New 3 screen cinema boasts ‘Costing the Earth’ Fest over March Weekend. With thanks to Suzanne Kelly.
A trio of critically acclaimed films are to unspool on the big screen at Montrose’s new community run £3.5m cinema later this weekend, as the town boasts its first ever film festival with live Q&As.
The festival kicks off with a tenth anniversary screening of the multi-award-winning documentary ‘You’ve Been Trumped’ on Friday March 18.
Aberdeenshire residents who stood up to Donald Trump’s bullying over his luxury golf resort plans will join director Anthony Baxter (pictured) for audience questions after the film.
Also at the ‘Costing the Earth’ screening will be Aberdeenshire Councillor Martin Ford – the politician whose casting vote derailed Mr Trump’s golf resort the first time around – and artist David McCue whose paintings of key characters caught up in the drama, won praise from around the world.
The £10 ticket price includes a drink with the director and other guests in the cinema’s new community room – from 6.45pm, with the film starting at 7.30pm.
On Saturday March 19 the event, which is part of Scotland’s climate festival, continues with a special screening of BAFTA winning Bill Forsyth’s iconic ‘Local Hero’ in Montrose at 7.30pm.
The film, which stars the legendary actor Burt Lancaster, is about an American oil company representative sent to the fictional village of Ferness on the west coast of Scotland to purchase the town and surrounding property for his company. A Q&A following the film, will also include special guests.
Finally, on Sunday March 20 at 3.30pm, ‘A Dangerous Game’ will screen – the 2014 follow up to You’ve Been Trumped. Residents from Aberdeenshire will again join for a Q&A following the screening, with the £10 ticket price also including tea and cake.
Filmmaker and Montrose Playhouse Patron Anthony Baxter added:
“It’s wonderful for Montrose to be hosting our first ever film festival. And it’s an honour to be welcoming residents of the Menie Estate who stood up to Trump to our town – 10 years after the release of You’ve Been Trumped.
“All of these films, in their own way, highlight the cost to the planet, if we allow money and power to override environmental concerns.”
Tickets can be booked online for all the screenings at this link.
Trump International Golf Links Scotland at Menie is killing wildlife, and may be ignoring good practice with its horrific open stink pits filled with decaying deer and birds.
NatureScot told Aberdeen Voice it has concerns at Trump’s decision to kill wildlife and leave it rotting in open holes, saying:
“the disposal of carcasses in a water-logged, open burial pit is not in line with good practice.”
In early February 2021 a concerned member of the public who discovered a stink pit on the Trump Menie Estate alerted Aberdeen Voice. They sent us photographs of the ‘worrying’ pit filled with deer and birds decaying in oily, stagnant water.
For a resort given a ‘Six Star Diamond award’ for its excellence (Donald J Trump was on the award body’s executive board coincidentally), and given Trump’s infamous ‘sh*thole countries’ remark when he was president, this disgusting, wildlife destruction is beyond the pale.
The practice of having stink pits is, shockingly, not illegal.
The pit is used to destroy wildlife. Animals are killed, then the rotting carcasses are left exposed to attract animals that feed on carrion. Those animals are then destroyed too.
There are reports of area pet cats that went missing and never returned. We await comments from Trump on this point.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said:
“We have been made aware of the matter and no criminality has been established.”
The spokesperson from NatureScot also said:
“We cannot tell from the photographs provided whether an offence has been committed. However, the disposal of carcasses in a water-logged, open burial pit is not in line with good practice… we would urge anyone who suspects that a wildlife offence has taken place to report their concerns to the police.”
John Robins of Animal Concern commented:
“From the photographs I have seen it is obvious that deer and several species of bird have been deliberately dumped in this pit. I have dealt with cases before where animals have been killed for scraping at the grass on golf courses in order to find worms to eat.
“There is absolutely no good reason to kill animals on a golf course.
“Indeed I’m sure most golfers would appreciate catching a glimpse of a deer or seeing some birds while they are out on the course.
“I hope the Trump organisation give a full explanation for the presence of this mass grave on their land and then make a commitment not to allow any further persecution of wildlife on all their landholdings in Scotland.”
A spokeswoman for the RSPB found nothing amiss; they said:
“.. what is shown in the photographs does not appear to be illegal, despite how unpleasant it is, so we cannot comment on this.”
Trump’s long-running contempt for nature:
From the outset the Trump organisation did what it wanted to at Menie. Anyone wishing to ask the Trump organisation why it feels the need to destroy wildlife can contact the club by phone here 01358 743300, or by email here email@example.com.
Should any reader get a response from the Trump organisation, we would like to hear it.
The environmental monitoring was a sham. When the Scottish Reporters weighed up evidence on Trump’s proposed course, Aberdeen-based Professor Bill Ritchie said the course would not impact the environment if there was monitoring.
As readers of Aberdeen Voice may know, he led the environment monitoring group called MEMAG. MEMAG fell apart on Ritchie’s watch and no agency did anything to save it. Ritchie has never responded to any of Aberdeen Voice’s requests for comment.
Two SSSIs are gone forever. Further examples of the Trump organisation acting as if laws didn’t apply to it are many.
Menie’s two Sites of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSIs) had the highest level of legal protection an environment can get. The sites, the only moving sand dune system in the UK, were destroyed, and virtually nothing was done to stop it.
Planning permission was frequently ignored.
Trump has ignored/overstepped planning permission several times, and has at least ten retrospective planning approvals. From our observations, this is not the same consideration Aberdeenshire shows to others who fall foul of planning.
Countryside access is ignored.
The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 gives everyone rights of access over land and inland water across Scotland.
Over the years, Aberdeen Voice reported numerous ways this was ignored at Menie to Aberdeenshire Council’s relevant officers. Nothing we reported was ever remedied.
Gates are permanently locked shut, such as the one between Trump’s parking lot and Leyton Farm Road.
Plants have been put in place which block peoples’ access around this gate and elsewhere. Anyone with a bicycle, pram or disability is not getting through or around that gate.
Waste management has been irresponsible.
Mountains of mixed waste existed on the estate. I took these photos following information from an environmental campaigner in March 2013 .
Chemical containers, plastics blowing across the land and the scale of the waste was staggering.
