By Bob Smith.
Martin Ford wis teen ower the coals
Fer spikkin tae yon Panorama
Seems the chiel’s opinion fae
Cooncil offices canna be on camera
The stushie fae the ‘shire cooncil
Tae North Koreawis mair suited
Wull aa future cooncil policy
Tae Kim Jong-Un be re-routed
A thocht we bade in a democracy
An war alood tae say yer bit
Cooncillor Ford gied his opinion
An some cooncillors hid a fit
His Trumpie got sic a grip?
Are cooncillors jist Trumpie goons?
Feart tae challenge The Donald
On onything tae dee wi dunes
A nivver thocht a’d see the day
Growen fowk aa rinnin scared
Fae a mannie full o bluster
Like the Menie Yankee laird
Lit’s curse aa coordly vratches
Lit them hang their heids in shame
They’ve selt fowk doon the river
As they play “King” Donald’s game
© Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2013
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Suzanne Kelly gets to grips with the week that was with relevant definitions.
Bells rang out across the land; families cheered; flags were waved in celebration; couples kissed in the streets. The happy news swept the world; the twittersphere nearly exploded. I’m sure we will all remember where we were the happy day Ian Tallboys collected another award for the forest created on Tullos Hill. Hip hip hooray.
Yes, it’s good news again – Tullos Hill has won another award http://www.scotsman.com/tullos-hill-wood-commended. Chris Piper and Ranger Bigboy, who proudly collected the award, are captured in a moving article and beautiful photo, even more beautiful than Tullos Hill is at present.
Weeds choke many of the new trees, saplings are planted amid household and industrial rubble in stony soil, the deer are gone – but it’s award worthy in this state all the same.
Pete Leonard should be told that various ‘garden escapee’ flowers still manage to grow on the hill; he made it clear he had no time for the field of Dame’s Violets which used to cover the hill. No doubt he’ll want the remaining stragglers eradicated.
There is no news yet on the original proposal to make Tullos Hill’s future forest pay its way by producing timber. I hope they’re not holding their breath (or do I?). For some reason the phrase ‘don’t count your chickens before they hatch’ springs to mind.
There are however actually signs of growth on the trees at St Fitticks. Soon some of them will be as tall as the surrounding weeds; tall enough to be hit by the salt spray from the North Sea and be hit by the 90+ mph winds we sometimes get.
Thankfully the deer are all gone/shot/culled, so it’s only the soil, salt spray, strong winds and a few random vandals that stand in the way of us having a forest (on a spot where Mother Nature had somehow not planted one before we did – I wonder why?). What could possibly go wrong? (note – in fairness there are a few positives as well as a number of negatives regarding the current Tullos Hill ‘state–obviously not for deer though.
More on the state of the hill will be forthcoming. Thanks to everyone who came on our picnic last Sunday and congratulations to our experts on yet another award.
While we’ve had those Tallstoryboys winning awards, there has sadly been a spate of bad boys lately too. Naughty councillors, apoplectic security guards and profane beer brewers all made this week’s local news.
Advertising Standards Agency: (modern Eng. noun) An organisation set up to oversee advertisements for accuracy and profanity.
It would be remiss of me to ignore that the ASA have deemed some of BrewDog’s website copy offensive. The use of the word f*ck (among other words) on the BD website was totally criminal, unacceptable, offensive, immoral and the rest of it. No doubt they had planned to turn the paragraphs in question from a small blurb amongst hundreds of other small blurbs on their page into tshirts, an MTV video, and a tv series.
The whole world would have been offended. I’m very glad the ASA folks nipped this in the bud, or tried to. And to think I used to believe the ASA were feckless.
The ASA knows what it’s doing and fearlessly pursues those who advertise falsely or offensively. Mind you, they were no help regarding the Union Terrace Gardens referendum. I’d been among complainers to the ASA and OFCOM about the content of the pro web adverts. Believe it or not, the promises for the web almost seemed too good to be true, but then I’m a touch cynical on occasion.
