy. The two things go hand in hand. They always do.”

 If it can happen in Scotland in the 21st century, it can certainly happen to Dubrovnik too.

Anthony continues:

“Something in our democracy is broken and we have to fix it.”

Resident David Milne tried to fix it by starting a petition, among many other actions, to ask for a full inquiry into how the police, Scottish National Heritage, the local government’s planning people and other organisations behaved during and after the controversial planning application favoured Trump’s plans.

No fewer than 19,000 people signed this request, and the Scottish Government petitions committee, seven people, had to take the matter up. Their methodology? To ask all of the organisations in the firing line for grave failures whether they should be investigated or not.

Unsurprisingly, these organisations, all caught in undemocratic actions, declined to be investigated. Clearly confused, the petitions committee also seemed to think that the hearing to grant the planning permission was enough of an investigation to hold, even though actions such as the police failings clearly, obviously occurred after planning was granted.

Many people including me contacted the committee. They refused to explain anything on the matter and it is now permanently closed. When we discuss this, Anthony’s voice changes slightly; he sounds rightly angry.

“David Milne is an ordinary person, he’s not a lawyer and he’s been forced by circumstances to spend great amounts of time just trying to protect his rights and to have this investigation. It’s shocking how he was treated by the committee.”

We discuss the unfairness of this decision and many other issues. He tells me:

“We have every right to expect there will be logic in our democracy.”

I can’t argue, but it’s clear we don’t have much logic going around these days. The bunds blocking light from the Munro house were never part of the planning permission; they are still standing at full height despite what the law says. Gates are locked, stopping people exercising their right to roam.

The Government may not have wanted this issue looked at, despite the request of 19,000 people. However, people power came to the fore in spades when Michael Forbes was voted Top Scot of the Year by the public in Glenfiddich’s annual awards.

The awards night is beautifully captured in ‘A Dangerous Game’, and like the events in Dubrovnik that Anthony and Richard have documented, it serves to show that people can still make a difference when they act together. Baxter and Phinney have demonstrated that even one or two people can make a world of difference as well.

Continuing on the theme of awards, we talk about the nature of Trump the man, and Anthony brings up the award Trump ‘won’ – captured in the film. Trump proudly threw a press conference to announce he received a ‘six diamond award’ and that these ‘aren’t just given out’.

Except they are, if you are connected to the awarding organisation.

“It was a bogus award ceremony held on the Trump course – not a single person there did anything to find out why a 90-year-old woman still has no proper water supply.” 

I am completely taken aback: I had no idea that the water pipe broken by the Trump people’s operations so many years ago, leaving them with no running water, has not in all this time been repaired correctly. I am writing again to the Trump organisation; and will advise what the reply is. The web page trumpeting this six diamond award includes two Press & Journal congratulatory articles.

But where was the local press when Molly Forbes was carrying water from a stream in buckets, and Michael and Sheila Forbes were without water as well? In bed with the Trump administration literally, as Evening Express beauty queen ‘face of Aberdeen’ Sarah Malone married Aberdeen Journals Ltd’s Damian Bates; she is a Trump VP at Menie, despite having virtually no relevant previous experience.

Coincidentally, Baxter’s award-winning film concerning a local problem has received virtually no coverage, the residents and politicians standing up to Trump were mocked in the local printed press. We discuss the importance of having a free press that is not beholden to the rich and powerful and which lets people know what is really going on.

Since the Edinburgh premiere, Trump’s been busy. He’s now active in Ireland, and has turned Turnberry into Trump Turnberry. I ask if Anthony will be using any of these developments.

“We’re just tweaking a few details, there is the purchase of the Irish resort. We’ll add some pictures.”

Anthony’s taken time out to speak to me on the morning of his birthday; I don’t want to eat into his day, and we leave it there, for now. The film will be in Aberdeen at Cineworld Union Square and at the links. We will catch up further then.

‘A Dangerous Game’ – Release date 5th September 2014

Starring ….

Donald Trump, Michael Forbes, Alec Baldwin, Karine Polwart, Robert Kennedy Jr.

The 6:30 p.m. screening on the 5th September at Aberdeen Union Square has a Q&A with Director Anthony Baxter and characters from the film. A funny and eye-opening documentary exploring the environmental impact of luxury golf courses around the world.

Three years ago, Anthony Baxter released his entertaining ‘You’ve Been Trumped’. It followed US tycoon Donald Trump’s controversial plan to build a golf resort on Scotland’s beautiful, unspoilt north-east coastline. This was hailed as the best documentary of the year by renowned film critic Mark Kermode.

Now Baxter’s follow-up finds out what happened to Trump’s scheme – and to local farmer Michael Forbes, who refused to sell his land to the billionaire.

This time, Trump agrees to a full interview, which proves to be a memorable encounter! Baxter also broadens his scope to take a look at the ecological cost of similar luxury resorts being constructed for the super-rich in other countries. His travels take him as far afield as China, Las Vegas and Dubrovnik in Croatia. Contributors include environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy and actor and activist Alec Baldwin.

