Sep 162016
 

Is Mother Nature Beating Trump Back? A Freedom of Information request response indicates the Marram-haired moghul is no match for Mother Nature. The FOI disclosure also shows that while the club and the Shire have a chummy, joking relationship, they are failing to keep the Master Plan updated. Suzanne Kelly reports.

empty-golf-course2016 correspondence between Aberdeenshire and Trump International Golf Links Scotland indicates all might not be well at the so-called ‘World’s Greatest Golfcourse’.

The Masterplan is not looking particularly masterful.

Scotland’s shifting sand dune system appears to lack the level of deference Aberdeenshire has shown to Trump so far.

A Freedom of Information Request was lodged to disclose:

“… all correspondence – whether electronic or paper based between Aberdeenshire Council and Trump International Golf Links Scotland, Menie Estate, Balmedie AB23 8YE, and / or any parent company thereof concerning: environmental health issues, use of chemicals, waste management including incineration of waste, drainage, ‘bunds’ such as those near Leyton Farm Cottage on Leyton Farm Road, animal populations, use of private security firms, data protection compliance for the year 2016 to date.

“Such correspondence might be to or from: Sarah Malone, Sarah Malone-Bates, Sarah Bates, Donald J Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr, George Sorial.”

The heavily redacted response (some pages are fully redacted) shows that sand and wind are causing havoc.

*  A 22 February memo refers to a site visit which took place on 19 February. This email memo indicates work was done on the burn and the dunes; an email presumably from the Shire council asks for photographs of the burn prior to works being carried out.

*  on 23 February, someone (presumably a TIGLS employee) wrote back with the requested photographs to say:

“… you will clearly see that the burn is full of sand which has caused the water levels to rise and flood and cause damage to our bridge, etc. You guys personally witnessed the sand/blow movement that was blowing sand into areas of the burn. And that was not even a dry windy day. 

“The pictures of the dunes again you will clearly see we did not clear any existing marrum grass of [sic] the dune itself. All these areas were pure sand caused by the storms which resulted in the sand blowing all over the 4th hole and filling up the burn on the far side. 

“As you witnessed we are doing our best to replant with Marrum to try and save/stabilize the dune and also protect our championship golf course. Also you will see the tunnel/area where it was cutting through from the sea to the golf course.” 

Perhaps attempting to stabilize a sand dune system on the North East coast of Scotland in Winter was not such a good idea.

suzanne-kelly-by-collapsed-section-of-course-photo-by-rob-av

Suzanne Kelly witnesses course erosion on a previous visit to Trump International.

The Shire subsequently acknowledges that the before and after pictures ‘shows the damage’. There is banter between the parties as to how cold it was on the visit, and how being a marram planter is not one of the visitor’s career choice. The conversational tone is perhaps not the same as the Shire’s planners use when dealing with normal members of the public who have had planning breach issues.

When the planning and environmental issues were dealt with by the Scottish Reporters’ Report, when the golf complex was approved, the idea was to have environmental monitoring that would be robust and thorough. This is not happening.

On 10 March, stating the obvious – i.e. that the dunes are not static – the Shire writes:

“Having reviewed the approved Management Plan this does not cover such events [presumably the winter storms; if so this would seem to be a major oversight] in sufficient detail (Major blow out of the dune ridge). These dune systems are very dynamic in nature [you don’t say] and one of the features it is [sic] particularly noted for is the mobility of the dunes. Therefore it is likely that the same event could reoccur in the future.

“The dunes between the Ythan Estuary and Blackdog have been identified by Aberdeenshire Council as a Local Nature Conservation Site – a regionally important site for biodiversity and geomorphology. One of the key features of the golf course at Menie [is] the nature of this stretch of coastline will change in nature but it is important to manage future events to minimise the disturbance to the dune ridge.”

Is the Shire suggesting that the protection of the club needs to be managed? Who will weigh whether such future ‘management’ will have a negative impact on biodiversity and tne nature of the unique dune system? Certainly not Professor Bill Ritchie. Ritchie was quoted in the Reporters’ Report as supporting the Trump scheme.

He was to have kept the environmental watch group ‘MEMAG’ working – but as its minutes show, MEMAG descended into shambles, with Trump personnel skipping meetings. Ritchie never commented on this situation.

The email continues, noting a rather serious failure; the Management Plan is not being reviewed annually:

“I note that the Management Plan states it is to be reviewed annually which has not been the case as far as I am aware. Therefore I would request that this is reviewed in light of the recent storms and steps identified of how to deal with future storms with particular emphasis on the watercourse and coastal dune ridge. 

“This would enable future storm damage to be dealt with without the same intervention from outside agencies [what agencies? one wonders] and minimise any long term damage to these dunes.”

Is so-called ‘long term damage’ the same as the dunes following the previously-natural moving and shifting pattern? Did the environmental experts do their job correctly in approving the area for a golf course? The case could be made that the environmental experts might have underestimated the power of storms and the dynamic nature of the dunes.

Having stood on part of a collapsed course some years back, and reading this now – it looks like a case could be made that the experts got it badly wrong.

The email continues:

“We would consult with SNH, Environmental Planners and SEPA on the proposals. … In addition I would request that the Habitat Management Plan is also reviewed in relation to Otters to avoid further complaints regarding their habitat.”

It could be inferred that the Habitat Management Plan is possibly not updated either, seeing as the Management Plan is not being updated. Sadly, the emphasis is clearly on avoiding complaints regarding otter habitat rather than on protecting the otters, their habitat, and other wildlife.

Perhaps this failure to properly estimate the dynamic dunes, the wildlife and the storms means that an overly-rosy picture was painted by the golf resort’s protagonists? From here, it looks like development of a wild place at all costs prevailed on the day the course was permitted.

However, it now seems Mother Nature has failed to read the memo on Trump’s vision for the ‘world’s greatest course’ and is taking a bit of direct action herself.

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Jun 242016
 

Suzanne Kelly responds to Sarah Malone’s claim: “I would categorically dispute any claims that we have purposely made life difficult for the neighbors or done things that were wrong,” she told NPR earlier this year. “We simply haven’t.”
Kelly concludes there are only two possible explanations for Malone issuing that quote: either Malone is ignorant of what happens on her watch and what she herself has said and done – or she is a liar.

Munro bunds gateSarah Malone Bates is under siege; I almost start to pity the Trump spokesperson – then I recall what has happened at Menie.
Plucked from the relative obscurity of a post in a small Aberdeen museum and placed in charge of what was meant to be a multi-million pound golf/hotel/housing complex, she had no relevant training or experience.

She had however won a beauty contest and she had married the editor of the local newspaper.

Over the past 6 years she’s stuck to the Trump line on all of the issues arising from Trump’s presence: that Trump is welcome in the area, only a few people object to Trump’s activities, The Donald is ‘pumping hundreds of millions of pounds in the area’ and the club is a huge success. All around her are the signs that all is not well.

And yet she continues to issue statements which lack factual basis. Claims such as the ‘hundreds of millions of pounds’ spent in Scotland have been largely unchallenged in the press; I’ve written to the club for proof, but like all my recent emails to TIGLS, it remains unanswered. This latest pronouncement though – the ‘categorical’ denial of anything being wrong with how residents and others are treated – is clearly untrue – and she knows it.