Animals are being destroyed; chemicals are used on the greens (per previous AV articles), the SSSIs are destroyed. None of the promised benefits (thousands of permanent jobs, tourism money) appeared.
How long can it be before the area is entirely destroyed and housing springs up?
I dedicate this piece to my sources to whom I am grateful. In particular there are three wonderful dear friends who bravely fought to help the situation at Menie and made a difference, but who can no longer fight.
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“Crazy how white Republicans got other white Republicans scared of Muslims and Mexicans when all along they needed to be scared of other white Republicans…” – Cyrus McQueen, author, Tweeting Truth To Power: Chronicling Our Caustic Politics, Crazed Times, & The Great Black & White Divide.
“Anti-vax conspiracy theories and COVID-19 denial are gateway drugs that introduce well-meaning people to the far right. Before they know it, large numbers are hooked on QAnon.”
– George Monbiot
Trump spent decades inciting violence, culminating in rioting and deaths in Washington DC on 6 January 2021. Now he says he won’t condone violence (or is that what he’s really saying?)
Suzanne Kelly, Aberdeen Voice contributor and campaigner explains why the leopard has not changed his spots.
Armed, angry white men and women were invited by Trump to a rally in DC. Trump told the mob to march on the capitol and he’d be with them (he wasn’t).
The warning signs were ignored. The violence was pre-planned, orchestrated. The National Guard was held at bay. Five people are dead, more were injured.
Trump watched the violence unfold on TV; he would not speak to aids or answer requests to stop the forces he invoked.
His after-the-fact denunciation of ‘political violence’ is perversely being taken as a call to arms by the extremists – who are openly calling for more such events. His impeachment is essential; he is a danger to us all.
Signs of his disordered mental state, his contempt for people and the environment were visible at Aberdeenshire’s Menie Estate before his election. Aberdeen Voice, Tripping up Trump, Aberdeenshire councillors including Martin Ford, Debra Storr, Paul Johnston and film maker Anthony Baxter all could have attested this man was the last person to be put in charge of a multicultural country.
Aberdeen Journals Ltd told you Trump was going to bring 6,000 permanent jobs and millions into the local economy annually and ‘enhance’ the irreplaceable environment.
Fast forward, and there are less than 93 permanent jobs, the course is permanently in the red, and the unique SSSI areas are destroyed.
Aberdeen Voice’s many calls over the years to local and national officials and official bodies as to where he got the money for the purchase from fell on deaf ears.
Here are some of my thoughts on why Trump is in power, why people still believe him, and what we need to address in order to stop more carnage.
Trump: the most damaging, divisive president ever.
It takes honour and integrity to own mistakes and Trump has neither quality. His youth included allegations of draft-dodging (he was healthy enough despite alleged bone spurs to play collegiate basketball) and sending in ringers to take exams in his stead.
He is credibly accused of preventing non-white people from obtaining leases for his Manhattan properties. He wanted the innocent, framed ‘Central Park Five’ to be executed.
His fondness for capital punishment saw him reinstate the death penalty; as rights watchers will tell you, many US death row inmates were denied due process, have mental health issues, and some have been found to be innocent after their execution. Some were black – convicted on circumstantial evidence by all-white juries.
Trump has invoked violence many times, whatever he may be saying now.
Trump told an assembly of police that it was OK with him if they harmed suspects.
He called for hecklers at his rallies to be ‘roughed up’.
He called journalists – the very people tying to tell the truth about the man –‘enemy of the people’ and said they should be ‘roughed up’.
When I spoke on The O’Reilly Factor about my petition to ban Trump from the UK under our hate speech laws, I was cut off before making many of my points and with no warning: but the last point I got in was that Trump planned to execute terrorists and their relatives. I still can’t believe this didn’t shock more people.
America is supposed to stand for justice, not ex-judicial execution of innocent people.
Trump is a racist (the KKK endorsement of his 2016 bid for the presidency is a clue); he lacks empathy, and will deceive without remorse. He has no regard for law, fairness or human life. He frequently calls for violence and fails to speak out against it when it comes from the far right and the white supremacist: his lack of condemnation encourages them.
Hate speech, racism, neo-Nazism: how the ignorant, angry and easily-led are funnelled
Claiming Muslims should be banned from air travel ‘until we figure out what the hell is going on’, Trump threw unjust suspicion on Muslims, including the seven to 14 million Muslim Americans.
This was not a dog whistle; this was Trump prejudicially linking all Muslims to terrorism. Those who thought my desire to ban him for hate speech might do well to remember his ban which unfairly harmed many. And as any observer of American terrorism can confirm, most of America’s terrorists have been white males.
Hate crimes are at their highest levels for 16 years according to the FBI.
Responding to Trump’s many calls to hate and violence, people like William Celli decided to build bombs to target Muslims. Trump’s comments about Mexicans and Hispanics have led to many assaults; in one case two suspects told police ‘Trump is right’.
Trump fanatic and would-be bomber Cesar Sayoc targeted Democrats and CNN. His defence lawyers wrote that:
“in this darkness, Mr. Sayoc found light in Donald J. Trump.”
Sayoc ‘Found light’ in Donald; sadly, so do many disaffected people, opportunist evangelical preachers, the NRA, GOP climbers, and racist groups like the KKK.
David Duke is the ridiculously-titled ‘grand wizard’ of the KKK. It endorsed Trump as their presidential candidate, and Duke said the Charlottesville rioting which took Heather Heyer’s life was ‘a turning point’.
From the time Trump said of the white supremacist march ‘there are fine people on both sides’, he’d given a clear signal he would condemn neither violence nor racism. He deliberately fanned those flames, even if he didn’t manage to overthrow the government.
It’s Christianity Jim, but not as we know it.
There is no doubt that MAGA rallies created a community of like-minded Trump followers. These events called together every person who wanted a saviour, and the extremist evangelists used the far-right version of Christianity that these Trump acolytes had been raised on.
Artwork showing Trump as a Christ-like figure (as if); photos showing Trump surrounded by adoring televangelists – all this helped those who were already trained to be obedient to their preachers be obedient to the man their preachers endorsed and called saviour. It made Sayoc a terrorist.
