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Not the finest hour

Brian Taylor | 16:38 UK time, Thursday, 13 December 2007

All in all, not the first minister’s finest hour in the Holyrood chamber. Indeed, notably uncomfortable as he faced persistent questioning over the Trump golf resort application.

To recap, the plan affects Alex Salmond’s own Holyrood constituency. He is therefore barred from intervening as first minister. As a minister, he cannot comment either in favour or against the plan.

The scheme was rejected by an Aberdeenshire Council committee on the casting vote of that committee’s convener.

Mr Salmond subsequently met representatives from the Trump organisation at their request, at the Marcliffe Hotel in Aberdeen where the Trump team has based itself. Mr Salmond says he was duty-bound, as a local MSP, to respond to that request.

The following day, the application was called in by the Scottish Government for decision. Mr Salmond is adamant he played no part in calling in the application and did not know such a move was happening.

It has now emerged that the Scottish Government’s chief planner, Jim Mackinnon, made a call to the chief executive of Aberdeenshire Council while members of the Trump team were in the room with him at government HQ.

Alan Campbell, the council chief exec, requested that the Trump team leave the room.

In a further, separate call, a couple of hours later, Mr Mackinnon informed Mr Campbell that the planning application was being called in.

In response to the BBC, the Government’s media office initially denied there had been a call with Team Trump in the room.
That statement was, they say, inadvertently mistaken.

Equally, Aberdeenshire Council clarified their position to stress there were two calls - but hours apart.

The first call was about procedure. It was only during the second call - with the Trump team long gone - that the question of call-in was raised.

See elsewhere on this site for reports on the full controversy.

Politically, what is happening?

Does Labour welcome a diversion from the controversy over Wendy Alexander’s campaign funding? Yes - although the lead in the chamber today was taken by the Tories and, most sharply, by the Liberal Democrats (who claimed to detect a whiff of sleaze.)

Perhaps Ms Alexander didn’t feel entirely ready, just yet, to challenge the FM on issues of probity.

Is it right that Mr Salmond should be pursued on this issue? Yes.

It is parliament’s role to subject government ministers to scrutiny. Further, it is claimed that the controversy itself may jeopardise the project by opening an avenue to legal challenge.

It is up to Alex Salmond and his government colleagues to provide answers. They accuse their opponents of “inaccuracy and innuendo” and of “scraping the bottom of the barrel.”

Are others under scrutiny? Yes. John Swinney took the decision to call in the project. He is now being questioned over a visit he paid to the Trump Westchester golf village in the USA on Monday 3 December.

The government points out that Mr Swinney was there attending the first regional conference of the Globalscot network in New York, which was held at Westchester.

He didn’t meet anyone from Trump. He has never met anyone from Trump.

As of tonight, that is where we are. Opposition critics believe the rules have been bent. The government insists that correct procedure has been followed by all, including the first minister.

Comments

  • 1.
  • At 05:01 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • iain morrison wrote:

So where are we? Wee Nic sniffs sleaze, well he is very close to Bendy and his party is still in reciept of money from a convicted fraudster.

Eck as wee Joke did before him has met with people intrested in investing £1billion in Scotland - He should be fired if he didn't. Is there any suggestion from anyone, that any member of the government has personally benifited in any way from this - thought not.

The real question is why are thes Unionist muppets jepordising a project that has the overwhelming support of the electorate, to try to score cheap political points - disgracful.

  • 2.
  • At 05:08 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Ciaran Austin wrote:

Surely the real issue is why ministers seek to use planning powers, which ought to be in the hands of local authorities, to threaten to overturn a decision taken by local representatives.

Incidentally, just because someone has £1 billion it doesn't mean that we have to do what they want. Or is that now the latest example of the "four legs good, two legs better" politics of Alex Salmond?

People have every right to ask what ministers' motivations are.

Oh, and by the way, I don't think the SNP have much to write home about when it comes to money. They opposed the changes in the law because they got so much foreign cash.

  • 3.
  • At 05:11 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Stewart wrote:

#1

Just the unionists scraping the barrel to try and dock points off the best leader scotland has ever had since devoution.

  • 4.
  • At 05:14 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Colin McDonald wrote:

Maybe I'm missing something, but I just don't get what is so sleazy about this.

Huge investment plans for Scotland, FM talks with the parties involved.

There seems to be no suggestion of brown envelopes, back handers or as #1 put it any personal benefit for the FM or other ministers. Therefore the only likely beneficiary of this is the people of Scotland and our economy.

  • 5.
  • At 05:15 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Bedd Gelert wrote:

Fine work, Mr Taylor !! This deserves far closer investigation.

  • 6.
  • At 05:22 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • interested by-stander wrote:

I cannot see where "sleaze" comes in.

Has Salmond acted corruptly? Well, no. Has the SNP taken a contribution from Trump?-No. Has the government acted within its powers and within the law?, well yes.Did Trump pay for Swinney's hotel room? No.

So where is the "sleaze" please Mr Stephen?

Has anyone in fact broken any rule or law?

I think it legitimate to have a view, one way or the other, on the merits of this project but I do not think suggesting dishonesty or corruption without having any evidence of the same is at all appropriate in political debate.

  • 7.
  • At 05:22 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Simon L wrote:

I actually think if Salmond just came out and said "the Trump deal goes through" that people would be fine with it. Public opinion is so heavily in favour of it that it was a joke that the council rejected the plan in the first place. The North of Scotland drastically needs something that will help save it from the fact that it increasingly feels like places like Aberdeen are great cities, but cities in the middle of nowhere, isolated from the rest of Scotland.

If this Trump thing is the best the opposition parties have to bother the SNP government over, then Scottish politics truly is a farce. Oh wait, that already was the case the day a great first minister in Henry McLeish was forced to resign. Bomb countries illegally and get a nice job when you retire - run your country effectively except for filling in a couple of forms, be banished to political obscurity.

The opposition parties really do belong in opposition, and matters like this prove it. Scotland and Aberdeen welcomes Mr. Trump with open arms.

  • 8.
  • At 05:23 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Malcolm wrote:

The government told lies to the BBC. In a previous life - when they were the Opposition - the SNP sympathisers at 1) and 2) would presumably have been outraged at government lies

  • 9.
  • At 05:23 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Richard Johnson wrote:

Politicians seem to have been scrapped together from the bottom of the same sleaze barrel the world over.

The people of Scotland should look at Mr. Trump’s history here in Palm Beach County Florida before anyone approves any action by Mr. Trump. He has a history of bullying to get what he wants no matter what the consequences for the people of an area.

  • 10.
  • At 05:28 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • will wrote:

I am no great fan of Alex Salmond or the Nationalists, but if Salmond says he stuck to the letter of the ministerial code that's good enough for me. He is too canny a politician to do otherwise.