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[Aberdeen Voice accepts and welcomes contributions from all sides/angles pertaining to any issue. Views and opinions expressed in any article are entirely those of the writer/contributor, and inclusion in our publication does not constitute support or endorsement of these by Aberdeen Voice as an organisation or any of its team members.]

Aug 292014

dangerous game hare2With thanks to Anthony Baxter & Richard Phinney 

We are delighted to announce that our new feature documentary – A Dangerous Game – opens in cinemas across Scotland on Friday 5 September and on Friday 12 September in other cities in the United Kingdom.

The Official Trailer can be viewed here.

Specific venues are listed at the end of this message.

In many cinemas the film is scheduled for 7 days only, so please act quickly. In some cities the run may be extended if attendance is strong enough.

So tell your friends, colleagues and family (it is rated “PG”) and make a date to come out to see what we promise will be among the most powerful, entertaining and important films you’ll see this year.

Because Money and Power should not Cost the Earth.

“Unmissable” – Scotsman
“Highly Recommended” – Guardian
“Funny, penetrating and timely” – Herald
“A Dangerous Game is a game changer. Do not miss!” – Britflicks

In Cinemas From The 5th September

Visit to find out more

Aberdeen Cineworld

Birks Aberfeldy
Dundee Cineworld
Dundee Contemporary Arts

Edinburgh Cameo
Edinburgh Cineworld
Falkirk Cineworld

Glasgow Cineworld
Glasgow Grosvener & Hillhead
Perth Playhouse

Bath, The Little Theatre
Belfast Queens Film Theatre
Brighton Komedia
Brixton Ritzy
Cambridge Arts Picturehouse
Crouch End Arthouse

Exeter Picturehouse
Greenwich Picturehouse
Hackney Picturehouse
Inverness Eden Court
Liverpool FACT
Norwich Picturehouse
Nottingham Broadway
Oxford Picturehouse
York Picturehouse

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[Aberdeen Voice accepts and welcomes contributions from all sides/angles pertaining to any issue. Views and opinions expressed in any article are entirely those of the writer/contributor, and inclusion in our publication does not constitute support or endorsement of these by Aberdeen Voice as an organisation or any of its team members.]

Jul 042014

Suzanne Kelly aka Old Susannah gets to grips with the news dominating the headlines this week; she’s having her cake and eating it too.

Another quiet week passes in the Granite City; a baton came to UTG amid light security measures, Anthony Baxter and Richard Phinney premiered their new film, and a former resident’s run off to fight a jihad.

Of the top stories rocking Scotland this week, some seem to be food related: a chef lost his prestigious Trump job because of an offensive shortbread, and a legal ruling has decreed that a snowball is a cake, not a cookie.

The Portsoy Boat Festival was a great weekend out for the hundreds who came; I was serving as a roving interviewer, which was good fun.

The festival gets larger every year – more boats, more races, more music and more visitors.  See you next time.

Anthony Baxter’s A Dangerous Game featured at the Edinburgh film festival. This new documentary features Trump at Menie, and other golf developments going on around the world; the Hollywood Reporter rightly says:-

“The film features heavyweight interviewees including Trump himself, making a comically clumsy attempt at damage limitation”

– I’ve no idea what they mean by that; Trump was every bit as shrewd, honest and on-the-ball as you’d expect.

Some Menie residents went to a screening on the 24th, and by all accounts it was an electric, emotional night. I went on the Saturday; the film again played to a full house. Baxter answered questions afterwards, and after that, a few pints were had. The movie should be in Aberdeen in early September.

Sue Edwards, who tirelessly documents the changing face of the Menie area, rightfully got a photo credit. I was humbled to see that I got a mention in the credits as well.  After the screening I met a nice man who won an award for his documentary; a film about some chap called Tony Benn. Get to see this when you can; it’s called Will and Testament.

Edinburgh is going to have to buck up its ideas about events – hundreds and hundreds of tourists flocking to the city for the festivals, and there’s hardly any uniformed security or crowd barriers in evidence. They can learn a lot about event hosting from us, but more on that later.

Here are some timely definitions for the week’s news

Shortbread: (Scottish noun) a traditional biscuit made of flour, butter and sugar, traditionally shaped into fingers, fans or rounds. Not to be shaped into willies.

Dough! Chef Scot McMillan was fired this past week; his crimes against humanity take the biscuit. Apparently his misdeeds include allowing a willy-shaped shortbread to be baked in his absence, and having photographic evidence of this crime posted on his Facebook page.

What would poor Sarah have done if faced with such a giant willy in the flesh as it were?

This offensive shortbread gave Donald the rise when it popped up on the chef’s Facebook page (note to TUT, and anyone else, teams of Trump minions just may be poring over social media now, looking for offensive biscuit posts; I think this is what people mean by food porn).

Donald didn’t sugar-coat it, the man was fired.

There is no word yet how our own Flour of Scotland/Face of Aberdeen / Mrs Damian Bates/ Sarah Malone is taking this latest news story.