The lunatic hypocrisy of claiming to be a follower of Jesus while simultaneously toting semi-automatic weapons, chanting ‘lock her up’, assaulting rally hecklers, and calling for death to the press doesn’t occur to any of these people. Their preachers are asking for donations, not soul-searching.
Here is a hilarious take on her absolute madness of Paula White
Compliant? The evangelical child in some of these sects grow up believing by constant reinforcement they are the only people who will be saved, that the superior race is white, and the superior sex is male.
Home-schooling is prevalent, and I believe plays more of a part in the radicalisation of people than many will admit.
The girl children? Many are trained to be subservient like our rushed-through newest Supreme Court Justice Coney Barrett. For many extremist evangelists, girls are to get married, be servants and be fruitful and multiply. Sex before marriage is strictly out.
All these QAnon extremists protesting about invented satanic child abuse? They need look no further than child marriage, legal in 46 states. When was the last time a QAnon protestor targeted this abuse?
Do these evangelists and Trump really believe one of their key recruitment planks – that all abortion is wrong? Trump asked his girlfriend to get one. Trump also raped Ivana per her written statement by the way. Very Old Testament.
If I had my say, every school age person would spend at least a few months in a non-home-school setting to mix with children of other backgrounds. Ensuring no one is schooled only in a vacuum might help end the vilification of other religions, other races and nationalities.
If nothing else, the evangelical girl child could be shown it is illegal to be married off against her will, and she can have a career other than as a mother.
And if I ran the world, there would be no marriages in America for anyone under 18, and all parties under age 21 would have to be seen alone before the ceremony to confirm they are not being coerced, and offered support if they are.
Tele-preachers and the NRA also insist an AK is a ‘God-given right.’ The hell it is.
Gun culture: how the NRA fuels paranoia.
A Senate subcommittee declared the National Rifle Association to a Russian asset, awash with Russian money. NRA chiefs gave illegal operative Russian Marina Butina and Putin pal Alexander Torshin access to members of Congress.
What was once an educational tax-exempt organisation now pumps tens of millions of dollars into Congress, some of that from Russia.
It will not brook any changes to US gun law. NRA-funded Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell prevented the Senate from voting on bipartisan gun law bills. Did America’ founders know automatic weapons existed – yes, as the NRA says, claiming all guns should be legal.
Did the founders have weapons that could kill 58 and wound 527 others from a great distance as we tragically saw in Las Vegas? No.
Should every incel, every angry racist own an assault rifle?
The NRA says yes.
The parents and loved ones of the over 40,000 shot in 2019 and 2020 say no.
In terms of ‘cancel culture’ – gun deaths cancel thousands of voices each year, and Mitch McConnell cancelled the Senate’s right to even vote on the matter. If he were confident the American people and the Senate did not want gun laws changed, he would have let the two bills be heard.
There is supposed to be a well-regulated militia: instead we had teen Kyle Rittenhouse driven to a protest by his mother where he killed.
‘Do you wanna be in my gang?’ Psychological manipulation.
Lonely? Friendless? Not promoted at work? Involuntary celibate? QAnon wants You.
A whole world of similarly-damaged souls awaits and you will be welcome, whether or not you’re a preposterous self-styled shaman who live streams from mom’s basement. If you’re feeling the financial pinch, it can’t be because of people like Trump, paper billionaires whose many bankruptcies have sent small businesses to the wall; it must be because a woman or a non-white person ‘took’ your job.
It is easier and cheaper to get recruited by QAnon than it is to either get mental health help, get involved with making positive change, or make real friends in the real world. The USA needs urgent medical health care reform, the kind Trump has tried to dismantle.
I have done as much of a dive into this culture as I care to. In fringe websites the insurrectionists share whispers of violence to come on Biden’s inauguration day.
Some think Trump is the messiah. They are happy, some of them, to wear Nazi regalia – and in doing so align themselves with the horrors visited on adults and children alike, despite QAnon using the fictitious pizzagate child abuse conspiracy as a recruitment tool.
The message seems to be that Nazi concentration camps were either invented or the children abused and murdered on an industrial scale somehow don’t count (viz the detestable ‘Camp Auschwitz’ shirt and Nazi symbolism worn by the insurrectionists).
However, invent a child abuse scandal now 100% discredited involving Satan and Hilary Clinton, and crying people will take to the streets holding signs about pizza parlours and baby-eaters while sporting a swastika tattoo.
These people don’t seem aware Trump did all he could to catch teen beauty queens naked at his pageants, or that he’s accused of many cases of sexual assault. There is no logic, no joined up thinking.
These echo chambers that sprang up following Q Anon’s overdue defenestration from Twitter, YouTube, Facebook reinforce the camaraderie, the anger of these misfits. They goad each other into more and more extreme views and actions. Something needs to be done.
As I am writing, Reuters confirmed that the mob intended to ‘capture and assassinate’ members of Congress. We must find, arrest, try every single one of these people.
Enacting laws concerning hate speech – like the UN and many countries have will help stop the abuse which has led to violence throughout this country’s history.
This is nothing to do with freedom of speech. The right to free speech has many exemptions. The founding fathers foresaw some of the potential future misuses – but none of them can have dreamed of it being used to remind Jewish people of the horrors of Auschwitz.
Trump spurred me to try to ban him from the UK under our hate speech laws. As a New Yorker living in Aberdeen, watching this man being treated as a star made me feel ill.
I knew of his discriminatory policies, his greed, his xenophobia. I didn’t care if I looked like a fool. Over 586,000 people agreed with me and we got a debate.
Who knows? We might even have got the Home Secretary to apply the law to a billionaire that had already been applied to more than 100 other hatemongers.
In the end, the night before the debate, MP Paul Flynn, slated to chair the debate decided to call the press to slate my petition (without letting me know he was doing so). ‘We might make Trump a martyr’ he told me. Parliament did deliver a good smackdown – but the Home Secretary did not apply the law to Trump.
JK Rowling made a joke about the petition at a New York literary gathering.
I was invited to write a riposte piece, and I did so, even knowing all of Harry Potter fandom would attack me to support her. I wonder if she sees the difference between hate speech and free speech now; I’d like to hope so, having been the target of hate speech herself of late.
