Sep 262019

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.

The Bunker.

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.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Sep 242019

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.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Feb 242017

With thanks to Banffshire & Buchan Coast SNP.

Tory councillors in the North-east of Scotland have rejected plans to offer businesses rates relief for the second time in under a week – after the Tory-led Moray administration recently threw out an SNP amendment encouraging the Moray Council to follow Aberdeenshire’s lead in offering local business rates relief.

SNP councillors in Aberdeenshire last week passed a budget allocating £3 million for a local business rates relief scheme, to help those that have seen larger rates revaluations and are feeling the effects of the downturn in the north east economy.

SNP councillors in Moray had tabled an amendment to the Tory-led budget in Moray suggesting a similar scheme, but this was rejected by Tory councillors, including part-time-MSP-come-referee-come-councillor Douglas Ross.

On the same day as Ruth Davidson has reportedly stated that businesses are “staring down the barrel of a gun” due to changes to business rates, the actions of Tory councillors clearly demonstrated they are more interested in opportunistic soundbites rather than providing firms with meaningful support when they have the powers to do so.

Commenting, SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast, Stewart Stevenson, said:

“This is quite astonishing from the Tory-led administration in Moray. They have not stopped criticising the Scottish Government for the changes to business rates, yet they refuse to use the powers that they have at a local level to provide firms with meaningful support.

“It is clear that Ruth Davidson’s Tories are only interested in scoring political points rather than actually providing any support to the businesses they have claimed to support in recent weeks.

“Voters across Moray and Aberdeenshire aren’t daft, and they’ll have seen Douglas Ross and others leading the chorus against changes to businesses rates, before he voted today to prevent businesses from receiving substantial support. Their opposition has been proven to be nothing more than crocodile tears.

“The Tories ought to be ashamed of themselves – and their actions won’t be forgotten by voters in Aberdeenshire, Moray and beyond when they go to the polls in May.”

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.

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

Dec 192014

YouthCouncilacycThmWith thanks to Michael Hutchison.

Welcoming the news the news that David Cameron and Nicola Sturgeon will work together to ensure that 16 and 17 year olds get the vote in time for the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections, Aberdeen City Youth Council Chair, Rebecca Lindsay has commented:
“This is a significant step forward for votes at 16 in all elections.”

“I am delighted that 16 and 17 year olds will have their say in Scottish and Local elections from 2016 onwards.

“There is still however still work to be done to ensure that the voting age is lowered in UK and European elections. The referendum saw young people engage and turnout in amazing numbers and helped us to get to where we are now. We need to see this as an opportunity to do that again and win the vote in all elections.

“This campaign has united the five parties at Holyrood and has seen the First Minister and Prime Minister find common ground. Votes at 16 is a cause people are rallying around and I hope that will continue.”

Martin Close, who will get a vote in 2016 elections if the proposals go ahead, added:

“I was very grateful to be one of the many 16 year olds in Scotland who gained the vote for the referendum earlier this year.

“If it is decided not to lower the voting age then I will be one of the many young people who would not be able to vote in the 2016 Holyrood Elections. It seems strange that I would be allowed to vote on such a huge matter for Scotland’s future but not get to vote in a normal election for parliament.” “Young people have shown that we are more than capable of taking on the responsibility of voting.

“It is very important that young people are given the opportunity to vote in every single election which affects our lives.”

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Sep 122014

By Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford.

Eilidh Whiteford MP Peterhead Harbour (1)

It was back to London for me this week as the long Westminster recess came to an end. I was pleased to find it’s still warm and sunny there, even if Summer seems to have abandoned us here in the North-east. As well as parliament catching up on events that have developed over the break, we also passed the second reading of a pensions bill that will give those with occupational pensions more flexibility when they retire.

I’ve been talking a lot about pensions in recent weeks. As I’ve been out chapping doors ahead of the Referendum, I’ve been reassuring pensioners that their State Pensions will be paid on time and in full in the event of a Yes vote, administered from offices in Dundee and Motherwell, just as they are at the moment.

I’ve been reminding them that their entitlement is based on their contributions record – not where they choose to live. Many thousands of pensioners go off to live in Spain and France nowadays, but all receive their pensions, because they worked for it, and I welcome the confirmation from the UK Pensions Minister that state pensions are secure regardless of the outcome of the Referendum.

But in Scotland we can do better. We spend a lower proportion of our GDP on pensions than the rest of the UK, and life expectancy lags stubbornly behind the UK average. A Scottish pensioner retiring in 2016 will, on average, receive £10,000 less in pension over their lifetime than pensioners elsewhere in the UK.