The real issue in this debate is the way local politicians have been usurped (and removed). OK, I think the decision not to go ahead was a bad one, but it was made by democratically elected local representatives acting under powers delegated by the local authority. I am not sure a good precedent has been set in recalling this decision

  • 11.
  • At 05:32 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Nick Lyon wrote:

Salmond cannot win - no matter what he does the unionist gang of three will take the opposite position in order to score cheap political points. As we have seen with their launch of the constitutional convention they do not do things for the good of the country but to further their own interest and score political points against the Scottish government.

Why do they not just force another election - if they have such a problem with everything that the SNP tries to do.

  • 12.
  • At 05:34 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Mark Langan wrote:

Alex Salmond looked 'uncomfortable' because unlike New Labour MSPs he, and his party, actually have a conscience - so when he is accused, wrongly, of impropriety he seems uneasy. Contrast this with Wendy Alexander's brazen responses to her, undoubted, impropriety in accepting illegal donations from non-UK residents.

Perhaps if the Scottish Parliament is to become fiscally independent we should apply that same principle of fiscal independence to Scottish Parliamentary elections in which case only voters elligible to vote in that ballot would be able to donate to political parties competing.

Perhaps then the true support of the Scottish parties would be better represented in electoral funding.

  • 13.
  • At 05:36 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Matt Taylor wrote:

#1 What exactly is your evidence that this is a "project that has the overwhelming support of the electorate" ?

Or was that just some more of the empty rhetoric that appears to be par for the present administration's course ?

  • 14.
  • At 05:38 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • John Lochee wrote:

Qoute from post 2
"Ciaran Austin wrote:
Surely the real issue is why ministers seek to use planning powers, which ought to be in the hands of local authorities, to threaten to overturn a decision taken by local representatives."

Surely the real issue is why a small local authority can be allowed to prevent a billion pounds worth of investment from taking place?

Changes to the law need to take place so that this never threatens to jepordise any future inward investment.
There should be a ceiling imposed on local councils based on both the amount being invested, and the significant increase in employment opportunities that can arise when these rare moments occur. Then local authorities could decide on local developments, and be fully consulted by ministers when ministers decide on nationally significant developments.

I just hope that this huge opportunity is not scuppered as a result, Irish eyes are watching this space very closely!

  • 15.
  • At 05:39 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Brian wrote:

The most obvious point missed in this whole attempted smear proces is that Alex Salmond is the one being negatively affected by the parliamentary requirement to debarr himself from the debate AND to not be allowed to speak on the matter.

An MSP, who is not FIRST MINISTER, while being be debarred from voting or participating in the decision making process, would still be ALLOWED to comment and speak openly about his or her position on the application. There is no rule against comment only against participating or voting in the process.

As FIRST MINISTER, Alex Salmond has been advised to not comment publicly for or against so as to not create any perceptions of bias that could affect the office of FIRST MINISTER. He is the first FIRST MINISTER to follow that advice. McConnell not only did not follow the advice, he hired a helicopter to take Trump's representatives on a tour of the site.

Alex Salmond has strictly followed the legal advice given despite the obvious advantages on not following that advice. He could have ignored the advice, as it is only an opinion, and involved himself in the debate. He chose not to. He could have taken a public position that would garner him enormous support and VOTES in his own constituency. He chose not to do so. He could have followed the path of the First Minister of Northern Ireland and lobbied hard for the project, but he chose to not do so.

His actions have consistently placed the position of FIRST MINISTER above that of Alex Salmond, MSP.

That is called Leadership, Integrity and Accountability.

  • 16.
  • At 05:39 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Harry Shanks wrote:

#2

Ciran Austin

The decision to reject the Trump development was NOT representative of the Council's position - it was representative primarily of the Lib Dem Chairman of the Planning Cttee's personal agenda, who used his casting vote to reject the plan.

When the project was subsequently put to the full Council there was an overwhelming majority in favour.

I really don't care who phoned who and who was hiding up the chimney when the phone rang - the point is the Council want this development and the vaast majority of the voters want this development.

This whole non-story emanates from those people seeking to divert attention - the Lib Dems - who put the whole project in jeopardy when their placeman put his own prejuice before the wider interests of the community, aided and abetted by the Tories and the Labour Party (who both know all about sleaze).

Nothing to see here, move on please.


  • 17.
  • At 06:01 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

I think it's the SNP who are the Muppets. This development would send a message out to the whole world that Scotland is so skint that it will allow any development regardless of the damage it does to the landscape. Over 1000 homes on an area a 3rd of which is of "special scientific interest". A development like this would stand no chance in Norway or Finland, Austria or Switzerland. The SNP have lost my confidence and I now regret they ever got my vote. I also find it astounding that they believe the $1billion dollar figure!

  • 18.
  • At 06:18 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Bill wrote:

All this sniping at the most forward looking Government we have had for years does the Unionists no good at all.If they think this worse than admitted law breaking the people will remeber at the next Election.Why not force one now?

  • 19.
  • At 06:29 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • John McNab wrote:

Fine work indeed Mr Taylor, this should be investigated. Well, that is to say the compliant media endeavouring to keep the poor New New Labour parties catalogue of spin, cheating, deception and criminal fraud from the front pages, should be investigated. Perhaps if the WENDY had been in Mr Darwin's canoe we'd still remember her...

  • 20.
  • At 06:43 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • A, Aberdeen wrote:

Ciran,

You are mistaken - EIGHT people voted against the proposed development, not just the chair of the infrastructure committee. Local planning processes are long and considered, and developments are not simply rejected on the basis of the opinion of one councillor. The proposal fell so short of the planning requirements that it wasn't even considered for amendments as it was - it was outright rejection.

I disagree that most voters here want the development. The local media portay a situation where most locals are in favour of the development but I don't believe this to be true. The local newspaper (P&J) ran an online poll and the majority of voters were against the development. Not reported. Yet two days later the sister 'paper' ran a huge headline 'YOU BACK TRUMP', citing the results of another rapid poll. Their pro-Trump stance has only added to the pressure on the council. And now because locals believe all the media hype (and most of it appears to be based on opinion, not fact), councillors are making decisions based on popular opinion instead of the correct planning procedures.

Realistically, this development will not result in sustainable development for Aberdeenshire. Any jobs left over after the building of the unaffordable houses will be sparse and limited - for on-site hotel, bar work and golf caddies in an area with enviably low unemployment already? If the Disneylandish plans (look at the plans on the net to see) brought increased tourism, it would increase air traffic and carbon emissions (and yet Trump claims to be a great environmentalist...).