You will find all the back up to the following bullet points in sources including the documentary ‘You’ve been Trumped’, in Andy Wightman’s report on the Menie Estate and in the Aberdeen Voice archives. Here is a partial selection which demonstrates Malone’s denial must either mean she is not telling the truth – or does not know what she has said and done, and what goes on at the course she manages.

Malone’s got off relatively Scot-free with her quotes in the past. Here are just a few reasons why Ms Malone should not get away with it this time. But first, a look at what her word is worth…

“I can’t work for someone I don’t believe in”

Malone started working for Trump in 2009. She told the Herald Scotland she believes in him:

“We have a world-class developer whose brand is associated with luxury and excellence. I think he is a visionary, a very positive man. I can’t work for someone I don’t believe in.”

She’s still working at TIGLS, so we can conclude she still believes in Trump. Despite the racism, the sexism, the nationalism: she believes in him still, or she would have quit. She stands by her bigoted man. Either she shares his views and believes in him – or she isn’t a bigot, but has already made herself dishonest by this Herald Scotland post. Now she says that nothing amiss has happened. The question is – do you believe in her?

Amnesia? Being Economical with the Truth? Or just plain lying?

Maybe you will agree with Executive Vice President Sarah that there’s nothing amiss in how she has and is treating residents, journalists and visitors. Here is a bullet point list to recap some of the incidents that happened under her watch, in no particular order.

  • Trump private security guard threatens established photo journalist Alicia Bruce “I’ll smash your camera”. Bruce wants to press charges but the police (which have a ‘special policy’ for the Menie Estate) dissuade her from doing so.
  • Accessing without permission David and Moira Milne’s lands, removing a fence, damaging property, accidentally cutting a telephone line in the process of this unauthorised work – and sending an exorbitant bill to the Milnes for the fence.
  • Trying to charge Michael Forbes with theft after he removed marker flags from his land/disputed land which had shown up without any explanation. The police were instructed – by whom I wonder – to charge him with theft of goods worth £11, although he had made no attempt to retain these flags.
  • A local area resident was taken against his will to the clubhouse to explain where he was walking and why – in complete contravention of his rights. He had been on his way to Michael Forbes’ farm, and the security guards prevented him doing so before grilling him.
  • Construction workers ‘accidentally’ cut off the water supply to Michael Forbes’ property, forcing the family, including 80 something year old Molly, to go to a stream to collect water by hand. Over a week passed before anything happened. The water supply is still not satisfactorily restored.
  • Anthony Baxter and Richard Phinney went to the site office while filming, and asked the manager when water would be restored to the Forbes Farm. Someone – I wonder who – then called the police and reported the two journalists for a ‘breach of the peace’. They were stopped by a patrol car at Susan Munro’s cottage, and with one police officer growing increasingly aggressive, the two reporters were bundled into the police car, held, their cameras and recordings temporarily held. They never got their day in court, as charges were dropped. The National Union of Journalists condemned this unprecedented act.  If Sarah had no idea this happened, she can’t be paying attention.
  • Blocking Michael Forbes’ access to the beach, preventing him from further salmon fishing.
  • Someone – I wonder who – called the police to say protestors were at the Forbes House and police responded to find no protestors – but rather surveyors from Trump’s camp on Forbes’ land, causing damage. Forbes told the police that this was a boundary dispute and the surveyors had no right to be on the disputed land – and as should not be the case, the police made Forbes stand by and watch as the Trump operatives accessed his land, damaging his boat and other property. Who possibly could have called to report protestors at a sparsely populated farm when there were no protestors?
  • Continuous, ongoing deviations from the approved plan – from the giant flagpole to building a huge wall of earth between Leyton Farm Cottage and the cottage’s former views of the sea and its light. Sand and dirt from this mound got into the cottage, killed plants in the garden, and damaged vehicle engines.
  • Allowing Leyton Farm Road to deteriorate making it veritably impossible for residents to use the road; it was eventually patched up after outcry.
  • MEMAG was an environmental group set up to monitor how TIGLS was operating; per its minutes, representatives from Trump simply did not go to the meetings and therefore did not co-operate.
  • Scottish Outdoor Access Code: a giant gate is put at the point Leyton Farm Road meets the new Trump parking lot; it is locked shut. Plants on either side of it prevent anyone with mobility issues accessing the course from that direction – despite requests to open the gates and reminders.
  • Ostensibly so none of the golfers would be upset by offshore windfarms, Trump has fought an offshore experimental windfarm project which would have meant local jobs. The costs for the legal action to the taxpayer are not at present known.
  • Security guards often parked close to Leyton Farm cottage and shone their headlights into resident’s windows late at night.
  • The Trump parking lot, itself not to the agreed planning spec, had very high, bright overhead lights. These shone into the nearby cottage’s windows and were often left on all night. One night the lights were not on was… the night Aberdeenshire council, journalists and the public attended to measure how bright the lights were.
  • Security guards would stop people on foot and in vehicles demanding their identification.

There are more instances.

Kelly calls Malone out

Thinking both of Malone’s ‘belief’ in Donald Trump, and her protestations that the Trump team never “…purposely made life difficult for the neighbors or done things that were wrong,” it is not hard to reach some conclusions. Either Malone is herself a bigot and can thereby support Trump, or she is not a bigot and then ‘misstated’ that she can’t work for someone she doesn’t believe in.

As to the more important, wilder claim she makes, either all the journalists, residents and visitors, and all the local, national and international films and news reports are wrong, but Malone and Trump are right – or Malone either is ignorant of what her employees and indeed she herself does – or she is a liar.

I am ready to publicly debate these issues with Malone-Bates anytime.

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May 162016
 

princess3 from clipartlordA modern day fairytale by Suzanne Kelly.

Once upon a time, well right now actually, there lives Donald Drumpf – a very rich, powerful handsome man that all the women adore, even black, Mexican, Muslim and Jewish ones. He bought a Scottish estate to the delight of the Scottish peasantry and the whole world, and then hired a very special person – a genuine princess – to run this new Scottish property and build hundreds of houses, a great club and golf courses.

This was Princess Sarah. She knew nothing about golf, planning, the environment, residential development – or anything at all, really.

It was said she’d not be able to organise a piss up in a brewery. Nevertheless, she was absolutely beautiful, and let’s face it – what else matters? And by a very happy coincidence she was married to the man who ran the local newspapers, who could say great things about Donald Drumpf.

Anyway, she had been crowned The Face of Aberdeen. Verily she was a princess.  In fact she was so delicate and sensitive, a tiny pee could throw her into a frenzy, and lo, so it came to pass.

By and by, Donald Drumpf was given permission to do with the estate and its wildlife whatever he pleased. The wildflowers and plants were scraped away by diggers.

Scores and scores of truckloads of sand were dumped, irrespective of wildlife habitat. Trees were dug up and buried in pits.