What I didn’t get is that in her books the magical government was being taken over and most people were afraid to stand up to the spread of hate speech, but there you go.
Every time someone flies a confederate flag; every town that has a memorial to a civil war figure who tried to preserve slavery is a declaration of hate to black citizens from white supremacists. Every glorification of those who slaughtered Native Americans is a hate crime. I can’t shake the feeling that while all this division rages, the billionaires are laughing at the rest of us.
Billionaires like Trump (wherever his money is actually coming from; happily, there are signs it may be drying up).
If a Native American child or an African American child cannot wear their hair in a way reflective of their culture in school, then why are we letting people wave symbols celebrating slavery or concentration camps in gestures designed to intimidate and provoke fear and anger? I don’t understand.
The speech turns to violence, and these symbols have power.
If anyone wants to cry how unfair it is Trump’s been removed from social media for repeated rule breaking, fake news and hate speech, think again. He’s deliberately gagged people with lawsuits, confidentiality agreements (even extending to cooks in Scotland) and used his massive press connections to mock and ridicule opponents from Biden through to farmer Michael Forbes.
Can we please make Justice blind again?
Some of the argument against doing so aside from Flynn’s Chamberlain-esque appeasement was ‘Trump may be president someday’.
This alarming use of future potential is seen in America, where it gets many privileged white male offenders released from serious charges eg Brock Turner.
What if we had banned him from the UK? Would the GOP still have seen him as being presidential material? Perhaps not. Would things have been worse had the UK banned Trump? Worse how? – I’d like to know.
We’re seeing more flawed illogic applied to the insurrectionists by their sympathisers in the GOP: ‘Don’t impeach Trump, it may make insurrectionists angry’.
They are already angry. And armed. The law is not supposed to care how rich you are or if applying the law equally to all will make white supremacists angry.
The self-styled shaman is being given the organic meals in prion he demanded because of his ‘religion’. Meanwhile, as noted by various Native American groups, when Native people wind up in US jails, they are absolutely laughed at and ignored.
Symbols of hate belong in the trashcan.
The confederate flag shows the bearer approves of slavery, and wants it back.
Statues of confederate generals towering over parks and town centres show deference to the people who tried to preserve slavery and contempt for descendants of slaves.
A swastika patch or tattoo, or a ‘Camp Auschwitz’ shirt shows the world the bearer hates everyone who’s not a Nazi.
A MAGA hat suggests the wearer wants to ‘Make America Great Again’. It shows support for a KKK-endorsed white supremacist who ridicules minorities and incites violence against virtually everyone who is not a white male. It is the symbol of the Trump rally, a sign you would suspend your logic and values (if any) to be part of a mob.
The far right, the conspiracy believer, etc have also commandeered symbols of the crusaders, arcane symbols and invented symbols. This is all part of the ‘I need to be in a crowd and be one of the mob’ mentality we saw running through the Capitol.
Can we chuck these and other such inflammatory, hate-provoking emblems now? Other countries have.
We don’t need miseducation.
If there were a better, balanced system of education that also taught tolerance and life skills (I mean, we even have people who now believe you can fall of the edge of our flat world), we would all be better off.
It would not be so easy to convince people that Bill Gates is a reptile from another dimension who is trying to forcibly inject nanobots and trackers by unleashing a fake virus scare.
When I was in school, I remember ages devoted to names and dates of the Revolutionary War. About a quarter of that amount of time was spent on the history and culture of the rest of the world. Mistake. It was later I learned of the atrocities committed against Native Americans (including by Lincoln) and slavery.
When we studied slavery in school – and this I remember to my dying day: we read two different accounts of women who had been plantation slaves.
One was entitled ‘Lordy Them was Awful Days’ and she told of being whipped and salt being rubbed in her wounds. The other woman said slavery wasn’t so bad: I kid you not. And then we moved on.
It was as if every coin has two sides – a flaw seen in current day news reporting.
Slavery does not have another side. We also had in our textbooks the horrific photos of lynched black Americans, with white people standing under them socializing. Did my teacher explain how horrific this was? If so, their words are lost on me though that photo remains burned in my head.
Do the confederate flag-wavers even know what the reality was for so many? Do they even want to? A better, complete education that shows America’s many flaws could help. Teach logic, how to frame arguments, critical thinking, and how not to be a racist.
What are we going to do today? Pending violence.
As mentioned, I’ve been going on these twisted far-right sites to see what is going on. These people do think, as reported in the news, that Trump wants more violence and has sent secret messages to QAnon in his latest word salad of a speech.
They and others point to his saying ‘I cannot emphasise that there must be no violence…’ as a call to arms.
With Trump having established that he is barely literate, we don’t know what he actually meant. Hilariously, he says he can never condone violence, despite having called for violence on many occasions.
However, the conspiracy theory force is strong with these insurrectionists.
Some claim he tapped out in Morse Code the letter ‘Q’. Really? The man can’t spell ‘coffee’.
These people are looking for signs. If you look for signs, the brain will find them even where they don’t exist. A decent education could have taught the ‘I saw the Virgin Mary in my slice of toast’ brigade how the mind works to create images and patterns, but there you go.
These people want a violent, bloody revolution. They want to take over America. They are using internet sites to make their plans. Many of them are police and/or former armed forces members (we need a Venn diagram of white supremacists who have been in the police and who have needlessly killed non-white suspects).
Some of their helpers are congresspeople. They cannot win, but they can certainly harm and kill.
Ignoring them and hoping they will disappear is not an option. I am not an expert, but I think my suggestions have some merit for the future. The present needs to be the focus now.
In my opinion, we need to: immediately declare QAnon, the KKK, other hate groups terrorist organisations and remove terrorism supporters from Congress. Any congressperson/police officer who gave the insurrectionists help must be removed from office and charged.
No one gets into Congress without going through the metal detector. No guns get into Congress.
Every single insurrectionist from Trump down to the last one needs to be charged with all applicable charge from sedition and insurrection through destroying federal property.
We need to shore up what the 1st and 2nd Amendments mean.
We need to change the laws so there are no more Kyle Rittenhouses.