As for all the hidden goings on that are now being revealed by the government, this just increases suspicion that they will approve the plans regardless of local planning procedures. Yes, the government is bending the rules - every time Team Trump use bullying tactics or he makes another threat. Yesterday the chair of the infrastructure committee lost his job - for simply carrying out his job in the correct way. Are our government politicians doing the same?

  • 21.
  • At 06:44 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • A, Aberdeen wrote:

Ciran,

You are mistaken - EIGHT people voted against the proposed development, not just the chair of the infrastructure committee. Local planning processes are long and considered, and developments are not simply rejected on the basis of the opinion of one councillor. The proposal fell so short of the planning requirements that it wasn't even considered for amendments as it was - it was outright rejection.

I disagree that most voters here want the development. The local media portay a situation where most locals are in favour of the development but I don't believe this to be true. The local newspaper (P&J) ran an online poll and the majority of voters were against the development. Not reported. Yet two days later the sister 'paper' ran a huge headline 'YOU BACK TRUMP', citing the results of another rapid poll. Their pro-Trump stance has only added to the pressure on the council. And now because locals believe all the media hype (and most of it appears to be based on opinion, not fact), councillors are making decisions based on popular opinion instead of the correct planning procedures.

Realistically, this development will not result in sustainable development for Aberdeenshire. Any jobs left over after the building of the unaffordable houses will be sparse and limited - for on-site hotel, bar work and golf caddies in an area with enviably low unemployment already? If the Disneylandish plans (look at the plans on the net to see) brought increased tourism, it would increase air traffic and carbon emissions (and yet Trump claims to be a great environmentalist...).

As for all the hidden goings on that are now being revealed by the government, this just increases suspicion that they will approve the plans regardless of local planning procedures. Yes, the government is bending the rules - every time Team Trump use bullying tactics or he makes another threat. Yesterday the chair of the infrastructure committee lost his job - for simply carrying out his job in the correct way. Are our government politicians doing the same?

  • 22.
  • At 06:44 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Ba Bru wrote:

#8, Malcolm.

"The government told lies to the BBC"

Speaking to them in their own language, then.

"SNP Trump move 'smells of sleaze'"

What does this headline suggest and what does it have in common with every other that provides an opportunity for the BBC to fulfil it's duty as the propaganda wing of Westminster?

I've been listening to the BBC since just after WWII. I can't believe what's happened to what once was the greatest broadcasting service in the world.

Sad, sickened and angry to the point that I fully intend to refuse payment of any license fee, nor shall I pay any fine imposed by a system that would criminalise me for choosing not to watch a TV channel that has become an open insult to every citizen of a beleaguered democracy.

  • 23.
  • At 06:49 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Anne Maria Rennie wrote:

I understand the Councilor that cast the deciding vote against this development has been sacked. A councilor can not be sacked, please look at the guide line governing this from any council.

I would still like an answer.

HOW MUCH PUBLIC MONEY is likely to go towards this project?

"Inward Investment" is a euphemism for Economic Colonialism.

The message is plain enough, and we have ignored it for too long:
the great, centralized economic entities of our time do not come into
rural places in order to improve them by "creating jobs." They come
to take as much of value as they can take, as cheaply and as quickly
as they can take it. They are interested in "job creation" only so
long as the jobs can be done more cheaply by humans than by
machines. They are not interested in good health--economic or
natural or human--of any place on this earth.
Wendell Berry

We should be very wary of who we bribe to come and exploit us.

"It is well understood that nothing so excites the glands of a free-market capitalist as the offer of a government subsidy."
-- Wendell Berry, in "Conserving Forest Communities"
http://home.btconnect.com/tipiglen/berryfc.html

Welcome to the Third World.

Count your fingers!
Slainte
ed

  • 25.
  • At 06:50 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Claire wrote:

Finally! The SNP and Salmond are being exposed for what they truly are ... SLEAZE!

They won Scotland on sleaze and now the reasons why that is dangerous are beginning to show!

  • 26.
  • At 06:51 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Matt Taylor wrote:

A couple more thoughts:

1. Since this is a project of over-whelming national importance how come the national electorate never got to vote - or are we just taking a minority SNP administration as proxy for that?

2. Why is private US investment so much more attractive than public UK investment?

Mull = Disney's new Highland Fling theme park anyone...

  • 27.
  • At 06:53 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Rob Anderson wrote:

Surely I'm not the only one to have had my eyes opened recently to how very extreme the media bias in favour of Labour in Scotland has become since the May election. How telling that they blame Alex Salmond and the SNP for their fall from grace, when really it stems from their own greed and duplicity.

I don't particularly want independence, but now feel that we need a different party in power at Holyrood than that which is in power at Westminster. It's a guarantee that Scottish politicians are going to be demanding the best for Scotland.

Why the Scottish media cannot see this is beyond me - perhaps they just need more time to catch up!

  • 28.
  • At 06:54 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • A Martin wrote:

It would be criminal if this 1bn development didn't go ahead. Thank god the SNP called the application in. It's a relief to have a government with Scotland's best interests in mind. I'm convinced Trump's project has the overwhelming support of the Aberdeen people and the rest of Scotland. It's typical of the Lib Dems and Labour to ignore the wishes of the Scottish electorate in an attempt to discredit Alex Salmond. In my view both of these parties are anti Scottish. No wonder they were booted out on May 3rd.

  • 29.
  • At 07:15 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Stewart wrote:

I watched FMQs, saw the indignation of Goldie and Stephen and was left bemused of what they were actually accusing the Government of.

It is also worth pointing out that when Wendy's donation hit the headlines not a single Liberal Democrat MSP mentioned this yet when Alex Salmond meets representatives of a project in his constituency they bandy the word "sleaze" around. They've now shown themselves to be utterly irrelevant in politics.

As I see it Alex Salmond is accused of meeting with representatives of someone who is wishing to invest in his constituency. In fact in all this Alex Salmond is copying what Nicol Stephen did last year. Is Nicol Stephen accusing himself of "sleaze"?

When pointed out at FMQs today that Alex Salmond met with representatives of opponents to this project Annabelle Goldie's reaction was basically so what. It doesn't fit in with the smear they wish to throw at the First Minister. Just like the "secret" meeting that was followed by a press statement, used by the local press but ignored by the national media and even a local politician like Nicol Stephen until they needed something to hit the Government with.

Now they are trying to damage John Swinney because he once stayed at a Trump Hotel. Unlike Jack McConnell who actually met the man and gave him guarantees that this would go through.

The reality is in trying to damage this Government and the first Minister (something they have been completely unable to do so far) they are actually damaging investment into this country. No wonder they are in opposition not in Government,

  • 30.
  • At 07:23 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • dave wrote:

Another non story trying to slate the goverment.

The media in scotland are totaly anti SNP and the people are starting to see this and are rejecting there views.