It was said that the burrowing animals were gassed. A golf course was laid out in a former wild place which had all its legal environmental protection removed. Scottish Natural Heritage which should have protected Scotland’s Natural Heritage did nothing but deliver some lame, unintelligible scientific jargon to the Reporters, who were told by Scottish Enterprise that this golf course was needed (although golf courses were closing nearby).

The resident peasants who wouldn’t sell to Drumpf were ridiculed, hassled by security guards and, interfered with by police. Elected officials who voted agains the destructive scheme were ridiculed by Princess Sarah’s husband’s newspapers as traitors – simply for applying the existing law to the land owned by The Donald as it would have applied to mere mortals.

One traitorous councillor was even punched on her doorstep by a Drumpf loving woman.

Residents had their water, electric and telephone lines ‘accidentally’ cut off by Drumpf’s construction crews at different points. A resident farmer who had gone salmon fishing for decades was told he’d be arrested if he tried to fish ever again. The rare, moving sand dune system was ‘stabilised’, altering forever a unique habitat once without equal.

Public money was spent by Scottish Enterprise to helicopter Drumpf’s people around while he was wined and dined by the ‘impartial’ First Minister.

One nearby resident was frogmarched to the clubhouse

Two journalists were arrested and manhandled for ‘breach of the peace’. This was without precedent, and the machinations of the police were such that the two never got to have their day in court, which they very much wanted.

Drumpf operatives tried to trick people into selling their homes with blatant lies. Compulsory purchase orders were a threat hanging over the heads of those who refused to sell. A giant bund of sandy earth was deliberately put up between one person’s home and their former views of the sea. This caused dirt and sand to blow into the cottage owner’s house, gardens and car engines – ruining the engines and killing the plants in the gardens.

Trees were planted in this bund. They died, and others were planted in an attempt to further block the cottage. The wildlife visibly dwindled, while the clownish Professor Bill Ritchie, who had previously said the development was great, disappeared as his feeble wildlife monitoring programme was allowed to fizzle out.

One nearby resident was frogmarched to the clubhouse and held by security – he had merely been trying to visit a farm. A huge heap of mixed waste was piled high nearby. A respected photographer was threatened by security who screamed he’d smash her camera.

Then something terrible happened.

One day a woman was accused of doing something so horrifying it should only be spoken of in whispers. She had been walking on the dunes and the shore for hours, and it is alleged she – urinated. In the grasses of the sand dunes. Please forgive me for even alluding to this; I hope you haven’t hit your head when you fainted at the thought.

Now Princess Sarah had had to put up with lots of hardships up until this point. She had to read out press statements for the dozen or so wee planning permission deviations that occurred under her stewardship. Worse – she did not get permission for the 80 foot flagpole – and it certainly seems she really desired a big one, I do wonder why.

Flying a giant flag would have proved once and for all that Drumpf loved Scotland and everyone would be nice to him forever, forgetting his one or two small foibles. But the mean burgermeisters decided this was just too big. But I digress.

A peasant on Drumpf land was bad enough – Sarah was flushed with rage. But for someone to actually take the piss – the Princess decided enough was enough.

Now Princess Sarah was a very delicate, fragrant creature. Indeed, Princess Sarah was so very lovely and fragrant herself, it was widely held that she never needed to go to the bathroom at all. Indeed, the people for miles around said she was full of sh*t.

Late one evening, Police Scotland’s finest showed up

Princess Sarah had everyone who walked across the golf course spied upon – after all, hardly anyone went there in the first place, and you have to get your security guards to earn their bread somehow.

No one came near the place without some employee, security goon in a van or on foot intervening.

This spying, recording, filming and eavesdropping will in no way deter future golfers who might have wanted to play golf and/or talk business without being filmed and recorded – but I digress again.

To show her good taste, great judgment, empathy, public-friendly nature, kindness, and what a whizz she was, the clever princess made three of her lackeys film the woman on their mobile phones. Then she immediately called the police. As any right-thinking person would do. Conveniently her husband’s newspaper had a journalist on the spot before the allegedly urinating woman was able to leave.

The princess arranged for the police to track the peasant down, and of course they obliged.  Late one evening, Police Scotland’s finest showed up at the home of the allegedly peeing pensioner and sneered that ‘there was enough evidence’ to convict her of – peeing. “Urine Trouble Now!” they told the pensioner in her home that night.

The courageous, law-biding Princess issued a statement:

“Offensive behaviour such as this is a matter for the police… This disgusting and shameful act took place in broad daylight in full view of our staff and guests by an individual who has been disruptive in the past.”

Quite right. If she’d not called the police, then people would think Drumpf’s place was going down the pan.

Some people said that there was something immoral, pervy, weird and demeaning about the princess ordering her minions to film this alleged event, but there you go. As to the perpetrator – it’s bad enough to be accused of answering the call of nature – but to be disruptive with it – that’s going too far. If there ‘s one thing we can’t have on this golf course is any kind of disruption.

If we don’t move to stamp this kind of thing out, there is no telling where it might end. How would you feel if one evening for example you were in the Aberdeen town centre and drunk men (and women) were just urinating in the streets? Yes, if we don’t stamp out this menace, there is no telling what will happen. People might also start experimenting with disruption.

The police have been asked to tell us how many other such arrests there have been. I think they have found the subject far too unseemly to be able to respond. When they do, I’ll let you know. No doubt this information will eventually leak out.

 Police Scotland have been too busy doing real work

For my part, after all the wonderful things Drumpf, Princess Sarah and Master Bates have done for us, I think perhaps a statue of some sort might be appropriate. Maybe a parade, too.

Perhaps we should have a National ‘Face of Aberdeen Day’, or put Sarah’s face on a postage stamp or a fiver.

And as to the police who decided hounding a grandmother was a good way to spend their time and our tax money, perhaps they should also be rewarded with some public recognition. What about those brave guys who decided to whip out their mobile phones to film the alleged event? I’d love to thank them personally, and I’m sure others would too. Any one of us would film a pensioner allegedly squatting in a sand dune if ordered to by our bosses I’m sure.

People have in the past been turned away by the police when trying to report thefts, attempted thefts and other issues. Police Scotland have been too busy doing real work such as meeting Drumpf when he jets in than to find your stolen bike or car. In fact, it seems to be your fault your car is stolen if you keep your car keys locked in your house where anyone could break in and get them.

By the way, one cancelled visit from Herr Drumpf cost the taxpayer a few thousand pounds; I wonder what it costs when he does show up? I did ask, but it was far too difficult to calculate for our poor police to be able to answer.

Back to our story: before she left the golf course land, the alleged perpetrator was met by a black vehicle, out of which popped people including someone identifying themselves as a reporter. (Maybe someday I’ll become a professional reporter like that.

I can see it now – I’ll get that phone tip-off :

“Come to a golf course – a granny has possibly strained her greens- we think.”

A story like that might get me writing for Wikileaks. Alas! Putting my name to a by-line like that in newspaper sadly is something I can only dream of. I wondered what they meant by leaking a story to the press – now I know.

As to someone who would allegedly urinate in a sand dune, forcing others to film the episode, I’m thinking it’s a pity that we got rid of hanging. Perhaps just tarring and feathering would do the trick, and then banishment.