The ASA wrote to me advising they had no power over all the ads and propaganda that appeared about the granite web.
They said their hands were tied – they could not challenge claims the web would mean billions of pounds flowing into the city for hundreds of years, the green space would double magically, or that 6,000 desirable permanent well-paid jobs came with the web, and it wasn’t going to cost the taxpayer anything at all ever. I guess these claims sounded realistic or that the ASA didn’t want to get involved.
Yet while the ASA shied away, OFCOM stepped up to the plate – after the referendum vote had taken place of course.
at the rate we’re going, the entire shire will be under concrete soon
Anyway, I’m glad the ASA team have sprung on this meaty topic. It must have been boring, trying to get energy company advertisements to give reliable, truthful information on energy pricing, or look at all the truthful, verifiable, legaly ads appearing on Facebook. Way to go.
Doing a bit further research, I note there have been similar f-word issues. Thankfully, common sense has prevailed. BrewDog’s been smacked across its collective nose with a rolled up newspaper (possibly the Evening Express) for writing ‘f*ck’ on its website, while at the same time, French Connection U.K. remain, understandably, free to ‘FCUK’ around. I hope we can all appreciate the distinction between the two cases.
Skateboarders: (mod Eng. plural noun) A youth subculture based around urban landscape two-wheel transport.
I feel sorry for our local skateboarders; they would have been the true beneficiaries of any granite web. Mind you, at the rate we’re going, the entire shire will be under concrete soon, and ideal for skating.
Most skaters do their thing without bothering people. Clearly two young boarders got under the skin of an oil business security guard. In a Facebook Video, the man loses his temper spectacularly.
Was the guard taunted? Was it persistent annoyance from the boys? We don’t know. We do know our heroic guard used language the ASA would have had issues with, and chased the kids away – while chasing them down the public street, threatening GBH. Alas! the company in question has faulty phone lines, and could not discuss the incident when a concerned FB reader rang about the incident.
Rumours suggesting the guard’s being poached by Malone to work security at Trumpland remain unconfirmed.
Martin Ford: (Proper name) Aberdeenshire Councillor.
Who’s been a naughty boy then? Cllr. Ford is in the doghouse, facing the charge of being a councillor giving an interview to the media on council property concerning council issues. The supreme commander, aka chief Executive Colin MacKenzie and nemesis Cllr. Gifford are out for Ford’s head on a platter for this.
MacKenzie summoned Ford by letter to a meeting, somewhat like the principal sending a letter to your teacher summoning you to the principal’s office. How dare Ford give an interview at the council without getting a hall pass first? MacKenzie would have us believe that any and all interviews must be vetted and approved by him in advance if they happen to involve councillors talking when at the council.
Old Susannah’s written to get answers to a few questions – It’s just as well that every one of Cllr. Ford’s peers has behaved impeccably at all times.
I asked the complainers to answer a few simple questions for me:- where is the procedure set down for giving interviews; how many requests to conduct interviews were made; how many approved or disallowed; and what would the august Chief Executive who hands out the permission slips do if he himself wants to give a media interview?
When they answer me, I’ll let you know. Until then, it’s the naughty step for Martin Ford. After all, we can’t have people going around using their positions in unauthorised fashion.
It might be useful to juxtapose this anger over the use of council offices by a councillor with how the Scottish Enterprise logo and footage of Jennifer Craw got into the promo video made to convince us that Trump was the future.
Things are just a little different in Aberdeen City Council
I remember seeing this video presented by George Sorial himself at a town hall style meeting years ago. I got in touch with SE asap to find out whether this was an endorsement and if permission had been given to use this footage.
They coyly replied that permission had not been given to use the SE logo, which clearly implied that this government quango were in favour of Trump. Which of course they were; they’d spent taxpayer money on the promo DVD made to sell Balmedie to investors. Did Craw get hauled in to explain her presence in the film? Did SE make a protest and clear the air, saying they gave no permission? Definitely not.
Clearly this kind of propaganda is allowed; Ford talking to reporters in the shire’s hallowed offices is, of course, just wrong.