The best thing the SNP could do is let the goverment fall and let labour tories and libs run the contry. The effect would be that the scotish people would totaly reject them and elect more SNP candidates next time.

Any bets that labour tories and libs would tell Trump to Trump off?

  • 31.
  • At 07:35 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Ross McLean wrote:

The most glaring un-answered question today was one of Annabel Goldie's ones. She asked who issued the press release about Mr Salmond's meeting with the Trump people, the inference being: was it a publicly-funded government press officer or Mr Salmond's SNP-paid constituency press officer? This is key to whether the meeting was a constituency one or a government one. And he didn't answer.

  • 32.
  • At 07:35 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • w mcgregor wrote:

With all the talk about sleaze the reality boils down to finance as in most cases.
the new golf complex will only benefit Trump entourage and very few local people will reap any benefit. The houses planned are for the rich plus the larger houses are for the even more rich crew, no low cost housing for locals and a massive intrusion into the countryside.
Those that will rent the houses will only come for the golf and then depart without giving anything to the local community.
Back stabbing seams to be the forte, the planning officer is now fired and the government are involved so much for democracy. Let those appointed get on with the job.

  • 33.
  • At 07:44 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Keith, West Lothian wrote:

Like so many others here I too think this is a 'non story'.

Personally though I do not support the Trump plans and feel he has 'steam rollered' Aberdeenshire. I think the environment is of greater long term importance but accept that the people of Aberdeen are better qualified to comment than I am.

I welcome any investigation into this as it will clear wee Ec & Co any of any wrong doing. Apparantly 'mud sticks' even to the innocent but there is a real lack of mud here despite Annabel Goldie's best efforts to find some.

  • 34.
  • At 07:47 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • senga wrote:

I'm not bovvered !!!!!

  • 35.
  • At 07:48 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Julie wrote:

As an American living in Scotland and truly amazed at its natural beauty, I was quite disturbed to see Donald Trump trying to further fatten his already bursting wallet by destroying a beautiful ecological treasure. That man has wreaked enough havoc elsewhere. He is generally disliked and known for being a bully. His cry about his mother being a McLeod as a reason for him to go forward with his project, is a joke. If he really gave a hoot about Scotland and his heritage he would do something that didn't involve destroying it. I hope that Scotland will allow the decision that was already made, be adhered to, which would be to not allow this project. Whats next? A trump style casino on top of Ben Nevis?

  • 36.
  • At 07:50 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Alex Cox wrote:

The word 'Sleaze' should only ever be applied when there is a suggestion that individuals or political parties have benefitted in some way from third parties. As far as I can see, Salmond and the SNP stand accused of trying to bring a £1 billion development to Scotland - which, let's be honest, is their job. If this were a wind farm or an electronics factory and did not feature Mr Trump, would the small number of reactionaries who are up in arms right now be saying the same thing.

Nicol Stephen, hitherto silent on the actual sleaze perpetrated by the Labour party in recent weeks should be very careful - glass houses and all that. Just how much of Michael Brown's £2.4 million have they returned yet anyway? Now that's sleaze.

Also, the BBC website's headline of SNP Trump Plan Smells Of Sleaze shows that the corporation has a somewhat more cavalier approach to weasel words when reporting Holyrood politics than it would ever dare attempt when reporting on the Westminster village.

  • 37.
  • At 07:53 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • cailean wrote:

Why do you consistently reject my comments ?? I feel they are as relevant, indeed more so, than many of those you allow. Why??

  • 38.
  • At 07:53 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Kevin wrote:

Why won't Mr. Trump discuss the objections that interested (and trusted) parties like RSPB have so that a way forward can be found. As I hear it he refuses to accept any compromise.

  • 39.
  • At 07:53 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Alex Cox wrote:

The word 'Sleaze' should only ever be applied when there is a suggestion that individuals or political parties have benefitted in some way from third parties. As far as I can see, Salmond and the SNP stand accused of trying to bring a £1 billion development to Scotland - which, let's be honest, is their job. If this were a wind farm or an electronics factory and did not feature Mr Trump, would the small number of reactionaries who are up in arms right now be saying the same thing.

Nicol Stephen, hitherto silent on the actual sleaze perpetrated by the Labour party in recent weeks should be very careful - glass houses and all that. Just how much of Michael Brown's £2.4 million have they returned yet anyway? Now that's sleaze.

Also, the BBC website's headline of SNP Trump Plan Smells Of Sleaze shows that the corporation has a somewhat more cavalier approach to weasel words when reporting Holyrood politics than it would ever dare attempt when reporting on the Westminster village.

  • 40.
  • At 07:53 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Gareth Hay wrote:

Sleeze or no, the Trump development should get the go ahead. It would rejuvinate a dying community in the North East, and it is scandalous it even came close to being rejected.

  • 41.
  • At 07:58 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Kevin wrote:

Why won't Mr. Trump discuss the objections that interested (and trusted) parties like RSPB have so that a way forward can be found. As I hear it he refuses to accept any compromise.

  • 42.
  • At 08:15 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • john duguid wrote:

if the opposition say the governmenthave broken any rules then they have a duty to tell us.as a responsible opposition.

  • 43.
  • At 08:15 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • RTP wrote:

I have tried to find anything on the Wendy/gate thing in papers,radio,TV nothing wonder why,the Lab/Lib Tories should together put out a statement telling the world we don't want any investment in Scotland thats what it looks like to me.Why is the BBC so anti SNP in there reporting.I don't know the right figures but Lab/ Scotland spent more than they received in from there friend in Scotland where did the balance come from lets investigate that.

  • 44.
  • At 08:17 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Bryce Miller wrote:

Perhaps we should have a directly elected first minister, to help avoid these constituency/FM capacity sticky moments.

  • 45.
  • At 08:19 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • SALMONDWINSAGAIN wrote:

A SMALL storm in a mighty BIG teacup - Lib Dems, Tories, and ESPECIALLY Labour must be blind and deaf - which party kept sleazy, corrrupt ridden Labour in power in Scotland and which party took money in brown envelopes - was it SNP?????????????? NO - if this is all the dreadful Nicol Stephen can come up with it shows how poor he and his party is - ask him about the changes in the Aberdeen Bypass route and where he and his family live and why the route was changed - THAT would be VERY INTERESTING. As for Labour - SLEAZE AND DISHONOUR REIGNS.

  • 46.
  • At 08:22 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Joe Mellon wrote:

Aberdeen council is overwhelmingly in favor of the project, the Scottish government is too... the "secret" meeting the BBC "discovered" had been press released a week earlier.... so what is this discussion all about?

Oh yes: we are no longer discussing the prosecution of Wendy Alexander for very illegal activities. NuLabor have the heavyweight spin doctors out.