A card of condolence will be made available to Princess Sarah – we only hope she’s not had to look at the footage or the crime scene (I wonder if they dust for urine?). I hope that at this difficult, stressful, emotional time she can still continue to defend Mr Drumpf and his desire to wall up the rapist druggie Mexicans, to stop China raping the US, and to ban those pesky Muslims from going to the US.

Without the princess to tell us what’s disgusting or disruptive, where would we be indeed?

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Mar 112016
 

Aberdeen Voice’s Old Susannah has something of an identity crisis as her mortgage company rebrands her as ‘Elizabeth’ in a paperwork snafu. As such, we welcome Old Elizabeth’s Dictionary Corner this week. By Suzanne (?) Kelly.

DictionaryTally ho! The banks have decided that my first name isn’t Suzanne, it’s Elizabeth. That’s what the records show, so I have to prove them wrong. This error was only picked up a week ago, so I don’t expect it to be fixed any time soon.

Past signatures on mortgage papers, name on my bank account and payslips, my passport – none of this is good enough just yet for the powers that be. I may change my name; it might be easier. You’re probably as shocked to hear of a bank making any kind of mistake as I am, but apparently it does happen.

I’m beginning to think that I must be in the wrong, not them, and am going to double-check with my parents.

This past week a Florida woman who tried to teach her four year old child how to shoot a gun has been shot. Bet no one saw that coming.

This is an intolerable state of affairs; what kind of mother is this? Perhaps if she’d started him earlier, he’d have acquired more gun handling experience by now. It’s never too early to start learning to hurt or kill, is it? Call me old-fashioned, but every time I give a toddler who can’t really walk or talk a .45 six-shooter, I usually leave only one or two bullets in.

As to Mother of the Year, you’ll be happy to know that she is said to be in a stable condition. She sounds very stable to me. Of course junior might have killed himself or any surviving siblings. In the US nearly 10,000 minors are killed or injured by guns every year But that’s a small price to pay for freedom, I say.

No word on whether she’ll face any charges; hardly likely I’d think. Elsewhere in the US, if your child is stillborn, or has birth defects, you might just well find yourself in prison for murder. Oh, lest I forget – happy International Women’s Day everyone.

Closer to home, all’s well as we continue with our vibrant, dynamic public relations activities, showing the rest of the world how wonderful we are. Now that a new flight route has opened to Iceland, Visit Scotland is out there flying the Satire, waving our tax money around, and giving the VIP treatment to Icelandic Journalists. (Thank you Iain Richardson for sharing this story on Facebook).

As part of their packed itinerary, Visit Aberdeen will ensure the group enjoys ‘… a show round of Macleod House and Trump International Golf Links in Balmedie’. Now you might think that someone somewhere at Visit Scotland would think twice about promoting this particular golf course, but you’d be wrong.

Perhaps a few relevant definitions might help.

Visit Scotland: (Modern English compound noun) a Smart Successful Scotland’s Tourist arm; another unelected quango.

In the dark ages, no one came to look at Scotland’s landscapes, castles, coasts or cities. Then, we created Visit Scotland. What do they do?

“Visit Scotland works in partnership to exceed visitor expectations. Its mission is to contribute significantly to the advancement of Scottish tourism by giving it real presence in the global marketplace, benefiting the whole of Scotland.

“We’ve a wide range of stakeholders, but our activities are defined by visitors’ requirements. Everything we do is based on sound research to make sure that we stay ahead of consumers’ ever-changing needs.

“We work closely with tourism businesses and other partners to make sure that their activities are aligned with the national strategy, and that we’re all working towards a common goal.” 

It’s good to know that everything they do is based on sound research. Otherwise, locally anyway, it might look like they keep using the same venues over and over. We’ll soon find out how much money they’ve spent at Trump; I’m sure that they use all of our local hotels and golf courses on a rotational basis. After all, they are bound to be fair with the taxpayer pound.

They claim that for every pound we spend – of the $50,000,000 million pounds’ budget they have – £20 is spent on tourism in Scotland. Yes, I’m sure they are fully responsible for all tourism in the country. If not for VS, who’d have come to Edinburgh, Glasgow, The Granite City, the islands, the lochs. Well done you!

The fact that there’s a national strategy is comforting. I suppose spending our money at a venue run by arguably the West’s biggest bigot sends the message the national strategy wants to convey.

So, it’s time to round up the Icelandic journalists and show them Scotland. By going to the placid haven that is Trump’s Balmedie course. Will they stop and point out the bunds put up to try and ruin Susie Munro’s views, gardens and spirit? Will they point out where the water mains, electric and telephone services have been ‘accidentally’ cut by the Trump construction crews?

Will they discuss how this successful venue has posted a financial loss? Should be very entertaining. Perhaps the sound research needs a dusting off, as does those ever-changing needs of visitors.

Tacit Endorsement: (Compound English noun) – to imply support for a person, cause or thing by actions rather than words.

I asked Visit Scotland why they’d chosen to go with the Trump property for this visit. They replied:

“Hi Suzanne. Our work with the Trump Organisation is solely in its role as an operator of premium golf resorts in Scotland and as such we would not comment on Mr Trump’s personal or political agenda. Thanks for your FOI request which we have received. A member of our corporate team will contact you directly about this in due course. Many thanks.”

I like the use of the word ‘premium.’ Well, you pay a premium for lunch there, anyway. I suggested:

“Very interesting. Visit Scotland doesn’t distinguish between Trump’s very public remarks and giving taxpayer money to his concerns, yet he’s been stripped of being a Global Scot for these remarks, as well as losing his RGU honorary degree. Perhaps time you rethink your ethics? You are of course condoning and encouraging him every time you give him our tax money, you do see that, don’t you.”

We mustn’t rush to conclusions though. Just because Visit Scotland takes people to Trump properties, spends taxpayer money at Trump properties, and endorses Trump properties is no reason to think that they are happy to have Scotland aligned with the Trump brand. Let’s wait and see if the next visiting dignitaries from the Middle East get taken to Drumpf Golf International.

I’m sure they’ll love meeting Mrs Bates to the extent that all the talk of banning Muslims and making then wear badges in the US will pass once she flashes those pearly whites.

Sure the guy wants to ban Muslims from entering the USA (Muslim American citizen population 3 to 7 million). Sure, he’s verbally waging war on Mexico, wants to bring back water boarding (nothing quite like it you’ll agree), and a bag of vipers would be kinder and more logical. But there’s money at stake. Besides which, VS would have to admit that endorsing him is a mistake.

In December last year, VS said:

“…that it has no plans to stop working with Donald Trump, despite a campaign to ban him from entering Britain because of his comments about Muslim immigration. Visit Scotland said that the tycoon’s two Scottish golf resorts were a valuable asset and attracted thousands of visitors from around the world as well as multimillion-pound investment.” 

The welfare of Scottish citizens living under the whims of Trump at Menie? Who cares? Not Visit Scotland.