That’s one reason why we need to tailor pensions to Scotland’s circumstances and look again at whether we really need to raise the pension age beyond 67, as the UK plans to do. Control of our economy would also give us the levers to address the longer term demographic challenges faced by all Western countries with low birthrates and aging populations.

Scotland’s relative economic strength means that we are better placed to ensure that our citizens enjoy a dignified retirement with a secure income in old age.

We can afford to do things differently, and a Yes vote in September will allow us to do just that.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.

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

Sep 122014

SaltireJack2By Fin Hall – Writer Photographer, Realist.

I am rapidly approaching my 62nd birthday; in fact by the time that I cast my vote on the 18th of September, that milestone will have passed.
My views on independence has never changed since I first was eligible to put a cross on my first voting paper. It has always been an easy choice to be a yes voter.

When I was 18 I voluntarily joined the army, not any of the Scottish regiments, that would involve too much, hard, physical work, but The Royal Signals, as a radio operator.

When I was filling out my application form, two things rankled me. One was the fact that it was not permissible to put the word ‘atheist’ in the box for my religion. The other being, that I wasn’t allowed to enter ‘Scottish’ in the section reserved for nationality.

I have never been anti-English, nor, on the other hand, have I ever been a Braveheart style nationalist. Both of these options are narrow minded, and potentially dangerous characteristics.

Not long after enlisting, there was an election of some sorts in Aberdeen. I remember getting my dad to vote by proxy for me, something I don’t believe one can do now. This is where I am not sure of my facts, but spurred on by the application form, I seem to recall getting him to vote for the SNP candidate. I am not sure who that would have been, but it was the start of the road to where I am now.

In the seventies when Jim Callaghan’s Labour Government ( remember them? Real labour) cheated us out of our right to devolution, by stating that we needed to get at least 46% of the population to cast their vote for the victory to be assured, I was devastated that our proud people, couldn’t drag themselves along to the polling stations in the appropriate numbers.

Fast forward to Tony Blair and his New Labour posse riding into town and delivering the promised, no strings attached, devolution referendum, the result of which is the position we find ourselves in just now. Getting the chance to decide our own future, hopefully the chance to stand on our own two, or should I say five million feet in a few weeks.

There are many reasons why I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone, I mean anyone, could even consider not voting to be 100% in complete control of their own lives, whilst still being in a close relationship with their partner.

Scotland is not, and never will be a third world country. We have no need to have to go cap in hand to Westminster, no need for charitable aid donations.

Technology has advanced in leaps and bounds since then, and will develop even further in the future

We have vast oil resources, and despite the fact that Alistair Darling and David Cameron call it ‘volatile’ and that it will run out eventually, I always argue the fact that they have had oil in the a Gulf of Mexico area since 19th century and in the Middle East since somewhere in the middle of the 29th century.

I realise it is different geological circumstances, but it shows no sign of running out there.

I have been hearing this in Aberdeen since it first started coming ashore in the seventies.

Technology has advanced in leaps and bounds since then, and will develop even further in the future, meaning it will be possible to get even more out. Never mind the Clair Ridge recent discovery. So why is it volatile here and not in other parts of the world? How come our oil-sharing neighbours, Norway, aren’t tearing their hair out worrying about the successful country they are?

I have friends that continuously spout out about supporting local businesses as opposed to putting money into the pockets of the multi-nationals, and then support the Better Together side of things, not getting the irony in what they are doing and saying.

By forever being beholden to a power other than our own is like living at home as an adult, in a great, well paying job, handing over all your salary to your mum, getting some pocket money back, and still having to do your own laundry and make your own tea.

In my day job, or should I say my afternoon and evening job, I am a self employed taxi driver. I have been for 37 years, and all but one of non Scottish people I have had in my cab, and discussed the referendum, have stated that they would have voted yes, or will vote yes, for those eligible.

None of them can understand why any one would vote no. They just don’t get it. In fact one Indian guy stated that independence is in their blood from birth.

The one who said she was voting no was a young English born girl of Romanian descent. Her reason was that when Romania became a free country, it didn’t fare well to start with.

this isn’t set up to be a slight on our southern neighbours, but more showing our standing in the world

I asked her if she had the chance back then, would she have voted to remain under the control, effectively of USSR? She thought I was asking a stupid, irrelevant question. Totally failing to get the point, that, because of the fall of the aforesaid communist empire, she wouldn’t necessarily be free and here in Scotland just now.

I have travelled to well over 30 different countries, and generally what happens is, that locals ask if you are English; when you point out to them that you are Scottish, a smile as wide as the Firth of Forth come across their countenance.