Anyone who is in QAnon or the KKK is not fit to be in law enforcement or law-making, and needs to be removed from office. We need more scrutiny of how these ideas are getting into the heads of the violent, and address the root causes (extremist evangelism, poverty, poor education etc).
We cannot just forget this happened and heal without cleaning up the source of infection and getting rid of the poison. We need to have Biden and Harris stabilize our country and Make Hate Hateful Again.
Unfortunately, we need to do this about 80 years ago at a minimum. But let’s start today.
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Tally ho! I’m missing Aberdeen and want to visit. If anyone wants to add me as a guest to the Northsound Business dinner, I’m in. Tables are £1250, and it’s at the Marcliffe, as previously mentioned.
Richard Thompson turned 70, and threw the best birthday party/concert I’ve ever been to, or am likely to ever attend.
The Royal Albert Hall three-hour extravaganza was unlike any show ever assembled before.
The music was a masterpiece of curation. Folk music, early RT songs, Fairport, torch songs, epic rock and humour were all on show.
The multi-talented, marvellous Marc Ellington performed ‘The Bonnie Lass of Fyvie-o’ beautifully.
Where do we start with the Thompson family – Teddy was awesome; Kami stunning, and Linda was there. I eventually had to stop counting the many Thompsons present as the music took me away.
There were some soloists who I definitely will go out of my way to see in future. There must have been 20 people onstage by the final pieces. Harry Shearer was mind-blowing in his Spinal Tap Derek Smalls persona, performing the moving, elegant ‘She puts the bitch in Obituary’.
The entire Thompson clan sang one of my favourite-ever protest songs, ‘That’s enough’.
‘Cry me a River’ transported us to a different time. For the last two pieces, a final guest star emerged: David Gilmour. ‘Dimming of the Day.’ ‘Fat Old Sun.’ the talent on stage was unsurpassable, and when Gilmour and Thompson played together as Fat Old Sun reached its crescendo, I think I cried some happy tears. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njeoAIX1Slw .
I’d been backstage for some pretty wonderful times at the RAH before, but I’d never seen a crowd anything like this before. Alas, I didn’t get to meet Mr Gilmour, whom I’m told I should meet. Maybe one day.
He also signed a photo and CD for Willows Animal Sanctuary,
In the bar it was Thompsons to the left of me. Thompsons to the right of me. Thompsons in front of me. Harry Shearer, Michael (RT’s remarkable percussionist), other stars, and Marc Ellington peppered among the partygoers.
I found myself next to Richard for a few minutes, and looking around at the lively, deliriously happy crew, I asked:
“So Richard, you going to do anything interesting for your birthday?”
We laughed – or I think he did. I believe he gets my sense of humour by now. If not, that’s going to be the last invite I get. But what a night; beyond uplifting. Happy Birthday Mr Thompson.
I never ask for autographs as a rule from anyone, but I did of Richard twice. Ruth MacPherson was a great friend to Aberdeen Voice; she was meant to come with me to see him play at the Music Hall years ago.
She was ill with lung cancer, and on the night, she wasn’t up to it, which saddened her greatly.
He signed her a cd which I passed to her, and I know she treasured it. He also signed a photo and CD for Willows Animal Sanctuary, helping raise funds. Guitar hero indeed.
Moving swiftly along – as I must rush to London Brewdogs now that the collaboration festival is live (they brew scads of new beers with other breweries and each bar gets a few different ones. And yes, I’m a shareholder).
Since I’ll be out sampling new brews, I’m turning this 199th Old Susannah column over to a very special guest.
Aberdeen Voice has obtained the secret diary of…. Damian Bates, former editor of Aberdeen Journals Ltd.
I’ve added a few historic notes to the diary entries so you can see what was going on in the world at the same time Master Bates penned his thoughts. I hope you enjoy reading Damian’s thoughts on his pal Trump and how he had death threats.
It would be wrong for me to question the minor ethical dilemma or two that arise.
THE SECRET DIARY OF DAMIAN BATES
16 October, 2019
Only 18 days before I, Damian Bates, will tell everyone at Northsound’s business dinner what a great guy my personal friend Donald J Trump is and how great my tome is! Sarah’s out shopping for the right dress and shoes (of course) for this great honour. Do you know I’ll be joining some of history’s great and good by speaking at this dinner? I, Damian Bates, will now be spoken of in the same breath as past speakers: Alastair Campbell, Lord Digby Jones and Ed Balls. I told some of my old colleagues about being asked and who the past speakers were, and they smiled and said I was a perfect fit. I got where I am by hard work, not by coincidence; I don’t believe in coincidences. Now here I am, a friend of Donald J Trump. Me, Damian Bates who coincidentally edited the only newspapers where Trump was coincidentally building the world’s greatest golf course! Me Damian, who was coincidentally married to Sarah, The Face of Aberdeen Beauty contestant who I coincidentally chose to be the face, and who I coincidentally married! Sarah who Donald J Trump then coincidentally chose to run his golf course, despite my Sarah not having a stitch of relevant experience. No, I don’t believe in coincidence me, just in plain hard work. And being in the right place at the right time. On reflection, I probably put one or two articles in the papers that praised the Menie golf course. But I only did that because it’s what people wanted. But the thing is, no one knows Donald J Trump like I do. He’s really just a nice, kind down-to-earth guy. If only everyone could know him as well as I do – they’d like him as much as this humble, hard-working newspaper editor does. I’m a family man, me. Did you see the photos on my Facebook page? I still get people saying they can’t believe it’s really me pictured at the White House and then at Air Force One! And my Ferrari – I mean really. Did you ever see a cooler car? I think it matches my sunglasses really well – I spent days picking out the right pair. And my haircut. It goes with the glasses, don’t you think? And my car. And now because my tome, Donald Trump The Real Deal is doing so well all over the world, Northsound Radio want me to speak at their business dinner this year! Time to get out my White House pen and start writing! I could hardly believe it when one of his aids gave me an official White House pen, it even has the presidential seal logo on it. If the metal clip on it says ‘made in China’ that just shows what a great businessman Donald J Trump really is. Now let’s get writing; I think I’ll comb through my diary to get some great anecdotes for my speech. What will be the high point? The time Trump got Eric and my great friend George Sorial, who’s also very close to Sarah, to move paintings around at Turnberry, or the fact Donald likes to eat KFC? Hard to tell which of those two is more of a show-stopper.