Iceland Press Council: (Proper noun – er, Icelandic I guess) – a body governing principles and ethics of reporting in Iceland

This press junket whereby Icelandic writers come to Aberdeen will, I sincerely hope, involve their talking to Aberdeen Journals Ltd’s big wheels like Damian Bates. This is almost inevitable, as Sara Mrs Malone Face of Aberdeen Bates will be showing them round the Trump course. There’s just one problem.

Cultures vary widely from country to country. While we’ve gone all smart and successful here, not every country is up to our own standards. Covering up stories inconvenient to top advertisers, pushing the wife’s business interests, embellishing or suppressing stories to suit the powers that be: Iceland’s not got wise to any of these modern journalistic techniques at all.

They actually have a paper, Rules of Ethics in Journalism; it goes back to 1988. Thought I’d share some of it with you. Press and Journal; Evening Express writers may wish to look away now (if you’re still with me that is). Sorry, but I thought I’d put most of the clauses into this piece, just to show how much more advanced we are here than these idealistic Icelanders.

I’ve made a comment or two in square brackets in bold for the benefit of our local reporters, who probably need a laugh.

Clause 1. A journalist aims to do nothing which may bring his profession or professional organisation, newspaper or newsroom into disrepute. [OOPS!] He must avoid anything, which may be deleterious to public opinion of the journalist’s work, or damage the interests of the profession [OOPS!]. A journalist must always be honourable in his dealings with colleagues. [OOPS!]

Clause 3. A journalist observes the highest possible standards in gathering information, processing this information , and in presentation, and shows the utmost fact in sensitive cases [UNLESS THERE’S A GRANITE WEB, OR THE NEEDS OF AN ACSEF MEMBER AT STAKE ]. He avoids all that may cause unnecessary pain or humiliation to the innocent, or those who have suffered.

Clause 5. A journalist must do his best to avoid conflicts of interest, for instance by reporting on companies or interest groups in which he himself is involved [OOPS! – DAMIAN – ANY COMMENT?]. He must primarily serve the interests of the reader [DAMIAN?], and the honour of the journalistic profession in all that undertakes under the aegis of his job. [IS THIS OK WITH THE MISSUS’ BOSS?]

A journalist writes always on the basis of his convictions [OOPS!]. He makes sure not to confuse editorial material of clear informative and educational value, with advertising in pictorial and / or written form. [HA HA HA!] This code of ethics does not limit the freedom of expression of journalists who write, under their full name, clearly defined items in newspapers, e.g. criticism, where the writer’s personal views are of the essence. [IS THAT WHY SO MANY P&J / EE PIECES DON’T HAVE A BYLINE?]

Clause 6. Any person who believes that a journalist has offended against the above code, and whose interests are at stake, can make a complaint to the Ethics Committee of the Icelandic Union of Journalists within two months of publication, provided the item published is not the subject of court action at the same time. [REMINDS ME OF WHEN I COMPLAINED ABOUT A P&J PIECE. A FRONT PAGE AREA LABELLED ‘FACTS’ IN A HEAVY OUTLINE, CONTAINED OPINIONS. THE RELEVANT PRESS REGULATORS DECIDED THAT ANYONE WHO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE WOULD HAVE REALISED THAT THEY BOX LABELLED ‘FACTS’ WEREN’T FACTS AFTER ALL. FAIR ENOUGH]

So there you have it. Despite First Minister Nicola Sturgeon taking away Donald Drumpf’s Global Scot status, despite the Open saying that they don’t want anything to do with Drumpf, Visit Scotland’s going to plough ahead promoting the Donald’s ‘premium’ clubs. I guess that national strategy they talk about doesn’t give our Nicola a look-in.

On that note, I’ll take a minute to say goodbye to one of Aberdeen Voice’s founders, David R Guthrie. He passed away after illness and a wake was held on Tuesday. A colourful writer, musician, wit, and all-round good guy, he had his reasons for helping to found Aberdeen Voice. One of those reasons was assuredly Aberdeen Journals Ltd. In lieu of flowers, feel free to donate to Aberdeen Voice.

One of the things I liked about him was his love of Union Terrace Gardens. Another thing I liked: the man was not for sale or for rent. He never got a Maserati, but he had things that were actually valuable. Good night Dave, and thanks.

You might not like Aberdeen Voice – but we’ve exposed untruths. We’ve covered important stories the local press wouldn’t touch. We’ve spoken out against people like Trump, and we’re going to keep going.

PS – I asked MP Paul Flynn how he felt now about Trump, who continues to gain in the polls, and might wind up being President. Flynn of course was on the Petitions Committee, and opened the Parliamentary debate on banning Trump. He’d taken that extra step of going to the press some 9 hours before the debate to say he didn’t believe in banning Trump for hate speech.

No, let’s just take him round my constituency, show him how multiculturalism is working, and then he’ll instantly change his way of thinking – that was Flynn’s master plan. Doesn’t seem to be working that well.

Here’s what he wrote back to me:

“There are still e-mails coming in from the US on Trump. His fans are happy but they all seem pretty stupid. Sensible Republicans are in despair. They believe that he has shamed their party. They believe that If he is the candidate, Hilary will win. I persist in the belief that a country wise enough to elect Obama twice, would be foolish enough to elect Trump once. At the moment I am very much involved in other things. Any contributions I could make in Trump’s downfall would be insignificant.” 

Well, perhaps anything he could do now would be insignificant. But when he led that debate, had he brought up all the relevant facts (including actual US violence caused by Trump’s words), and done the petition justice, I wonder where things would stand now.

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Jan 282016
 

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

Ten years after New York developer Donald J. Trump first announced his intention to build a golf resort in Scotland (on 25 January 2006), the North-east has gained little but lost much.

Said Cllr Paul Johnston,

“Essentially, the north-east has ended up with the worst of both worlds. We’ve lost the amazing, natural, dune system – but the promised economic benefits used to justify that destruction are nowhere to be seen.”

Cllr Martin Ford said,

“Mr Trump’s grandiose and extravagant promises of jobs, money and enhanced reputation for the region – parroted by First Minister Alex Salmond’s Scottish Government – have failed to materialise.
 
“At Menie, little of the proposed resort has been built. None of the 950 timeshares. A 19-bedroom hotel in an existing country house instead of a 450-bedroom new build. One golf course, not two. A much smaller clubhouse than originally proposed. Under 100 jobs, not 6000. Around £30 million spent instead of the £1 billion investment pledged.

“Meanwhile, the unique dune system at Menie, a protected Site of Special Scientific Interest, has been sacrificed – the justification being the economic benefits Mr Trump and the Scottish Government said would come from the resort that hasn’t been built.
 
“Mr Trump’s neighbours on the Menie estate have had their lives disrupted by bullying and intimidation for most of the last decade.
 
“Latterly, Mr Trump’s truly revolting behaviour as a presidential hopeful has seen him shunned by many organisations not wanting to be tainted by his obnoxious views. His association with the North-east clearly does nothing for our reputation in the world. He is an embarrassment, not an asset.”

 Cllr Paul Johnston said:

“Mr Trump and his golf course have been a divisive issue in the North-east. Had Mr Trump been a more reasonable individual, a golf course could have been built at Menie without touching the Site of Special Scientific Interest or adversely affecting his neighbours.
 