This happened to us in August in Northern a France, when in a pizza restaurant ( don’t ask, it was all that was open) when the owner came over and introduced himself to us, and asked that very question. When we told him we were Scottish, he apologised, and got even more friendlier.

Now this isn’t set up to be a slight on our southern neighbours, but more showing our standing in the world, despite the Better Together campaigners saying we are only good because we are conjoined to England via the Westminster umbilical cord. And despite the Better Together rampagers spreading fear and loathing about currency, our pound, pensions, (safe) health service. ( safe unless Westminster cuts funding, which they could do) and other spurious tittle tattle,every day more people are turning our way.

We are a rich and diverse country fill of artists, inventors, discoverers etc. By saying that, I am not implying that we are unique in such a thing, there are many countries the same. The only difference is that they are independent and stand and fall on their own choice, unlike us, who have the burden of paying the price of Westminster’s failings and bullying.

I am voting yes because I come from a proud country, and would like to leave the future totally in the hands of our own decisions, so my grand children and my soon to be born great grand daughter, and for generations to come, can be proud that we, Scotland the Brave, made the right decision, for the right reasons, and not immediately thinking of the penny in our pocket at thus precise moment, and not because we were fearful of being ejected from the EU the rest of the UK may vote to stay in anyway, and not because we hate anyone, but because we are a nation ready for independence and have no wish to still live with our parents, paying our board and living off handouts .

We are not a third world country, but a globally successful one.

Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.

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

Jun 102014



Vote 1 – Review of Community Councils Scheme


Councillor Ford, seconded by Councillor Johnston, moved approval of the arrangements for a review of the Scheme for Community Councils, the revised scheme to offer Community Councils devolved budget and decision making from the Council, subject to appropriate governance safeguards and Community Councils opting for the additional responsibilities.


Councillor K L Clark, seconded by Councillor Kitts-Hayes, moved approval of the arrangements for a review of the Scheme for Community Councils as set out in the report.


The members of the Council voted:-


for the motion                                 (3)            Councillors Ford, Johnston and D Stewart.


for the amendment                       (59)            Councillors Agnew, Aitchison, A J Allan, Argyle, Bellarby, Bews, Blackett, A Buchan, C Buchan, Carr, Chapman, Christie, G Clark, K Clark, L Clark, Cowling, Cox, Cullinane, Davidson, Dick, J Duncan, S Duncan, Evison, Farquhar, Findlater, Gardiner, Grant, Gray, Hendry, Hood, Howatson, Ingleby, Ingram, Kitts-Hayes, Latham, Lonchay, McKail, McRae, Merson, Mollison, Nelson, Norrie, Oddie, Owen, Partridge, Pirie, Pratt, Robertson, Ross, Roy, Shand, N Smith, S Smith, Strathdee, B Stuart, Tait, Thomson, Vernal and Webster.


declined to vote                              (2)            Councillors Topping and Walker.

Jun 062014

1656206_672162342847660_436365328_nWith thanks to Paul Robertson. 

Banff & Buchan campaigners for independence have thanked visitors following a good turnout at a Yes Coffee Morning in Macduff on Saturday, May 31.

Dozens of residents turned out to ask questions, speak to political representatives, and learn more about the benefits of independence for Scotland at the event in Buchan Street Hall.

Among those in attendance was local Yes campaigner Ross Cassie, who welcomed the turnout and said that momentum was now clearly with the campaign for a Yes vote.

He said:

“It was a great day with a fantastic turnout. Many people who have not previously engaged in the political process are energised by the debate we are having just now. There were a lot of undecided people who came to find out the truth – and the truth is that Scotland is uniquely well equipped to be a successful, independent country.

“We will be heading out around Banff and Buchan in the weeks ahead to make sure that undecided voters get the answers they want and the information they need to cast a Yes vote for an independent Scotland on 18 September.”

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Oct 182013

With thanks to Alexander Henderson of the Aberdeen Yes campaign.

Blair Jenkins - Peter McNally

Blair Jenkins, head of the Yes campaign.

The 24th of October marks the intensification of the referendum debate in Aberdeen with the first visit of a major name to the Granite City.

Blair Jenkins, head of the Yes campaign, comes to the city to put forward his vision and opinion on the positive, inclusive vision of Scotland a Yes vote in September 2014 could deliver.

Blair will give a short address before opening the floor to questions from the audience.

This event provides a unique opportunity for the public to put their questions and concerns to the very top man in the Yes campaign.

For those unsure or sceptical about the advantages of a Yes vote in September next year this is a great opportunity to come along and listen to and discuss with Blair a whole range of topics including defence, welfare, the economy and much more.

The event begins at 19.30 in the MacRobert Lecture Theatre at Aberdeen University.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.