  • 47.
  • At 08:36 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • JAC wrote:

Good old Nicol Steven standing up for the 5% minority. He fluffed up the WPR now is more worried about what car First Minister uses.

Not sure what he stands for. Maybe he wants to preserve the sand dunes so he can burry his head in them.

  • 48.
  • At 08:36 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • IanB wrote:

It seems to me the Aberdeenshire council committee did everything by the book. The chair of the committee followed custom and used his casting vote - noting half the committee were against - expecting a revised application. To sack him for carrying out his duty is an absolute disgrace.

Trump just wants to bully people into letting him do just what he wants - he does this in America all the time. Apparently he's told Aberdeen they cant have a windfarm within sight of his golf course. This is blackmail of the worst kind. What will this investment provide? A bulldozed site of special scientific interest, a massive quantity of housing in a place where it's not needed, and a sterile golf course. If you look at Trump's record, we'll get the houses which are profitable and the golf club will probably close down if it ever opens.

How can we tell poor countries in Africa not to destroy habitat for endangered species if we cant even save a small patch of duneland. Is there some law that says every spare inch of land has to be developed?

  • 49.
  • At 08:44 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Iain wrote:

Agree that First Minister Salmond has behaved correctly. What I find rather confusing is the behaviour of the Lib Dem Councillors in Aberdeenshire who abstained in the vote to retain Cllr Martin Ford as Chair of the Planning Committee.
How can we take Nicol and his colleagues seriously when they cannot support their own colleague. Do the Liberal support this development or not?

  • 50.
  • At 08:52 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Allan wrote:

How many other planning applications that have been overturned in Scotland have been 'called in' by the government? Oh, none you say? Why's that? Is it because they let local government do their jobs? So why should this one be any different? The ruling is 'denied'. Trump can alter his plans and re-submit, like anyone else who has had plans rejected. Why doesn't he do this?
When wee Eck met with 'the other side', did he do this in a 5 star hotel? Of course he didn't.
Why should anyone let a bully with money take over and destroy Scottish natural history? Oh yes, 'money'.
That's where the 'sleaze' is.

  • 51.
  • At 08:59 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Shaun Harvey wrote:

Scotland needs investment. There are times when it must be accepted that massive foreign investment wins over saving an area of natural beauty, it is not like we dont have plenty in reserve. Of course the Lib Dems councillors can reject this idea safe in the knowledge they will never see power either way - but Scotland must take some of the benefits of globalisation if it is to be economically viable in future.

  • 52.
  • At 08:59 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Peter Forsyth wrote:

Matt Taylor, no 13 : The petition on the Downing St website has a ratio of 4:1 for the proposal and the polls taken by the Aberdeen Evening Express and P&J show support of between 3 and 4 to 1 again in favour.Add to that I do not know of a single person who objects to the proposal, be it family, friends, neighbours and work colleagues and I would agre with the comments in the first post.
The bitterness coming from Labour and Lib Dems is becoming an irritation, though I suppose Mr Stephen feels he has to defend the councillors as the two leading objectors are Lib Dem. Need I say more?

Only the LibDems could think that accusing someone of "cleverness" was an insult.
I doubt it's an insult that is unlikey to be levied at them any time soon.

  • 54.
  • At 09:04 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Bill Slak wrote:

Where are the votes for the SNP? here in the Central belt SNP have caused themselves negativity I am sure, they should have avoided the Trump card, do we care about a golf course in Aberdeen we are the voters after all.

  • 55.
  • At 09:12 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • sacrebleu wrote:

It's all a matter of who you trust, really, isn't it?

I mean, Alex Salmond who insists that he has not interfered and has broken no rules - versus Nicol Stephen, who did interfere last year on the Aberdeen by-pass when he was in Government. And as for Wendy, who admits that she broke the law (not intentionally, of course - so that's ok)

  • 56.
  • At 09:33 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Whodunnit wrote:

To harry shanks and others who seek to misrepresent what actually took place in the council chamber:-

The Chairman of the Infrastructure Committee had a casting vote that is only of any use when the vote is tied.
7 other Councillors were against this development which flies in the face of Planning Policy and 7 were for it.
The Infrastructure Committe is charged with taking decisions that support the Local Plan. They acted correctly. 1500 houses in this location??!!


  • 57.
  • At 09:37 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Strathturret wrote:

Does Mr Stephen's party want the Trump development - yes. Do the Tories and Labour support it - yes. Do Aberdeenshire Council support it - yes. Do the people of the NE support it - yes (80% in Evening Express poll).

This is a storm in the teacup. Scotland cannot afford to reject such a development whether we like the look of Mr Trumps's hair or not.

We have civil sevants trawling the globe to try and bring this sort of project to our shores.

Mr Ford I suspect will get his comeuppance at the next election.

To the posters who don't know what's so sleazy about this, let me explain in simple terms. American bilionare comes to Scotland with a proposal which will bring ecconomic benefits. However there are issues which surround it, and they contravene Scotland wide planning laws. Rather than negotiate and come to some agreement which would iron out the problems, said bilionaire storms off in a huff, spouting nonsense about scotland being closed for business.

Except some local polititians, mostly SNP councilers & one of the local MSP's takes his comments to heart, and starts a media campaign against the committee, and in particular the chairman, DESPITE THE FACT that the committee and the chairman did nothing wrong. On top of this in an unpreccidented move, the Scottish Government calls the application in to be looked at by minnisters. Unpreccedented somehow doesn't quite cover this turn of events

The calling in of the proposal could be, and looks like, the begining of the end of the honeymoon period for the SNP government. If this proposal goes through unscathed, it will be a big black mark on the SNP Government.

  • 59.
  • At 10:00 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Justin wrote:


I think Alex Salmond wants to have business with the American. £1 billion is a massive investment for Aberdeen. I don't think building a golf course in Aberdeen is a good idea, to be honest, who wants to play golf in Aberdeen? But the money nevertheless can help regenerate and redevelop the area. Building houses and hotels are good for Aberdeen and it can attract businesses to move to Aberdeen, create jobs and improve the local economy. How often can you get a £1 billion investment in your local area? If I was Alex Salmond or the councillor, I would take the money. It's a fool not to take it although I don't think people will go to play golf in Aberdeen.

  • 60.
  • At 10:00 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Earthtracer wrote:

Well said #9 and #17.
There seems to be a media presumption that an overwhelming majority of Scots favour this dubious development. I have my doubts that anyone who has really considered it would think so. Personally, although Scotland does of course need investment, we do not need just any old investment - even of a purported $1 billion. If we cannot attract a better type of developer and development than this, I should be most surprised.
We do, however, need to smarten up the planning process, so that we are seen as welcoming to people who come, with open hearts and minds and not as bullies who, when frustrated, have plenty of insulting turns of phrase to throw at us, a la Mr Sorial.