Things are just a little different in Aberdeen City Council. Old Susannah’s been to more than a few big meetings there now, and the funny thing is, after major votes, the councillors and waiting media just meet up and speak wherever and about whatever they want on council premises. It’s almost as if there is nothing wrong with councillors telling the public where they stand.
Next week: more on the city of culture bid submission, which I’m still forcing myself to read.
I had to stop at the ‘gigs on rigs’ bit; it was too exciting. Leaving aside the great-sounding, hip, happening concept title ‘gigs on rigs (which doesn’t at all sound like an idea scrawled on the back of an envelope after a long dinner), I am not really sure how this was going to work. First there is the fact the ‘city of culture’ was not really meant to be an ‘oil rig of culture’ hundreds of miles offshore.
For some reason, oil rigs are protected by the highest levels of security and the inherent safety issues with access dependent on weather conditions. Would your average band want to fly out to the middle of the North Sea to spend an evening?
Then there was the small matter of where these concerts were to be beamed in town, what acts would play (Toto? The Beautiful South? Deacon Blue?), and how we’d cope with the massive influx of visitors and the ticket demand for people who’d come to Aberdeen to go to local venues to watch offshore gigs on rigs. This could have been our own Glastonbury.
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By Bob Smith.
Eence upon a time there wis a boorachie o fowk fae bade near the seaside. There wis Paradise Molly plus her loon Pigsty Mike an Sheila his missus. Nae far awa wis Davie Blackbeard an his gweed wife Moira and jist doon the road bade Fiesty Susie an her faimily.
Noo they aa wint aboot their business richt happily tull a foreign invader ca’ed Baron Hairmop cam oot o the sky fae a far aff lan wi his henchman Hummel Doddie.
Baron Hairmop bocht the big hoose an some o the lan roon aboot an decreed he wis gyaan ti bigg a placie faar rich fowk cwid ging fer a waak hittin a wee fite ba wi sticks an there wis tae be a tavern wi rooms faar a bodie cwid sleep in atween enjoyin thersels .
As weel he wis tae bigg a fyow posh hoosies fer ither rich fowk tae buy or tae rint as placies fer their holidays. Bit sic things hid tae be lookit at bi jist ower a dizzen local mannies an wifies alang wi Green Marty fa hid the power tae refuse sic ideas.
They didna like the thocht o Baron Hairmop biggin on some gey special sand doons fit war aye on the move, so they wintit the chiel tae come back wi a plan fit wis a wee bittie chynged. Baron Hairmop wis fair fizzin. He wisna used tae fowk nae deein his biddin an said he wid move awa tae an emerald green isle if his ideas war refused.
Noo the heid bummer in aa Scotland, King Eck the Fish an his loyal courtier Johnnie Ninney were feart o Baron Hairmop cos he hid mair gold than them an they fancied some fer their kingdom. So they gied in tae Baron Hairmop’s threats an said, “jist gyang aheid min we’ll nae staan in yer wye”.
Iss fair pleased some o the local serfs faa hid knelt at the feet o Baron Hairmop pledgin their support fer aathing he did, at the same time rubbin their hauns wi glee at the thocht he micht throw a few mecks their wye.
Bit ither gweed fowk warna sae glaikit an thocht the Baron wis mair an likely tae skedaddle wi maist o his loot.
the king winted tae bigg a fyow windmills close tae faar fowk wid be hittin the wee fite bas wi sticks
Noo Baron Hairmop wis ee’in up the hoosies an bitties o grun fit Paradise Molly, Pigsty Mike, Davie Blackbeard an Feisty Susie ained an tried tae buy them oot. “Tak a hike min”, wis their reply, wiv nae intinshun o movin. Iss fair hid Baron Hairmop teerin his hair an he got the local toon cryers Pissan Urinal an his sister Eve Distress tae help him bi spootin oot a lot of propaganda bile.