In other news …..
President Trump sends a letter to the Turkish president, telling him to ‘make a great deal’ or Trump will ‘crush’ Turkey’s economy. The letter continues ‘history will… look upon you as the devil if good things don’t happen.’
Today I did an interview with Northsound to promote my speaking at their business dinner in November about my tome! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnQh6w2ere8&t=10s I revealed for the first time that I’ve had death threats – oh yes. Can you believe it? Death threats against a journalist! Against me! People have to respect reporters and editors; we’ve got integrity and we’re here to give you the news. I did tell the interviewer not to ask me what these threats were about or when, or ask when I reported them to the police or why I didn’t seem to have ever mentioned them before. I also explained ‘I was the captain of the ship; the ship was far more important than I was’, I said. I might have steered that ship towards the Menie Estate and away from any Trump critics (believe it or not he has some), but nothing more than any other editor whose wife works for Trump would have done. I thought one of the recording crew said something about ‘a rat leaving a sinking ship’ but I couldn’t be sure. I tell the interviewer there are many tomes out there that claim to tell readers what Donald Trump is REALLY like – but they are by people who haven’t even met him. How can you know what someone is like unless you have dinner with them at their club which your wife manages? It’s like when people write about Hitler or Pol Pot who never met them – what can such authors really know? My tome has it all – our phone calls, dinners, interviews – and what an impartial observer I am. Trump’s been honest with me and I’ve been honest with him. I might not have been honest to the readership of the P&J or EE about these dinners, phone calls and of course the wife’s job – but there you go. Some reporters just report about the things he says and does, like telling the Ukraine president to get him dirt on Biden, or sending Ivanka to high-profile international meetings, or saying journalists are the enemy of the people who should be roughed up. But he laughs and jokes, and is a great guy. Some people write that he yells at his staff and it’s chaos – but I never saw that, so it can’t be true. My tome will say that – he can be wrong sometimes! Ground-breaking!
In other news ….
At Trump’s insistence, the federal death penalty has been reinstated, despite evidence that innocent people given unfair trials have been convicted, some executed.
June 13, 2019 ( Damian Bates adds photo of him with Trump in the Oval Office to his Facebook page.)
Wow. I thought my Ferrari was really cool – but wait until my friends see this photo of me in the Oval Office while Trump sits at his desk! That’ll really impress everyone! Maybe I should put in my tome about the time I said ‘Mr Trump, sir, Donald – can I call you ‘DJ’?” He looked up at me from the TV and, get this – with more than a hint of his genius – he said ‘No.’
In other news ….
North Carolina man Craig Hicks, pleaded guilty to fatally shooting three Muslim university students back in 2015. The women’s father said the killings were part of rising bigotry against Muslims.
Prosecutors said Hicks had brandished a handgun to intimidate a Korean neighbour and a black remodelling worker. Relatives of the victims have asked federal authorities to charge Hicks with hate crimes.
Hate crimes have spiralled upwards since Donald Trump’s election.
Trump called for a ban on Muslims travelling to the US, which has an estimated 4-7 million-strong Muslim population. This was to be, in his words ‘…until we can figure out what the hell is going on.’
Trump recently offered to hire out US troops to Saudi Arabia, a nation with an appalling human rights record, implicated in the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi on 2 October 2018.
He was believed to have been dismembered while alive in Turkey in the Saudi consulate – the Saudis claim the murder, involving several Saudi agents and a bone saw, was ‘a spur of the moment’ event; an audio tape makes it abundantly clear it was premeditated. Trump refuses to listen to the evidence. newly-released-transcripts-tell-gruesome-moments-saudi-columnist
Five journalists at Maryland’s Baltimore Gazette are shot dead. This followed Trump’s repeated speeches casting journalists as purveyors of fake news and enemies of the people.
April 17, 2018 (Damian Bates adds photo of Air Force One to his Facebook page.)
The best day ever! It’s not every day a hard-hitting, honest newspaper man like me gets to hang around with his busy pal Donald J Trump and go to Air Force One, that’s the president’s plane by the way. Someone wanted Trump to sign some paperwork – but he said he was busy – with me! This is the kind of friendship we have, and that’s how I know the real Donald J Trump – a great guy who’s hardworking and as honest as I am. Must take home some of the Air Force One branded cups and sick bags for Sarah – she loves anything with a prestigious logo, like my Ferrari.
In other news …..
President Trump held off imposing sanctions against Russia for its backing Syria. Nikki Haley, then UN Ambassador for Trumpistan had announced the sanctions the day before.
The Washington post reported:
“The additional sanctions were expected as a response to Syria’s suspected chemical weapons attack. Moscow opposed the sanctions, and Trump didn’t sign the order. Haley had said Sunday on CBS News that the sanctions would target Russian companies linked to equipment used in the alleged chemical attack.
Only three letters were sent in supporting the controversial application; people wrote to the shire to object in their thousands.
“I can confirm, I voted against. I am sorry not more councillors agreed with me,” councillor Vicky Harper posted on the Aberdeen Voice Facebook page,
“I wish we could have done more. I am sorry to the residents who will feel the biggest impact.”
Cllr Harper is not wrong. Anthony Baxter’s first film in his trilogy of all things Trump and golf show the absolute environmental devastation of the first golf course being built.
Not over yet.
None of the campaigners against Trump’s development have run out of steam, not by a long shot.
“I’m not one to give up,” David Milne said.
And there is something of an ace in the hole, or ace in the bunker to be specific.
The road to the Bunker.
Councillors have forgotten the attempt made by the Trump organisation to buy the residents’ properties by stealth: in other parts of the world this would have been prosecuted as an attempt to defraud.
To refresh memories, Neil Hobday, using an assumed name (based on his middle names) visited several of those who refused to sell their homes and pretended to be an average American tourist.
His story was that he and his wife ‘fell in love’ with the area and wanted to buy their home – at a price which was far below what the value of homes wanted by a huge developer would be. No one fell for it.