  • 61.
  • At 10:01 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • David wrote:

There is no overwhelming public
support for this project - I live in Aberdeenshire and work in Aberdeen. I can only find greedy business people and grubby policians in favour. There is sweet FA for the ordinary people in this proposal but I'm sure there will be plenty of low paid jobs for ease european migrant workers. There has been no grown up public debate about these proposals only a headlong rush to sell Scotland's soul. The Scottish people will be left with a massive bill to provide the infrastructure to transport the paying public to watch tournaments (there are going to be two championship courses - without championship golf this venture will not support itself) and the politicians are still struggling to sort out the Aberdeen bypass, Aberdeen cross-rail, a 3rd crossing of the River Don and don't get me started on the Haudagain roundabout. Without visitors on the scale that championship events will bring it is difficult to envisage how this will really benefit the people of NE Scotland. The whole thing is starting to smell. I now wouldn't trust Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire councils to tell me the right time. "Scotland - open for bullying by rich investors" might have to be the new motto. Sorry, but the SNP have lost my vote.

  • 62.
  • At 10:13 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • David wrote:

For some strange reason the democratic process is being subverted here and my posting was rejected. To summarise - THERE IS NO OVERWHELMING PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR TRUMP IN ABERDEEN OR ABERDEENSHIRE. The clamour for this is local councillors and the business community. Leaving aside the planning and environmental issues relating to the Menie estate the environmental impact over a much wider area will be huge. There is no infrastructure (road or rail) that will be able to cope with the size of crowds needed at major tournaments to enable this venture to pay for itself. Yet again, local policticians are putting narrow self interest before the needs of the public. At the rate the SNP are going Trump will have built his golf courses, housing, hotel etc many, many years before the Aberdeen bypass and crossrail links needed to alleviate the already chronic traffic gridlock are in place. This development is not sustainable and the SNP will lose my vote if it goes ahead.

  • 63.
  • At 10:14 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Colin wrote:

Clearly there is a degree of miscommunication. However:
Q1 - Do most people in Scotland and most people in Aberdeenshire support the broad intent of this development?
A1 - From most reports - YES.
Q2 - Do most politicians in Scotland and in Aberdeenshire support etc - as above?
A2 - From most reports - also YES.
Q3 - Do most people and politicians across Scotland believe that the 'brown rice and sandals' farcical decision of the local Chair - sorry, ex-Chair - should be over-ruled?
A3 - YES again.
Q4 - If the Scottish Government had not taken this action and if Trump's investment had gone to Northern Ireland - would the Government be rightly criticised by some of the media Brian?
A4 - You might have been first to a poison pen!
And finally Q5 - If the First Minister hadn't met Trump's folk and the development had gone outwith Scotland - etc etc as above?
A5 - Once again Brian, why is it the SNP appear to be damned if they do and damned if they don't?

  • 64.
  • At 10:36 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Dave "Boy" wrote:

£1 billion "inward investment"? Come off it...its basically 2 golf courses and a lot of houses. Building a lot of houses can hardly be called "inward investment", as it creates relatively few permanent jobs in the aftermath. Besides, houses can be built in many places other than on a SSSI.

By the SNP's own admission, this country needs many thousands of affordable homes for workers, not 1500 gated properties for the well heeled.


  • 65.
  • At 10:48 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Aircraftman Shaw wrote:

Compared with the recent Labour Party donations incident this is almost irrelevant.

I've no axe to grind. The SNP need to be as closely monitored as Labour, the Conservatives and Liberals. But, good grief, if this is the best you can come up with...

... it really is insignificant compared with actually breaking the law as has, to be fair, been admitted by Wendy Alexander/Scottish Labour. How come the electoral commission hasn't come to a conclusion yet?

So Brian, we canny vote Labour becuase wee Wendy disnae know the rules, an thinks it's ok tae break the law. We canny vote tory Think about Johnathan aitken an our Jeffrey Archer, an the Lib dems well its ok tae take money frae Fraudsters. An now there is a whiff oh slease in wee Eck's lot
well whit about Tommy Sheridens lot aye whit about them an Colin Fox's lot knaw ah dinae think sae!

That jist aboot leaves the greens, Just whit is the point oh votin fur a shower oh hoods an crooks.
Are there any honest decent Parties?

Ahm no goinae bother votin at all methinks, Democracy is dead!!!

Pitty really about Guy Fox the only man to enter parliament with honourable intentions!

  • 67.
  • At 11:01 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Iain Stirling wrote:

I can't believe the above news re: John Swinney and the GlobalScot Conference in New York.

We have an office in Manhattan and so I was at the conference to see John represented and presented Scotland with real class and dignity - and he was very well received by a mainly US audience.

John does not deserve to be under "scrutiny" or "questioned".

  • 68.
  • At 11:26 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Graham wrote:

Can anyone ask a question of our governments actions without being tagged as part of an anti-SNP conspiracy?

The question of whether someone with enough money can get a government to change their decisions is valid as it is worryingly commonplace.

Labour and the Formula 1 tobacco sponsorship at the start of "New" Labour, SNP and bus deregulation at the start of their regime... its the same issue.

  • 69.
  • At 12:04 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • K Anderson wrote:

Although I am for the golf course remember this - trump is asking for a posh housing estate with a golf course facility - cut the application of houses by two thirds and people wouldnt mind so much. Then again trump wouldnt be interested either. It would bring fantastic pluses to the area - but if he wants all the these houses - then build the roads first and the rest of the infrastructure.

Also as far as Alex Salmond is concerned do people remember he is MSP for up here as well as First Minister we want him to be involved - he has a duty to his constituents

  • 70.
  • At 12:16 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Honey Joe wrote:

Brian do you never feel a wee twinge that the pudding is being over egged. Nicol Steven is quite immature in this matter. He is wrong but even if correct he shows little regard fo Scotand or its problems as with his CLL. Ford.who "bravely" disregards 95% of his voters for HIS narrow ends. By the way I notice Slovenia takes over the Presidency of the EU from Portugal. WHAT IF SCOTLAND WERE INDEPENDENT. Just think about. Eh?

  • 71.
  • At 12:26 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • John wrote:

This was Terence Blacker writing in last week's Independent - I forwarded it Mr. Salmond for his consideration. (My home town Dingwall have also suffered at the hands of Labour central government imposing a project - A PFI school on the flood plain opposed by 73.5% of the electorate in a local referendum).

"For as long as politics and cynicism have co-existed, the excuse of the apathetic non-voter has remained unchanged. Politicians? They're all the same, aren't they? Almost always, the line is demonstrably false, but in one area at least it is true. Big-time politicians like to make warm, supportive noises about local democracy but, when a council puts central government on the spot, their attitude is quickly revealed to be bogus.