Paradise Molly, Pigsty Mike, Davie an Susie hid a lot tae pit up wi. Baron Hairmop winted them tae be forced tae sell tae him bit fowk aa ower the lan fin they got tae ken aboot iss rebelled an mairched aa ower the doons wi banners agin Baron Hairmop. Syne on tae the scene cam twa knights in shinin armour ca’ed Ant an Dick.
They wint aboot an fun oot fit wis really gyaan on aroon Baron Hairmop’s placie. The Baron wisna chuffed as fit they fun oot made the chiel look a richt bullyin cyaard.
Ant an Dick landit in the dungeons fer a wee filie bit their story fin they telt it wis heard aa ower the lan an fowk rose up agin Hairmop. The Baron hid a dark haired servin winch ca’ed Lotta Baloney fa tried tae save face bi spikkin up fer him bit he thocht aabody faa wis agin him wis morons, eejits an ither sic naisty thingies.
He didna like King Eck the Fish noo cos the king winted tae bigg a fyow windmills close tae faar fowk wid be hittin the wee fite bas wi sticks. Nae jist aat, bit Pigsty Mike hid jist won a richt gweed award fer bein Tap o the Scots.
The last fowk heard o Baron Hairmop wis he wis holed up in his tower back in his hameland.
Hummel Doddie an Lotta Baloney war still tryin tae mak oot the Baron hid gweed intinshuns, bit even some o his serfs didna noo believe his fairy tales. The oor o midnicht wis weerin near.
Wid he turn intae a pumpkin? Nae chunce cos he wis een aready.
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Greens Complain Over Mistakes In Referendum Mailing
Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Green Party is to complain to Aberdeen City Council over mistakes in the mailing and online information for voters in the Union Terrace Gardens referendum. Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Green Party is one of seven groups participating in the referendum process in support of retaining Union Terrace Gardens. With thanks to Martin Ford.
There is also a word missing from the half of the statement that is included. The contact information given for the Party is not the contact information provided to the City Council for use in the referendum mailing.
Voters in the referendum can vote online at:
The statements provided by the various registered campaigning organisations are also included in the online information. As with the printed information sent to voters by post, about half the Green Party’s statement is missing.
It is reported that some of the statement submitted by Aberdeen Against Austerity, another campaigning organisation in favour of retaining Union Terrace Gardens, is also missing from the online information for voters. Another two statements run into one another without a break, so could appear to be one statement.
Commenting, the vice-convenor of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Green Party, Rhonda Reekie, said:
“I find it quite incredible that multiple mistakes could have been made in the referendum mailing. Wasn’t the material proof read? Even the most cursory check would surely have revealed that six whole paragraphs were missing from our statement.
“This is not good enough. This referendum is important and must be fairly and competently conducted. What has happened is not fair.
“Errors on this scale amount to gross incompetence by the City Council. The Green Party will be complaining to the Council in the strongest terms.”
The Green Party’s full statement can be read by voters on the party’s own website:
Rhonda Reekie 01224 714135;
Martin Ford 01224 790052.
More City Screenings For Trump Film
The Belmont Cinema has held ‘you’ve been trumped’ over for two more weeks due to popular demand writes Voice’s Suzanne Kelly.
Three more screenings have been scheduled over the coming weekend to cater for the sustained public interest in the film.
I attended it again last Sunday; Director Anthony Baxter was present and held another Q&A session after the film. This session overran with many people staying behind in the bar to discuss the issues with him.
Long-term Menie resident Susan Munro was also present, and answered several questions. Since filming, Ms Munro’s garden and car have been affected by a huge mound of sand which the construction engineers left very close to her property.
This will be the second consecutive weekend that the Belmont Picturehouse has added screenings of ‘You’ve Been Trumped’ to their schedule since it’s City premiere on June 17. Such has been the demand.
Belmont Cinema Assistant Manager Kenny says:
“We do screen quite a few documentaries, but interest for this film has been overwhelming. We are very happy to have been able to add more screenings.”
In the current issue of Aberdeen Voice, you can read my review of Anthony Baxter’s award winning film.