“We need to learn lessons from this unfortunate episode. Next time an overly ambitious speculator comes round making ridiculous promises, I hope attitudes will be different.”

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Jan 212016
 

DictionaryBy Suzanne Kelly.

The highly stylish, smart, successful, forward-looking breakfast nook Chez Bates had known some happy times. Days when the sound of laughter and dozens of designer shopping bags crinkled as they were brought into the house. Things seemed a bit colder this winter. Recent events were not helping.

Princess Bates daintily spread low-calorie margarine on her low-calorie rice cracker.

At the other end of the table, Master Bates lazily ate a full Scottish breakfast while reading the lastest Evening Express.

But even the exciting story ‘Ghost Found in Photograph Drunks Took in front of Restaurant’ headline wasn’t cheering him up.

He thumbed through pages of riveting news stories in the papers he edited – ‘Shopping Trolley Stolen’, ‘Cold Weather Expected in January’ and ‘Pope is Catholic Shock’ and then came to the ‘Beautiful Bride’ competition page. The latest brides smiled up at him. How long ago his own wedding to the most beautiful girl in the world seemed somehow. A long, long time ago.

There was their photo, sitting on the mantelpiece. How wonderful their afternoon was on the Northern Belle; and the photo of them sitting together smiling for the P&J cameras was even available for people to buy for their own homes.

“Share the happiness!” he thought, “and make some money out of it as well, particularly if she keeps spending everything I make on clothes, shoes you can’t walk in, and beauty treatments”

The recent prang with his Maserati had made him reassess what was important, and perhaps it was time to rein her spending in a bit. There was this Lotus up for sale which would be perfect for driving to work in Maastrick in.

The Princess was not smiling. It had been a hard week. Film and news crews crossed Trump International Golf Links Scotland’s parking lot to access the dunes. Phonecalls even came in. Suzanne Kelly had the audacity not only to suggest Donald was somehow a mean guy, but also to ask Trump Golf to restore Michael Forbes’ fishing rights and take down the big pile of earth which was called a bund from in front of the Munro cottage. All the terminology Sarah had needed to learn!  A bund was a big pile of earth.  A bung was a big envelope of money.  It was easy to get confused.  She did remember though that Mr T and Georgie Sorial had told her that any compromise was a sign of weakness.

It was her duty to be every bit as strong and smart as Donald was always telling the world he was. She had also been asked to be in a live debate with Kelly, but Mrs Bates was not taking the bait. Talking about the wonderful course she knew so much about would have been easy of course. But all this other stuff about the UK’s Public Order act, laws, hate speech and petitions was so confusing.

What did it matter anyway? After all, Donald was pumping hundreds of millions of pounds into a grateful Scotland. Why couldn’t they just leave him in peace so he could be president and get rid of all those nasty Muslims, Mexicans, handicapped people, women who weren’t pretty and other awful people? Who cared about Muslims when there was money to be made? She just didn’t understand what was wrong with other people’s values.

The rice cracker snapped under the pressure of her knife as she thought of these things. Master Bates peeked from behind his newspaper, hoping it would be a good time to broach a difficult subject.

“Darling, I think we should talk”

“Yes, I do need another pair of kitten heels, you’re right – I’ll go shopping tonight.”
 
“Well, uh, yes, of course – but something else too. This, this – statement that you put out.”
 
“Brilliant isn’t it? I sure showed that dreadful Suzanne Kelly, didn’t I dear. It’s been in a few papers, doubtless more will pick it up.”
 
“Well, yes, about that. I’m not so sure we’re going to run it”
 
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN!!!?”
 
“Well, dear, you know I love you; you’re absolutely beautiful-“
 
“yes, of course I am – what’s wrong with my statement!?”
 
“Just a few little points my buttercup; nothing major, we just need to maybe leave some of it out. you’ve got this bit here complaining that ‘valuable Parliament time was wasted.”
 
“I like that bit. Georgie thought that up. In fact, he thought up a lot of it, which was good because I was busy – we’re getting new curtains.”
 
“Well, it’s just that we don’t want people to start to think about how Mr T has taken up a huge chunk of Holyrood money and taxpayer money, and tied up the courts trying to stop those offshore windfarms.”
 
“Well, that’s different. They were going to be ugly. And golfers doing golf would have been, y’know, distracted.”
 
“My dearest Sarah, of course, of course I agree – but we’re talking hundreds of hours in courts, legal fees, Holyrood time, and an untold sum of taxpayer money on an appeal which so far has stopped an experimental windfarm project which meant clean energy and energy sector jobs, which Aberdeen needs.”
 
“What Aberdeen – and Scotland needs – is the class that Donald Trump brings, and all those thousands of jobs we’re going to make. Any day now. If there are no offshore windfarms. Or anything else Donald doesn’t like.”
 
“Sarah my sweet I so agree and understand, it’s just that some folks facing unemployment in the energy sector are thinking of making their next career in renewables, and would prefer engineering to toilet cleaning and bussing tables.”
 
“We’ve got crests. Trump family crests. Did you see them last time? We’ve got lovely crests with a double headed bird thing. It’s very classy. And pretty. What unemployed person wouldn’t want to live in an on-site staff block and do laundry or serve drinks?”
 
“Unemployment… yes, that’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a while….” but he rallied:

“I hate to mention it, but I think we should forget you making any comments about DT’s freedom of speech being attacked.”

“Why ever not?  And do you think this shade of lipstick clashes with my Chanel?”

“Er, you look fine honey.  How can I put this – Donald’s people here in Scotland fired that cook you had had at the clubhouse because of a picture on his personal Facebook page.”

“Well, it was disgusting!  It was obscene!  It was a shortbread that looked.. that looked – oh my like a man’s private parts!”

“Well,” said Damian, thinking the allegedly offensive piece of shortbread looked like a blob and nothing more, “Some people might think it was hypocritical – that means unfair” he added hastily, seeing her perplexed face.

“Donald didn’t like it, and that wasn’t free speech it was a picture, so that’s different.” Sarah helpfully explained.  She’d stopped nibbling her rice cracker now.  Really, for a newspaper editor person, Damian didn’t understand some very basic things.

“Dearest” Damian continued “Then there is that woman – that Muslim woman – who came to one of Donald’s presidential rallies.  She was thrown out for no good reason I could see.  Some people might think that isn’t exactly respecting freedom.”

“She was ugly!  And wearing an offensive foreign shirt – I think it said ‘Salaam’ or ‘salami’ or something. Really, if you’re not great looking to start with, you could at least wear nice clothes.”

“And, well, how should I put this? Parliament is meant to, on occasion, listen to people.”   Damian felt his blood pressure might be going up.  “It’s not quite like you said. Your statement said ‘for the UK to consider banning someone who made a statement in America, about American borders during a US election campaign is ridiculous.’ I think you’ll find, oh light of my life, that the UK has laws stopping hate speech – as mean as that might seem” he added, seeing her pout and her nose wrinkle up,

“people have been already injured because of Donald Trump’s words.”