Everyone likes local neighbourhoods, as long as they behave themselves. When Gordon Brown, on becoming Prime Minister, argued that "our
participatory democracy is too weak at local level, so we have to rise to the new challenge of engagement," he was echoing what the Leader of the
Opposition had said a few months previously. Local democracy, according to David Cameron, is "an idea whose time has come". Joining the chorus,
Vince Cable has recently urged his party to move to "a more locally-based way of running the country".

If these pronouncements had been halfway honest, the qualifying phrase "so long as that locally-based way of running the country coincides with
that of central government" might have been added. Within weeks of becoming PM, for example, Brown was introducing a Bill that would substantially
reduce the power of local communities when it comes to major planning applications.

But the most perfect example of hypocrisy in this fashionable policy area comes from the UK's newest governing body, the Scottish National Party.
In the past, the SNP leader Alex Salmond has been as localist as any politician - he even donated his salary as First Minister to local causes - but the complex business of governing rather than opposing has revealed his true position.

Last week, the Aberdeenshire planning committee bravely and correctly voted against a monstrous application by the American billionaire Donald Trump
which would turn a 1,400-acre stretch of unspoilt coastline into a housing development and one of the biggest golfing complexes in the world. The
committee decided that the rare sand-dune habitat, described by a creepy-sounding henchman of Trump's as "a menace - sand that blew in off the beach", was too important to be sacrificed to the greed of a
developer.

The new ruling party in Scotland quickly proved that no dog snarls quite like an underdog that suddenly finds itself on top. Alex Salmond was said
to be "furious" about the decision. One of his senior SNP colleagues referred to those who put the countryside before consumerism as "yahoos". In the local press, the decision was reported under the inflammatory headline "You traitors".

Here is the true face of localism, and more and more of it will be seen throughout the UK over the coming months. In the face of the rush for growth, a brutal and uncompromising alliance quickly develops between those who want to make money and the politicians who want to win votes by encouraging what is often fraudulently presented as an opportunity for jobs, wealth, regeneration. The media, following the money, forget their own pious editorials about conservation and scramble on to the bandwagon.

The beleaguered landscape and the communities that are part of it find themselves at the mercy of tycoons and politicians. Their only remaining hope lies in the determination and courage of the local people abused and vilified as yahoos because they refuse to worship at the shrine of development. Brown, Cameron, Cable and Salmond are right: local democracy is an idea whose time has come. It must not be bullied into submission on the very issues that affect communities and their future most deeply

  • 72.
  • At 12:38 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • iain morrison wrote:

#8 Malcolm - get your facts right a civil service press officer made an error regarding who was present during a conversation between two civil servants, how does that make Ministers who were not involved smell of sleaze. No sleaze is when paties or individuals take illegal donations, take donations from criminals, try to hide the source of donations or sell honours. I think that covers all the Unionists. Can you tell me what personal or Party benifit anyone in the SNP has made from this?

  • 73.
  • At 12:43 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • iain morrison wrote:

13# Matt Talor -Duh - please do some research before posting - the last published poll of people in Aberdeenshire showed support for the project at over 80% arround 1300 sampled if memory serves me right, looks pretty overwhelming to me.

  • 74.
  • At 12:58 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Robin wrote:

It's amazing to see how this is being discussed in almost exclusively partisan terms--mostly, on this occasion, it seems to me, by Nationalists leaping to the defence of their leader. (They'd do well to remember that the previous leader of the Scottish government was also accused of being too close to Trump.) But surely there are larger issues at stake. I'd refer to the communication above urging people to look at a Trump 'development' in Florida. More generally, shouldn't we be looking carefully at all such projects to try to gain some sense of their social and environmental and cultural as well as their economic consequences? After all, such projects, which tend to serve a small minority, are an unfortunate feature of today's neo-liberal global economy. And the benefits for ordinary people and the host society rarely match the grandiose promises, while the costs they bear tend to be quite significant.

  • 75.
  • At 01:17 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Matthew wrote:

Time to get a grip; Labour admissions of wrongdoing attract little or no coverage; allegations of sleaze on the part of a constituency representative are under fire? Democracy demands better in the form of accurate reporting, without spin!

I don't know if there were any technical irregularities re the way Salmond and the Government handled the Trump case this week but this I do know, this project will be a major boost to the North East and Scotland as whole because of the quality of the product and the money behind it which will bring the North East and Scotland untold publicity year in and year out for well into the future.

Which is why it has the backing of the vast majority of people and businesses in the whole area. The project was nearly lost to Northern Ireland so yes, the Government had to move fast to salvage it from a minority view on Aberdeenshire Council, mistakes concerning protocol may have been made but sleeze? Where did that come from? What was Salmond or the SNP gaining from this?

There was no money involved, no gifts, no free holidays on some exotic island, what element leads the opposition to use the word sleaze?

Only, I would suggest the desire to knock Salmond and his Government off their pedestals, at least once before the year ends.

They certainly have made life for Salmond and the Government uncomfortable this week and the pedestal may have wavered slightly but it stands firm tonight.

The opposition should begin to wind down and conserve their energy for the next session of parliament and yet another tough year trying to get one over on this Government.

  • 77.
  • At 01:55 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Kelvin MORETON wrote:

Donald TRUMP is a Bankrupt who chances with money and as has been said earlier bullies people into submission. The facts are there just go look what he has done in the good ole' US of A. He is the problem here not the investment of 1 billion of whatever currency he can get his hands on at the moment, he has to borrow it all just like that other wheeler dealer Robert MAXWELL and TRUMP is on a tight deadline to deliver! It is all show money and the 1 billion would be easily recouped if he got his way and sold most of his not so affordable housing! - Golf courses are secondary and a cover for this dump a small town in the middle of the country development.

  • 78.
  • At 03:25 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

Let me be one of the first to confirm Brian Taylor view that the matter of Alex Salmond's involvement in the Trump Project should be questioned. I doubt you would find one SNP supporter who would argue with that premise. I have just finished watching First Minister Salmonds openess and avaiability to answer Questions in a truthfull manner. I also witnessed Nicol Stephens accusation of sleaze in the actions of the First Minister. Obviously Wendy couldnt mention sleaze and her party were un naturally quiet, because of the UK wide allegations of corrupt practices and lies.

There is absolutely no question of sleaze here. The only question is why the Unionist Parties are collaborating to such an extent that they will have to officially join up as an Anti Scottish Party. Why would these slimey types want to take a 1 billion dollar investment in Scotland and give it to the Reverend Iain Paisley.

This in my opinion is tantamount to treason and should be treated accordingly. Such a pathetic group of the parties who have conspired to keep the Scots Down by taking any great investment or resources and giving them to their London Masters. Remember our great fishing grounds which are the largest in Europe, or our oil industry which is being exploited without Scotland having control. Now they want to take the Trump Investment in case we get above our station.