Since writing this review, major newspapers The Guardian and The Daily Mail have expressed interest in the Trump development. They report Donald Trump has expressed concerns that ‘the world has changed’ since he bought land at Menie and has asked ‘where’s the market?’
The additional screenings will be held
Friday 1 July, 6.30pm
Saturday 2 July, 1.45pm
Sunday 3 July, 6.30pm
Anthony Baxter is on his way to the New York screening of ‘you’ve been trumped’; the funding he needed is coming from the public. If you would like to support ‘you’ve been trumped’, then please visit:
You’ve Been Trumped’s crowd-funding campaign and trailer:
Additional information on the film can be found here:
You’ve Been Trumped – Suzanne Kelly Reviews
Documentaries on the whole can be, well boring to tell the truth. They have to tell you what’s going on and why, and/or teach you something. They are factual and more often than not dry. Voice’s Suzanne Kelly watched ‘you’ve been trumped’ which in the simplest terms tells the story of Donald Trump’s building of ‘the world’s greatest golf course’ at the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire.
Baxter opens and closes his film with cuts from the classic cult film set in Pennan, ‘Local Hero.’ His re-enactment of the phone box scene is already being hailed as iconic (I shan’t spoil it for you – go see it).
If ‘Local Hero’ had been written today, you would think it was paying homage to what’s going on at Menie. In the cult classic ‘Local Hero’, a lone man refuses to leave his Scottish coastal property and is thus halting big business from ruining the environment with a destructive, massive building plan.
Sadly, the Menie saga will not get the happy ending ‘Local Hero’ gave us. The dunes are wrecked, the landscape forever altered by a flotilla of bulldozers.
Of particular concern to ecologists and scientists was the fate of the moveable sand dune system – the last one in Scotland if you are interested – which is no more. Trump has, as he put it ‘stabilised’ it. This unique ecosystem, once a ‘Site of Specific Interest’ (SSI) is now a giant, barren sandbox filled with diggers.
Trees were filmed as they were torn from the earth and buried – several hundred of them it seemed. Baxter interviews a scientist, who lets us know in no uncertain terms that this is an environmental disaster (a SSI is the highest level of protection a site can be given. The Government decided it was not as important as ‘jobs creation’). The scenes of coastal countryside bliss early in the film are followed by earthmoving equipment destroying the ecosystems – you don’t need a degree in environmental studies to see how terrible a thing this is, you just need eyes.
The film also uses some beautiful animation sequences of animal life superimposed over the pristine landscape that used to be the home of the Menie families. There are very poignant scenes involving many of the residents, but particularly moving are scenes of life-long resident Molly Forbes tending her garden and chickens.
Those residents being filmed retain their outward self-possession, but Baxter captures the frustration, sadness and fear which Trump brought to them with his construction tactics.
Over the months of filming you feel the anxiety and tension build. An art event is held which adds optimism and shows local resistance. However, the threat of compulsory purchase orders (where the Government could claim their land and force them out) lingered for a long and clearly took its toll on the residents. So did having to go without water for over a week (a construction-related deprivation), losing a power line (snapped by a Trump earthmover), and ever-present private Trump security.
The viewer is amazed this relatively small number of residents handle it as well as they do. The photographic documentation of these events is incontrovertible and extremely moving. The Trump organisation derides Baxter as a ‘fraud’ and ‘failure’.
I never before found myself shouting and making comments during a documentary, but I was far from alone in doing so; the theatre echoed with shouts and indignant cries. Baxter has grabbed his audience, and they wait for the next development eagerly and angrily. He is not being sensationalist: he is documenting and we are reacting.
A word on Mr Donald Trump is called for. If Baxter’s film had been fiction, it would have been universally criticised for inventing (what is in my opinion) such an extremely pompous, deceitful, greedy, sexist megalomaniac villain.
When we first see Trump, nearly the first thing he does is try to hire some beauty competition winner (Miss Glasgow or some such thing) who had been invited to his press launch.