Did the police pursue this crime? They were too busy arresting Anthony Baxter and Richard Phinney for ‘a breach of the peace’.
The two journalists, working on You’ve Been Trumped, had simply gone to the site office and asked when the Forbes family would get their water line, broken by Trump contractors, repaired. They were thrown in cells.
The underhanded behaviour by the Trump organisation in trying to get that land made people take an in-depth look at the estate’s land ownership.
A fly in the ointment was found which may yet prove a stumbling block and today it seems more important than ever.
Land ownership can be a complicated thing, and as a supreme act of campaigning, Tripping Up Trump has quietly had an ace in the hole: ‘The Bunker’.
On the estate, the land fondly called The Bunker by protestors is a small patch of land. It may be relatively small: but it is now legally owned and registered to a staggering, unprecedented ten thousand – yes 10,000 people.
As the Tripping Up Trump website advises:
“The Tripping Up Trump campaign acquired some land right at the heart of Donald Trump’s planned private housing and leisure development.
“The reason TUT has done this is to help protect the families who have forced eviction (by means of Compulsory Purchase Orders) hanging over their heads.
“The families of Menie have again and again stated they do not wish to leave but still Trump and Aberdeenshire Council won’t withdraw the threat of using CPOs if the families don’t agree to sell ‘voluntarily’.”
If someone wanted to buy that land, if the government decided to try a compulsory purchase, legally it must contact all of the owners.
Every. Last. One.
Aside from occasionally having a Mexican flag flying over it (an act of solidarity from Trump’s prejudiced attack on Mexicans), the bunker has not been hugely used.
Perhaps it is time for the owners to start making better use of their land? Just a thought for Tripping Up Trump – and 10,000 people. Time for a party? Building application – perhaps a refuge for refugees?
Don’t Mess With Mother Nature.
The sand dunes may be nearly stabilized – but if Trump International Golf Links Scotland is banking on a coastal property in North East Scotland being immune from the elements, they have short memories.
The photo (of me on my first visit to Menie) shows part of the course wiped off their little course map. A winter storm – and by far not the worst one Scotland has ever seen – ruined the place.
Keen-eyed visitors will notice that the greens are fighting the sands, constantly blowing through the course.
The keen-eyed visitor will also notice that a fair amount of the fairways have been dyed a sickly blue-green colour.
There will be more showdowns between Trump and Mother Nature – place your bets on the eventual winner now. Sadly, the new homes mean the displacement of wildlife if they are ever built.
The End- not.
There may be some smug congratulatory words at the clubhouse today, and some champagne corks popped.
But the celebrations are premature: Trump is not likely to last his presidency, may well be jailed, and as happens – his property could wind up being seized if it is found to be purchased with laundered money.
If Scotland’s crime task forces could start investigating now, that would be nice – it’s not as if they haven’t been asked and presented with evidence.
The bunker however, is now a bunker and a beacon. A creative, proactive and canny move, it may well throw a spanner in the works.
Here’s hoping – and here’s to making it so.
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David Milne issued a video last night explaining what is wrong with Trump’s plans for Menie, He talked to Suzanne Kelly about the video and the vote.
Campaigner, Menie Resident, and published author, David Milne released a video last night explaining all the reasons Aberdeenshire Council should not vote to approve further development of the Menie Estate.
The plans go before Aberdeenshire council this week.
From his former coastguard cottage home, David Milne gets a daily view of the Trump International Golf Links Scotland parking lot.
Most of the time – it is sparsely used. People are not coming here in droves to golf and stimulate the economy, whatever promises were made for the elitist course, where a round can set you back £200.
Many residents, ecologists and environmentalists are still reeling from recent revelations that the SSSIs at Menie – a moving sand dune system unique to Great Britain – was destroyed despite Trump’s promises it was fine.
An environmental clerk of works and a group, MEMAG, were meant to ensure the SSSIs were protected – despite assurances from Aberdeenshire Council Planning and MEMAG (disbanded by Trump unilaterally) the dunes and their ecosystems were fine, they are now permanently damaged.
Even recently George Sorial, an officer of the Trump company, claimed the dunes were ‘95% untouched.’ This serious breach alone should stop the council proceeding: the deveoper simply cannot be trusted.
Mr Milne described a number of flaws in the plan:- lack of suitable infrastructure, inability of the current roads to handle 550 new homeowners and their cars, and the fact that the first Trump golf course failed to bring anything near the projected financial benefits were among those flaws.
Watch the video here:
Donald Trump Jr previously said that Russian money was involved in many Trump projects. The council’s Planning department deny that they have any responsibility to be concerned about potential money laundering.
When confronted some years back with irrefutable proof Mr Trump is associated with organised crime figures, Planning accused Aberdeen Voice of ‘slandering’ the developer (it is not slander or libel if it is true).
On Thursday 26 September the council will vote on whether or not to let Trump build 550 more homes. Menie would never be the same again.
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A new book detailing Donald J Trump’s activities in Aberdeenshire launches next week.
Campaigner Suzanne Kelly, contributor of hundreds of articles to Aberdeen Voice over a period of nine years, releases her book ‘Trump in Scotland: The Real Real Deal’ on Monday 3 June.
Her book comes out one week before former Trump compliance attorney George Sorial and former Aberdeen Press & Journal editor Damian Bates release their book, ‘The Real Deal’.
Ms Kelly is known for breaking stories on Trump’s activities at the Menie Estate and for her campaigns against Trump’s honorary degree from Robert Gordon University, an award which was subsequently revoked.
She also launched a petition to block Trump from the UK under its existing hate speech laws. This was signed by 586,000 people – which was at the time the highest number of signatures on a Parliamentary petition.
“I have reported on Trump’s activities in Scotland for many years and have heard first-hand from the residents and film maker Anthony Baxter on a variety of unacceptable events. We’re talking about water lines being cut, security guards overstepping their remit, journalists being arrested, environmental monitoring simply being abandoned.
“I will have one or two revelations that are new, and a lot of the material may not be well known outside of Scotland: but it should be.
“This is a collection – for the first time – of a host of past and ongoing instances of organisations bending over backwards for the Trump brand, despite the promised jobs, tourism and local income never materialising.”