“Some homeless guy got beaten up. That’s America’s problem not ours. And if someone tried to make a bomb, then that’s their problem too.”  A frown came over the otherwise beautiful countenance of the beautiful princess.  “As my statement written by Georgie said ‘it is absurd that valuable parliamentary time is being wasted debating a matter raised as part of the American presidential election.”  

She was reading it from the large font printed sheets they’d given her the other day to practice saying.

“Yes darling – but the UK’s laws on public order are supposed to stop people who encourage others to do that kind of thing from coming over here and doing it. I agree with you and Donald of course, but remember he said that relatives of terrorists should be taken out?”
 
“Yes, that’s just the kind of peacemaker he can be, when he’s not busy being smart and strong. He’d take them out to play golf, and then they’d agree with him.”
 
“Er, well.”

Damian didn’t know what to say

“So, when he said all those things about women, Mexicans, ugly people, Muslims, even Republicans in the past, black people, Jewish people – that kind of made Robert Gordon University think he didn’t really belong in a multicultural institution, and the Global Scot ambassadorship was taken away too. Honey – do you really think he should be put in charge of a country as powerful as the US and made Commander in Chief of its army?”
 
“OH! Of All the Nerve!”

The Princess was not going to have her husband question her about these little details.

“Do you remember how much I get paid for being the spokesperson and talking about golf and investment? It’s quite a bit Master Bates. And you – that Maserati guzzles petrol. If Donald didn’t advertise where would you be?”

He thought of where he might be. To change the subject seemed the way forward.

“Let’s not worry – worrying makes wrinkles.”

The Princess reached for her handbag and got out her magnifying, light-up mirror.

“Where? Where?” she asked in blind panic.

“Not you, never – let’s avoid any worry. Or too much overthinking. Don’t you worry honey. All’s fine. I’ll run your quote in full.” Master Bates said soothingly, but his brow showed some signs of stress.

The Princess pulled out a small rectangular package.

“I’ve got something for you darling” She said, handing the box over,

“Remember, Donald will be here in a week or so to see how great everything is.”

Perhaps a Louis Vuitton credit card case? A voucher for the Marcliffe?

As he opened the package, for the first time he felt a bit angry.

“A Trump golf tie? Made in Mexico?”

“He’s coming next week, and it will look great on you!” The Princess beamed

“I’m not wearing a goddamned polyester tie for anyone! Thank F*£$”! no one’s seen me in the golf cap” he thought.

Master Bates stifled his first impulses and answered:

“Well, thank you Sarah, it’s, well, it’s wonderful. I’m going to save it for when we all meet up at the Clubhouse when he’s next here, shall I?”

Grabbing his last piece of toast he got up.

“I’ve just remembered, I’ve got a story to do for Woody; he’s giving money away to charity.”
 
“Darling you’re the best” The Princess crooned;

“Would you be an absolute angel and let me use your card? I’ve got to get my hair all teased up like in that photoshoot I did at MacLeod House for when Donald’s around. A few extensions here and there will do it. And a new dress. He’d love to see me in a new dress, and I’m sure you would too. Be a darling!”

She kissed his forehead.

“Of course.”

Master Bates’ voice was perhaps a bit terser than usual. He thought about asking here where on earth ‘hundreds of millions of pounds had been pumped into the Scottish economy by her blustering boss. Master Bates looked at the photo of them as newlyweds on the mantle piece, and thought, there’s more than a few wrinkles between then and now. He grabbed the toast, flung her the credit card, and grabbed the Maserati keys.

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Dec 142015
 

With thanks to Suzanne Kelly.

Suzanne Kelly fights her way through the hordes.

With over half a million signatures, the petition to ban Donald Trump from the UK for hate speech has become the fastest ever to qualify for debate in Parliament.
Suzanne Kelly was inspired largely by the events at Aberdeenshire’s Menie Estate, and how residents were treated when Trump began construction for a golf course there.

Now Kelly wants some positive action to fix long-running issues with planning permission and access.

When Donald Trump set out to create his Menie Estate golf complex, he had a huge impact on the environment and area residents. SSSI protection, the highest level of environmental protection there is, was taken from the UK’s only moving sand dune system and its fragile ecosystem. A giant bund of earth was put between Susan Munro’s cottage and her views across the landscape to the sea; this served no functional or desirable purpose.

This bund, well over head height and topped with dead and dying trees, apparently was not part of the agreed plan. Water was cut off to the Forbes’ farm, forcing the farmer and his family – including his elderly mother – to carry water from a nearby stream.

“Imagine hearing bulldozers outside your home, and finding your new neighbour has put an 8 foot high mound of sandy earth between you and your former views to the sea. Imaging campaigning for years and being ignored by your local planning department. How Susie put up with it I don’t know.” says Suzanne Kelly.

Various aspects of the built landscape were changed, in some cases apparently without prior permission from Aberdeenshire planning officials. Michael Forbes, who previously was able to cross the estate to the sea for salmon fishing, had his access blocked – and the police (who normally would not be involved in civil matters) – told him he would be arrested if he touched the new gate or its lock.

Border disputes both with Forbes and David Milne saw existing fencing torn down, and Trump’s people re-drawing the boundaries.

Boundary disputes should have been treated as civil matters, but police were on hand to support Trump, not those living on the land. Gorse seems to have been planted to deter walkers in places, and a huge gate blocking Leyton Farm Road to the Trump parking lot is locked shut, with access impossible for anyone who is infirm.

Efforts to get planning permission rules enforced or to get access rights upheld have fallen on deaf ears at Aberdeenshire’s planning offices, Kelly and residents say. Kelly and many others have written to the local authority for years without success.

Of the Shire’s inaction Kelly says:

“In other cases we have seen people who flaunt planning laws dealt with swiftly and decisively. You could be forgiven for thinking there is a two-tier planning and countryside access system, one for the wealthy, and one for the poor.”

“I’ve written to Trump’s people; I’ve written to the Shire and the government. I am going to ask them again now to re-think making good all of the things that have gone wrong on the estate. It’s my understanding that finally Michael Forbes repaired the damage done to his water supply by Trump’s construction crews – which had happened years ago.  

The film ‘you’ve been trumped’ shows – among other things – the Forbes family, including Molly, having to carry water from a stream for their bathing, tea-making, you name it. The water supply was restored, but was unreliable according to Forbes.”

Forbes was voted ‘Top Scot of the Year’ by the public at Glenfiddich’s Spirit of Scotland Awards in 2012, to Donald Trump’s chagrin. Trump then banned the drink from all his property – with the result that the sales for the prestige whisky surged throughout Scotland.

Kelly continues:

“If I can’t get the Trump organisation, Aberdeenshire planning and the central government to get things made right by asking them nicely now, then I think they will find that some 550,000 people might now also be emailing them to ask for the changes and improvements we want. If we can’t get some swift, decisive action after years of writing about the problems, then the next step will be a protest at Menie.

“Of course, this would be a peaceful, legal event.

“Let’s hope those who can make good at the Estate will do so. For starters, that bund of earth must be taken away – cleanly and without making more mess for Susie Munro. Michael Forbes should immediately be allowed to access the beach in the same way, with the same boats/nets/vehicles as he enjoyed for years before Trump arrived. I think we should hear something positive and see results starting within 10 days.