“She’s beautiful…. very nice… Maybe she wants a job in marketing or something.” The Donald seems to direct at one of his staff.
Exactly how this gigantic housing development, resort and golf club got planning permission is a mystery only a few people can explain – and they are not talking.
The Aberdeenshire Council voted against the proposal when it first came up – its scale and environmental impact had all of the wildlife experts and charities (RSPB, WWF, Ramblers Association) dead set against it. Martin Ford of the Aberdeenshire Council explained that Trump’s plans disregarded existing planning criteria.
Mr Salmond, our SNP Scottish leader, was by all accounts meeting Mr Trump for dinner and such. Before anyone knew what had happened, the Scottish Parliament did what had never been done before: it called the rejected application in, and gave it the green light. Salmond is shown explaining how the ‘economic benefits’ and ‘job creation’ promised exceeded the value of our environment. A subsequent interview with a London School of Economics seems to be the only critique performed on Trump’s figures. Suffice it to say that the LSE expert had more than a few doubts.
Baxter uses these experts to illustrate the issues and gives us the sequence of events. There are interviews with the key players – including a reluctant Trump who is confronted by Baxter at the RGU press conference. Trump was rattled. Robert Gordon University awarded ‘The Donald’ an honorary Doctorate. One of the most powerful scenes in the documentary is when Dr Kennedy, the first principal of RGU, returns his degree.
In a passionate speech Kennedy declares:
“Don’t trample your neighbours; don’t destroy the environment…Somebody’s got to stand up to this….”
When you see this documentary, you will see what kinds of pressures were and still are exerted on the residents and the documentary makers for standing up. Perhaps the scene most fraught with tension is when Baxter has little control over the filming – as he is being arrested in an outrageous fashion by Grampian Police, virtually attacked, cuffed and thrown in a police car.
Whatever warranted this physical mistreatment? There is no trace of cause in the events leading to the arrests. Four hours later he and Phinney are released; their film is held for one week by the authorities. Welcome to 21st Century Scotland. We are ‘open for business’.
Coda: Donald Trump arrived in Aberdeen last week on his partially gold-plated jet; he wants Alex Salmond and/or Sean Connery to open his resort. On 7 July ‘you’ve been trumped’ will show in New York City: I await audience and press reaction eagerly.
Watch this space; watch this film.
More City Screenings For ‘You’ve Been Trumped’. click here for more info
Premiere League Performance Exposes Menie Meanness
In contrast to the local established press’s slavering over the crazy golf antics at Menie, Andrew Baxter’s film You’ve Been Trumped, premiered at The Belmont Cinema last Friday, gets behind the hype to expose the darker side of the saga. This is Sean Ashley‘s view.
You’ve Been Trumped.
Tickets had sold out very quickly and although the Belmont Cinema had laid on an extra screening the following day, I wanted to be there for the premiere.
It was indeed exciting.
The film, produced by Richard Phinney and directed by Anthony Baxter, tells the story of unprecedented environmental destruction and the effect on families by the development of Donald Trump’s golf resort at Menie.
In NE Scotland, the reality of what has been happening has often failed to be published by the local press and I wanted to see with my own eyes a truthful description of events.
The film began with a look at the family history of Molly Forbes, her son Michael and their close connection to the land and sea in this part of Scotland. This, if I were to be asked, was my favourite part of the film as it reminded me of Scotland’s heritage and identity which could easily be forgotten if it were not for old sepia pictures and film stills, and, more importantly, memories of folk like Molly.
Further on in the film I witnessed the bullying and intimidation experienced by the families living in their own homes, but surrounded by Trump’s estate. The level of contempt held by the Trump Organisation towards their peaceful living neighbours was astonishing.
Whilst watching, I felt angry and upset at the injustice the Forbes, Milne and Munro families experienced. Care and support for them from the authorities was blatantly non-existent.
I was also touched by the dignity of the residents and the suffering they have endured, often unreported, but am very glad their voices have been allowed to be heard through this documentary.
I hope You’ve Been Trumped will be seen by many, many people.
