By Suzanne Kelly.
On one side of the pond people are waking up to the shenanigans of the Trump empire.
Donald J Trump is being impeached with some six congressional committees looking at a myriad of potentially serious crimes he’s committed.
In Aberdeenshire however, where – despite ‘oversight’ by planners two SSSI sites were irreparably damaged at Menie – the council voted today 38-24 in favour of him building 550 homes.
David Milne, Menie Estate resident, issued an impassioned, logically and legally compelling video days ago as to why the permission should not be given.
“Overall, it’s devastating.” he told Aberdeen Voice.
Hundreds have watched it so far – it can be found here:
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.
Read more about the Bunker here:
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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