“If not, I hope everyone’s email servers are up for a wee onslaught of correspondence, and perhaps another March of Menie demonstration, as had been held in the past. I do think the next such march might be a very large affair indeed.”

Kelly has sent a detailed email to Trump, Aberdeenshire Planning, the head of Aberdeenshire Council, and copied it to Nicola Sturgeon.

On the subject of Robert Gordon University and Dr Kennedy, Kelly said:

“Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Robert Gordon University, has been in contact, and has made it plain Dr Kennedy’s degree stands, even though he had handed it back to protest the honour bestowed on Trump. I find this and the revocation of Trump’s degree cause for celebration.”

Kelly adds:

“Today I saw on Facebook an open letter BrewDog wrote to Trump. It’s every bit as witty, scathing, and delightful as you’d come to expect. I started buying BrewDog beer from the first days it was made here in Aberdeenshire; James Watt and Martin Dickie sold their first brews from a market stall at Aberdeen’s farmers’ market. I expected great things from them, but never the degree of success they’ve had. 

“It’s kind of how I feel about the strength of support for the Parliamentary Petition. BrewDog also have a slogan, ‘Without us, we are Nothing’ – very apt for this petition I’d say. I’m proud to be one of the over 10,000 shareholders of this ethical, local, successful company.

“Amusingly, the post is attracting a number of posters telling the brewers to shut up/stay out of politics – and the same people are defending Trump’s right to ‘free speech’. It’s more than a little ironic, don’t you think? I don’t remember people saying the same thing when the company gave Putin the ‘BrewDog treatment’ over his anti-gay stance.

“Hate speech is not the same as free speech. That’s why this law, banning over 80 people previously, exists. Hate speech doesn’t work on the rational person who reads many sources of news and makes up their own mind; it falls on the ears of the mob and inflames.

“Occupy Democrats reports a surge in violence against Muslims in the US. To me, there is more than a strong chance this could have been fomented by the hate pouring out of a TV personality/presidential candidate’s mouth. I wonder whether Trump feels any responsibility for that? In my book he should. For me all rights come with responsibilities.

“Are some terrorists claiming their actions are Islamic? Undoubtedly. Are all people following a particular faith to be ostracized? Not if there is the least little thing I can do to stop it.”

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Dec 142015
 

martin-fordWith thanks to Martin Ford.

The change in attutude towards Donald Trump by Scottish politicians from across the political spectrum is long overdue, according to two consistent opponents of Mr Trump.

Aberdeenshire councillors Martin Ford and Paul Johnston say it was obvious in 2006 that Mr Trump was not a suitable person to be appointed a ‘Global Scot’ business ambassador, and it was even more obvious in 2010 that Mr Trump was not a suitable recipient for an honorary degree from Robert Gordon University.

Former first minister Alex Salmond has joined the swelling ranks of politicians who once welcomed Donald Trump to Scotland but are now rushing to condemn the New York businessman in the strongest terms.

Mr Salmond has described Mr Trump’s remarks against Mexicans as ‘most certainly racist’ and Mr Trump’s comments about Muslims as ‘most certainly bigotry’.

Said Cllr Martin Ford:

“The really important point here is the broad consensus in opposition to the views, attitudes and values of Mr Trump. Racism and bigotry should have no place in our society.
 
“Mr Trump’s truly revolting behaviour as a presidential hopeful has seen him shunned by many organisations not wanting to be associated with his obnoxious views.
 
“I would dispute, however, that Mr Trump’s unpleasant attitudes are a recent development. On the contrary, they are a continuation of behaviours that were all too apparent long before Mr Trump showed any interest in embarking on a development here.
 
“No-one should ever have thought bringing Mr Trump to the north-east would be good for our reputation in the world. He was always going to be an embarrassment, not an asset.”
Cllr Paul Johnston said:

“Mr Trump and his golf course have been a divisive issue in the north-east for far too long. At last, it looks as though there is broad agreement; sooking up to Mr Trump was a terrible mistake.

“We need to learn lessons from this unfortunate episode. Next time a dubious billionaire comes round making ridiculous promises, I hope attitudes will be different.”

Meanwhile, the petition to bar Mr Trump from entering the UK has already been signed by more than 550,000 people.
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Dec 112015
 

MartinFordatUTGWith thanks to Martin Ford.

Aberdeenshire councillor Martin Ford has welcomed the massive public support for the petition to block Donald J. Trump from entering the UK. Around 490,000 people had supported the petition by 23.00 on 10 December – making it the largest ever UK-government hosted
petition.
The petition was initiated by Aberdeen resident Suzanne Kelly.

Mr Trump’s recent remarks about Muslims are a potential breach of hate-speech laws, but are certainly highly prejudiced and have caused great offence.

Cllr Martin Ford said:

“The enormous public support for the petition to ban Mr Trump from the UK is a clear demonstration of just how many people see his recent comments as wholly unacceptable. While Mr Trump is routinely rude and grossly offensive, some of his election speeches have crossed the line into incitement of bigotry and racism. And though it seems unlikely, this is a man who could become leader of the world’s most powerful nation.”

Cllr Ford is the councillor whose casting vote saw Aberdeenshire Council decide to refuse planning permission for Donald Trump’s proposed golf resort at Menie in 2007. Councillors supportive of Mr Trump then removed Cllr Ford from his position of chair of the Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee 13 days later.

Cllr Ford said:

“Mr Trump’s recent comments have, rightly, attracted strong criticism from all sides. It’s now hard to find anyone who admits to supporting him.

“Clearly, times have changed. Even local North-east politicians, who would previously never criticise Mr Trump, have stopped backing him.”

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Dec 092015
 

With thanks to Martin Ford.

cllr-ford-with-michael-forbes

Two Aberdeenshire councillors have welcomed the decisions to strip businessman Donald J. Trump of an honorary degree and his ‘Global Scot’ status.

Following intense public pressure, the Scottish Government has agreed to revoke Mr Trump’s appointment as a ‘Global Scot’ business ambassador.

Meanwhile, Robert Gordon University has taken back the honorary degree it awarded to Mr Trump in 2010.

Aberdeenshire councillor Martin Ford said:

“I welcome the long overdue decisions to revoke Mr Trump’s honorary degree and Global Scot appointment.

“He should never have been considered appropriate for either of these things.

“Mr Trump’s behaviour in Aberdeenshire has been appalling ever since he announced his plans for a development here. Mr Trump is neither an appropriate role model for students, nor a suitable person to represent Scotland – or the USA.”

Cllr Nan Cullinane said:

“I am relieved the university has revoked his honorary degree. It was a mistake to give it to him in the first place.

“I hope the UK Government bans him from the country for his shocking comments.”

Martin Ford joined the thousands who signed the petitions to block Donald J. Trump from UK entry and to ask Robert Gordon University to revoke the honorary degree it awarded to Mr Trump in 2010.

Both petitions were initiated by Aberdeen resident Suzanne Kelly.
Cllr Ford is the councillor whose casting vote saw Aberdeenshire Council decide to refuse planning permission for Donald Trump’s proposed golf resort at Menie in 2007.
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