* Stop Press – Additional screenings will be held at Belmont Picturehouse, Aberdeen:-
Friday 24 June at 6.30pm
Saturday 25 June at 1.45pm
Sunday 26 June at 6.30pm
In Conversation With Anthony Baxter
‘You’ve Been Trumped’ is a new documentary taking on Donald Trump’s invasion of Scotland. Director Anthony Baxter talks to Voice’s Suzanne Kelly about movie making in Scotland, Trump, Menie’s residents and environment, the future – and getting arrested for a ‘breach of the peace’.
Tickets for the previous night had sold out at a fantastic pace, rivalled only by the demand the Belmont experienced for the last Harry Potter movie. Rather impressive for a documentary about building a golf course.
However, this is no ordinary golf course, no ordinary bit of coastline, and certainly no ordinary people at the story’s heart.
Although there are a large number of people wanting and needing his time before the movie starts, he invites me to sit with him for an interview, and offers me more time afterwards should I need it?
The documentary had its Scottish premier at the Belmont the night before, and residents of Menie were warmly-received guests of honour. When the film ended last night, it received a standing ovation – something I have never seen for a documentary — with long-suffering Menie residents Molly Forbes and Michael Forbes getting applause.
The audience included Martin Ford, the Aberdeenshire Councillor who cast a deciding vote against Trump’s plans before the Scottish Government called in the plan and allowed the devastation of the Menie Estate. This was a completely unprecedented move on the Scottish Government’s part.
Baxter greets me enthusiastically; he is eager to talk about last night, and he is filled with thanks for all of those who came, and those who supported the film’s creation, particularly the Menie residents and his producer, Richard Phinney.
I ask him how he became interested in Trump’s plans for building ‘the world’s greatest golf course.’
“My grandfather lived in Montrose, and we often went up the coast to Menie when I was young,”
“I wanted to make the film – it was a very important story and it wasn’t being told properly… it was not being reported.”
We discuss the glaring absence of newspaper coverage of last night’s event (both Northsound Radio and STV covered the film’s premier, but there was not a word in the Press & Journal or the Evening Express).
“It was the biggest documentary ticket sales demand at this cinema, and none of the local press even mentioned it,” Baxter comments.
As a local event it was newsworthy – as a documentary on a controversial Aberdeenshire issue, it was doubly so. Elsewhere in the world, the press are less coy. The Times and The Guardian newspapers aren’t so myopic – they have covered the documentary prominently. In the wider world The Toronto Star, Canada’s biggest selling newspaper, declared:-
“You’ve Been Trumped is a “shattering chronicle… of American greed, hubris and stupidity.”
Baxter tells me that in Canada the audience was extremely angry after seeing the film, and couldn’t believe Donald Trump’s golf resort had been given the go-ahead in Scotland. Today’s audience was no less angry.
He explains his frustration at the lack of Scottish arts funding: none of our government-sponsored arts bodies has given him anything at all towards his film’s creation. He had applied for a £10,000 grant – he was turned down. Apparently the Scottish government funding source which turned him down concluded ‘there was not enough audience interest.’
I would love to ask this agency what it has to say now.
“I also had to re-mortgage my house.”
I asked him to repeat, and he confirms this. It takes a particular kind of bravery to invest any money and time to pursue a creative venture in the first place – but to be willing to risk your home to make a film about one of the world’s most lawsuit-happy entrepreneurs must take nerves of steel.
I mention that ‘You’ve Been Trumped’ has just won an award.
“It’s fantastic to get the Sheffield Doc/Fest Green Award– it’s the highest environmental documentary accolade in Great Britain.” Baxter explains.
“Now I just want to get the film seen by as many people as possible.”
The judges who awarded the prize said:-
“This year’s Green Award goes to a film which exposes one of the most shocking environmental crimes in recent UK history. We hope that this award will raise awareness and hold Donald Trump to account for his environmental and social belligerence, and expose the corruption and incompetence at the heart of the Scottish authorities which let this destruction go ahead.”