Suzanne Kelly on collapsed Trump course, 2012, photo by Rob Scott.
There are nearly thirty chapters covering different aspects of the Trump development, quoting a wide variety of sources.
“In the past I have invited Sarah Malone Bates, Trump spokeswoman and wife of former Press & Journal editor Damian Bates, to debate the issues with me in public. That offer still stands.”
The book launches with a party at BrewDog Gallowgate from 4pm on Monday 3 June to which the public are more than welcome to attend.
The book is published by Milhouse Publishers, and will be available on Amazon in paperback, e-book and audio book formats.
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We have seen that petitions can work, and Clive Smith clearly believes in the petition system. Mr Smith has launched a petition requesting Aberdeenshire Council apologises over the Menie Estate planning debacle. Suzanne Kelly writes.
With none of the (hugely inflated?) benefits Trump promised materialising, and the unique environment damaged possibly beyond recovery, is there anyone in the shire big enough to admit this was a huge, avoidable error that has harmed people and the environment? We will see.
Clive has shared with Aberdeen Voice what he plans to say if he gets the opportunity to address the Council:
“We all make mistakes. As a resident of Aberdeenshire, I don’t expect Aberdeenshire Council to be perfect, to get it right every time. But as a resident and member of a Council Tax paying household, I do expect the Council to evaluate its own performance, recognise when it gets things wrong and learn from those mistakes so that they are not repeated.
“I also expect the Council to be prepared to apologise for the mistakes it does make.
“The support given by the Council in 2007 and subsequently to the proposed Trump golf resort at Menie was by any measure, a mistake. I am aware, of course, that following due process, the Council at first resolved to refuse outline planning permission for the Trump proposal.
“However, after pressure from the applicant and his backers, the Council expressed its support for the application and maintained this stance through the ensuing public local inquiry in 2008. Then, in 2009, the Council failed to rule out the threat of compulsory purchase orders for acquiring local homes, leaving householders vulnerable to eviction from their properties.
“The case for the proposed resort was based on inward investment and job creation on a massive scale. In addition to the direct spend and job creation by the applicant, it was argued that a ‘celebrity developer’ like Mr Trump would draw in tourists and other inward investment. Association with Mr Trump would enhance the standing and profile of the whole region.
“These benefits were deemed justification enough to allow the effective destruction of a large proportion of an important and irreplaceable site of special scientific interest, a truly amazing sand dune system.
“Ten years after outline planning permission was granted for the proposed golf resort, what has actually happened? A golf course has indeed been built on the site of special scientific interest, so it is no longer a functioning mobile dune system. We have lost an important and unique part of Aberdeenshire’s natural heritage.
“The proposed golf resort has not been built, however, and it is clear that nothing remotely resembling what was proposed will ever go ahead.
“Instead of the six thousand jobs promised, only around one hundred have been created. Instead of the billion pound investment, the actual spend has probably been less than ten percent of that. Association with Mr Trump, far from boosting our reputation, has become a source of embarrassment.
“In the meantime, some of Mr Trump’s neighbours at Menie have been on the receiving end of behaviours that left them feeling bullied as Mr Trump sought to acquire their homes.
“The reasons given for supporting the scheme have not materialised, the damage has been done. Aberdeenshire has paid a heavy price for Mr Trump’s vanity project at Menie.
“The particularly galling thing about the mistake of backing Mr Trump is that it was entirely predictable that this wasn’t going to end well. The claimed job creation and investment always seemed too good to be true. Mr Trump has a history of business failures.
“Even the Council Leader, Councillor Gifford, admitted on television that it was not worth it.
“A trade off was made. Promised gains in exchange for the destruction of a precious and irreplaceable part of our natural heritage. Aberdeenshire Council never had the means to enforce the deal.
“Knowing this they should have weighed the risks of non-delivery. The consequences were foreseeable. The impact is catastrophic. We are the losers. Future generations are the losers.
“Aberdeenshire Council needs to recognise and acknowledge that its support for the Trump scheme has not delivered and learn from that. And it should apologise for its governance failure, a grave error of judgement, a mistake by any measure.”
Suzanne Kelly asks a rather obvious question which seems to have gone unnoticed: If President Trump is not supposed to be involved with his former business interests while in office, then what is the TIGLS spokeswoman’s husband doing posing at the White House and with Air Force One?
With Aberdeenshire Council soon to vote on whether or not to approve the latest amended plans for Trump International Golf Links Scotland – is Trump breaking strict American emoluments laws?
A social media account raises the question.
Upon becoming president, Donald Trump had to resign from several Trump business ventures, including Trump International Golf Links Scotland.
Sarah Malone Bates is the spokeswoman for the controversial venture; her husband is Damian Bates, former Aberdeen Journals Limited executive and editor with responsibilities at the Evening Express and Press and Journal.
On April 17, 2018 Mr Bates posted photos of himself in front of Air Force One and The White House. What exactly was he doing there? Even his friends wanted to know, with one asking ‘What are you up to??’
Damian replied ‘Ssshhh.’
Another friend replied ‘Some of us know – but Mums [sic] the word Shssh.’
Click on Image to enlarge.
Together with George A Sorial, the lawyer responsible for ensuring compliance by Mr Trump with the relevant emoluments clauses, Mr Bates is penning a book about how Mr Trump ‘won’ in Scotland. The book is due out 11 June.
Aberdeen Voice contacted Mr Sorial, but has not yet had a reply as to the potential for overlap between a Trump employee’s spouse being chosen to co-author a biography and being at Air Force One and the White House.
Any reply received will be published in full.
The Press & Journal and sister paper The Evening Express under Bates’ management decreed it would not print any material from the protest group Tripping up Trump, declaring the group was not ‘bona fide’. The group is made up of residents of the Menie Estate, people in Aberdeen City and Shire, and has members further afield.
Aberdeen Journals also failed to disclose the relationship between Damian Bates and Trump spokeswoman Sarah Malone to readership of the Evening Express and Press & Journal.
Aberdeen Voice broke the story that the two were married while the paper printed favourable articles about Trump International Golf Links Scotland without disclosing this fact.
The Press & Journal also published a column by Mr Trump while he was running for office.
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