I’m not laughing, and I’m sure you aren’t either. Imagine the delicate sensibilities of The Donald and poor Sarah Malone Bates when their minions, digging around the facebook pages of Trump’s 6,000 local employees (well, that’s the number we were promised) and coming face to face with a funny looking biscuit.

I can picture the scene now; a shrieking Malone-Bates, a ranting Trump, the Spanish Inquisition and teams of paid Trump internet snoops, all horrified. It would be enough to make Trump’s hair stand on end.

What would poor Sarah have done if faced with such a giant willy in the flesh as it were? Would she have eaten it? What would the poor woman have said about the size of it? The trauma of thinking about the possible permutations is too much for Old Susannah.

Alas! As proven by television chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, a chef must be polite, avoid crudeness, and be above all scandal at all times.

If Trump had kept the chef, then all those hordes of limos and arriving private jets taking golfers to Trump would slow down, destroying our economy. I’m sure there is nothing more to this story than what the papers said. At least they didn’t find photographs of any staff enjoying fish suppers.

Perhaps Trump hires Malone-Bates (who is married to dashing P&J Editor Damian Bates, lest we forget), a handful of cleaners, cooks, chefs and waiting staff, and greens people – and then hires twice as many to spy on the web pages of employees. That would account for the prosperity we’re experiencing, witnessed by Stewart Spence flogging his Marcliffe hotel off for housing.

Yes, Spence did say that business was booming because of ‘The Trump Effect’. Perhaps he’s now made so much from American golfers that he can retire to a private island, but you’d have thought such a gold mine here in golf heaven would have remained a hotel. After all, Spence said his business ‘had increased 93%’ because of Trump.

So friends – keep the city and shire safe for millionaire golfers, and report any suspicious looking food seen on Facebook at once. Old Susannah remembers seeing some photos on Facebook of a famous family; they were holding severed elephant tails, dead big cats, and other big game the family in question had destroyed for pleasure.

Let’s hope we can keep seeing more photos like those, and less photos of misshapen shortbread. It’s all a matter of priorities; let’s hope this blows over before it is blown out of all proportions.

Cake: (Modern Scottish legal term) – something that you eat that’s not a biscuit or a pasty, which the taxman can’t charge VAT on.

Wars rage; people harm others, Vodaphone evades tax, we need foodbanks. But celebratory bells will ring, children will dance in the street, and the lion will lie down with the lamb: Snowballs are cakes.

In a decision taking a mere 20 years to reach, the establishment has declared that bakeries including Tunnocks can call their snowball cakes, er, cakes. I’m as relieved about this as you are; it’s been hard to sleep at night knowing this was going on. According to the Daily Mail:

“In the end, the verdict went in favour of the two bakeries’ claim that their snowballs should be classed as cakes – and so are not subject to VAT.

“It will cost HMRC – who had classed it as a sweet and so VAT-rated – more than £2.8million to refund the taxes paid by the two firms.

“The judgment means Lees can claim back £2,057,497 in VAT from HMRC, while Tunnocks can claim back £805,956.  It also means the taxman has lost out on future VAT from snowballs to the tune of millions of pounds.

“It was also revealed in the judgement released yesterday that an informal poll of tax office staff in Dundee found a majority had disagreed with their bosses and thought the teacake was a cake.”

There is no word yet on the classification of spotted dick.

Alas! there is no time to comment on the discrete, cost-effective security measures that accompanied the baton’s arrival in Union Terrace Gardens, but more on this, and Trump’s reaction to A Dangerous Game next week.

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Feb 272014

MartinFordatUTGWith thanks to Martin Ford.

Aberdeenshire Green councillor Martin Ford has been cleared by the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland, who has concluded that an interview Cllr Ford gave to the BBC was not a breach of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct.
Councillor Ford agreed to an interview request from the BBC 1 Panorama programme last March.

The interview was conducted at Aberdeenshire Council’s headquarters, Woodhill House, in Aberdeen.

Following the broadcast of the Panorama programme for which the interview was used in July 2013, Cllr Ford received a series of letters from the Council’s chief executive suggesting that the interview should not have been given on Council premises.

Commenting, Cllr Ford said,

“Councillors have a duty to to be open about what they do and answer journalists’ questions. It is an essential part of the democratic process. The judgement reflects and acknowledges that.

“I was clear from the outset that the interview was not even remotely close to being a breach of the Code of Conduct.

“I was extremely surprised by the letters I received from the Council’s chief executive last summer questioning whether I should have given the interview to Panorama on Council premises. Given the tone and content of the chief executive’s communications, after his third letter I decided to report myself to the Standards Commissioner in order to get the matter properly and impartially examined.

“The reason I decided to self-refer was to put the matter out of the hands of the Council. The record shows Aberdeenshire Council cannot be relied upon to give fair treatment to a wrongly accused councillor. Having been lynched by the mob once for doing nothing wrong, I had no wish to repeat the experience.”

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