Understanding Trump


The latest tantrums of Donald trump over the proposal to site wind turbines off the Aberdeenshire coast received a lot of publicity in the news this last week. Mike Small reflects on some of this in the Guardian yesterday. I don’t wish to dwell on the man other than to observe that it has been my long-standing view that this project would end in tears on a rock of hubris and recrimination.

The immediate impetus for this blog was a tweet from Mike Russell (@Feorlean), Scottish Government Minister and MSP for Argyll and Bute. Earlier today, he wrote,

“At opening of superbly restored Ugadale Hotel at Macrihanish. Private investment with public support creates new opportunities for Kintyre.”

Here’s what I wrote about Ugadale Hotel and associated developments in a recent report.

“I will start by telling you a story about a golf course build in spectacular dunes on the wild Scottish coast. It was financed by a wealthy American and designed by a famous golf architect. The course is the only one in the UK to have been built wholly within a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and, working with Scottish Natural Heritage, the designers have created a remarkable course, built by hand which enhances the wildlife of the site. Over the 259 acres of the course, a mere 7 were disturbed during the construction. The owners are investing in a local hotel in the nearby town and have been welcomed by the local community. The course is the first 18 hole golf course in the UK to receive certification by GEO, the Golf Environment Organisation who described it as the ‘world’s most natural golf course’ and an ‘exemplar of sustainable golf course management, going beyond what is required to produce an excellent links golfing experience.’

Welcome to Machrihanish Dunes in Kintyre.”

This was written in 2011 as the preamble to my 12,500 investigative report (available here) into Donald Trump’s golf development in Aberdeenshire.

Put simply, it was not only perfectly possible to have done things differently at Menie – it had already been done at Machrihanish (brief description here). Most particularly, there is no need to destroy an SSSI to build a golf course. At Menie, the justification was the economic benefits from the wider hotel and housing development. Trump has now made clear his intention to abandon this if the windfarm goes ahead. This brings the planning system into disrepute (Trump is not under any obligation to deliver the alleged benefits that justified destroying an SSSI) and one day it might be useful to know why more attention was not paid to the precedent being set in Kintyre.

Meanwhile, I invite readers to compare and contrast.


Trump International Golf Links