The project started a year ago – by the time I’ve seen the film, I realise what an extraordinary year it’s been for him, the Menie residents, and tragically for what was once a dynamic sand dune system and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (the highest environmental protection an area can be given – for all the good it meant in the end).
It looks as if Baxter will be successful in getting people to see his movie – he is off on 7th July to New York where the film will be shown at the IFC (the prestigious New York City home for independent films).
“I will be sending Donald Trump an invitation.” Baxter offers.
Trump has apparently derided the film as ‘amateurish… a failure’ and ‘an attempt to cash in on the Trump name.’ According to STV, the Trump organisation has branded Anthony Baxter ‘a fraud.’ All things considered, I somehow think ‘the Donald’ won’t be accepting Baxter’s invitation.
Grampian Police would seem to have slightly overstepped the mark
The Trump organisation has a habit of, shall I say, putting forth its own version of the truth. For one thing the Trump organisation once said it would never use compulsory purchase orders to take over the homes at Menie.
This claim was proved to be untrue by Aberdeen Voice’s contributor, ‘Bennachie Blether’ , who had been sent copies of lawyer’s letters which indeed discuss compulsory purchase orders, see: Aberdeen Voice Article – Menie Masterplan
Trump has also claimed that Menie Resident Michael Forbes twice promised to sell out to Trump. Forbes denies the claim, and for anyone who has seen this film, it is inconceivable Forbes would ever have said any such thing. I am therefore just a little sceptical of Trump’s fraud claim. Baxter then has other showings – for details see: youvebeentrumped – the movie
Baxter and Phinney were arrested at Menie for ‘a breach of the peace’. This arrest is captured on film.
Baxter is asked during the Q&A – the first question as it happens – if he now plans to complain about the police or take any further action.
Baxter says that he wanted to do the job of showing what is going on at Menie, and it is now for others to look at the police.
He and Phinney were charged with a ‘Breach of the Peace’ before the charges were downgraded to written cautions at the time – which served both to prevent them having a fair day at court, and to try to intimidate them from continuing their filming.
If the intent was to stop this film, it is clear that it did the exact opposite.
The entire matter was eventually thrown out – not before DNA had been taken and they had been treated like criminals: they did not find out about the matter being dropped from an apologetic police force, but from the media third-hand. This use of police caution had also been used against Michael Forbes – he had removed marker flags that Trump’s people put on his land – and was cautioned not to do anything again. The value of these flags was £13.
Baxter has suggested someone should investigate the policing of the Menie Estate. Someone will be doing so.
I form the impression that Anthony Baxter is a man who is not going to rest on his laurels; in fact I doubt he’ll be getting much rest even if he wanted to.
People are seeking his attention; I end the interview and he gives me his contact details. He’s leaving Aberdeen after this afternoon’s film and question & answer session. One last question springs to my mind.
“What’s next? Any future documentaries planned?” I ask.
“I’d like to do something on Afghanistan. There is a children’s hospital ER I want to look at.” Baxter answers, and is soon ushered away for the film’s start.
I resolve to keep my eye on his future works, and head off to find my seat. When I emerge a few hours later, I am impressed, shocked, and angry. The film is beautifully crafted, and through all the trials, the residents of Menie, and other individuals who stood against the Trump machine renew my faith in people to a considerable degree. If as Trump says Baxter is a ‘fraud’ and a ‘failure’, then I think we could do with more frauds and failures like him. See this film.
Awards: Sheffield Green Award, Sheffield International Documentary Festival, Doc/Fest 2011
Directed By: Anthony Baxter
Written By: Anthony Baxter & Richard Phinney
Produced By: Richard Phinney
Website http://www.youvebeentrumped.com http://www.jonsi.com
For those of you who saw the film and wish to rate it for The Guardian readers, see: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/movie/142256
… And for those of you who have not yet had the pleasure – additional screenings will be held at Belmont Picturehouse, Aberdeen:-
Friday 24 June at 6.30pm
Saturday 25 June at 1.45pm
Sunday 26 June at