YOU ALL KNOW WHO TO VOTE AGAINST AT THE NEXT ELECTION. VOTE THE SCOTS WAY, VOTE SNP.

  • 79.
  • At 03:31 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • John McDonald wrote:

Some contributors appear to be obsessed by having a dig at Unionists, which isn't really what the issue is about. I have my doubts that Mr Trump's plans have the support of the overwhelming majority of the electorate, local or national, and it doesn't look good when Mr Trump's people summon Alex Salmond as soon as the proposals are rejected, nor when Jim McKinnon phones Aberdeenshire Council's chief executive when Mr Trump's representatives are in the room.

Just because a tycoon is willing to invest in a project which will cost a large sum of money, it doesn't mean this will be in the best interests of the local community in the long-term - many of those business people who wailed when the project was initially turned down would sell their granny to make a few quid.

With the members of Aberdeenshire Council seeming to have brushed aside any concerns of environmentalists and the Scottish Government giving the appearance of being very anxious for Mr Trump's plans to succeed, our politicians are sending out the message to the rest of the world that they're a tame bunch who are more than willing to bend the knee when a large corporation starts throwing its weight about.

And other than a small minority of well-heeled residents and tourists, I also wonder who will really benefit locally from Mr Trump's plans, as I can't imagine there will be many well-paid jobs available in the long-term.

  • 80.
  • At 03:45 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Craig Nicolson wrote:

This entire debacle is becoming increasingly ridiculous
The NE of Scotland is one of the most beautiful and un-touched areas in the British Isles. For me, the notion of irrevicably damaging such a precious assett for the sake of a few dozen exorbitantly priced homes and an equally expensive golf course is outrageous. Thankfully, councillors, who so far as i understand represent the views of their constituents, rejected the proposal. Democracy in action. Now it seems that democracy is not as powerful as having 1 Billion or so "Greenbacks" hanging out of your pocket. Scotland has enough exclusive golf courses. Leave this area for the people, and our wild-life to enjoy in peace.

  • 81.
  • At 05:56 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Lilias wrote:

I am disgusted at the BBC Scotland team in cahooots with unionists in a contrived and indeed viscous attack on Alex Salmond.
Surely the rights or wrongs are not the issue it is why small minded councillors have the right to deny much needed jobs in an area which badly needs them.
Having met young people in the Tory area of Aberdeen I can see where jobs are really required,maybe the councillors need to come down from their ivory tower and face real life and much of the despair thatis with the young people in some areas of Aberdeen.
Lets concentrate on the sleeze that is within certain other parties and allow investment in our country.

  • 82.
  • At 06:55 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Wansanshoo wrote:

I believe this is far too important an investment for politicians to jepordise by claiming political points on certain issues of this process.

Is it possible that The Lib Dem councillor who rejected the billion pound plans had orders to do so from within his own party?

The investment is a no brainer, we should welcome the investment and the tourism that will follow.

So First Minister Salmond, please flex your muscles and secure the investment our country deserves and needs.


Wansanshoo.

  • 83.
  • At 07:42 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Helena Forsyth wrote:

I am from the north east and I fear they are seriously deluded by this 'billion dollar investment' - that money is being used by Mr Trump to make money for Mr Trump. As he is building 400 accommodation units for employees he is obviously planning on not sourcing them from the local area or even Scotland. Only front-of-house people will need to have a trademark Scottish accent (which by the way is a west coast one.) It will be an all inclusive resort complex and people will probably not go outside it at all to spend money. Even the construction will be contracted to the lowest bidder who will probably not be local or even Scottish. There is no local or national benefit to dumping a resort, clones of which litter the earth from Denver to Dubai, on such a special place.

  • 84.
  • At 08:31 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • dave p wrote:

I've been led to understand, by a retired senior planning official, that it is totally unprecedented for the executive to 'call in' an application that has already been ruled upon. Apparently, they can only do this immediately after an application which contravenes the local plan has been submitted. Has the legality of this move been investigated?

  • 85.
  • At 08:35 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Keith Heslop wrote:

And there was me thinking that the Scottish Parliament was there to help foster the development and growth of Scotland.

This is cheap political nonsense which diverts the real issue regarding the ridiculous decision by a Liberal led Committe to reject the Trump proposal.

Do the right thing, work together and get this project off the ground before Christmas.

  • 86.
  • At 08:59 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Chasa wrote:

Would somebody please show me the evidence behind the sleaze accusation. I am more inclined to believe that Nicol Stephen is covering up for the cack handed LibDem controlled Aberdeenshire Council who have made a right mess of the application whatever its merits. I wonder how Stephen will respond when the Electoral Commission reports on the Wendy Bendy affair, probably hide away some where.

  • 87.
  • At 09:11 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • ron oliver wrote:

what is all the exitment about. wee Jack was forever meeting industrialist putting money into darkest lanarkshire.
if i was advising Trump i would suggest that he withdraws the application called in by the Government thus giving them nothing to determine. qwith nothing to determine the Goverment is off the hook. Trump can then submit a fresh application to the Council and let them determine it. the Council can advise the Government that it intends to approve it and the Government can ask for it to be referred to them or do nothing and after 28 days the Coouncil can determine it.
simple really

  • 88.
  • At 09:12 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

It would seem that we have Mr Trump's & his organisation trying its level best to usurp democracy, for what? To contribute to Scotland’s prosperity? To improve the life of the people of the NE? Or to make lots and lots of money by gracing an area of outstanding natural beauty with a golf course & a new town. He dangles the elusive $1B carrot and has the greedy dancing to his tune hoping to get a few crumbs that fall from his table. It's sad to see how easily some people can be led by the nose.

  • 89.
  • At 09:13 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

I'm not an SNP supporter but I don't think there's any sleaze here. Possibly a bad misjudgement (or arrogance).

Salmond has potentially opened up a line for opponents to appeal against the decision since there is a suspicion that he did not follow correct procedure.

If an appeal gets granted then the timescales will get pushed out and Trump may decide to go elsewhere.

So a misjudgement could lose the development. Which would be bad news for the NE and Scotland and make Scotland a laughing stock.

  • 90.
  • At 09:16 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

It would seem that we have Mr Trump's & his organisation trying its level best to usurp democracy, for what? To contribute to Scotland’s prosperity? To improve the life of the people of the NE? Or to make lots and lots of money by gracing an area of outstanding natural beauty with a golf course & a new town. He dangles the elusive $1B carrot and has the greedy dancing to his tune hoping to get a few crumbs that fall from his table. It's sad to see how easily some people can be led by the nose.

  • 91.
  • At 09:16 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Malcolm wrote:

It is quite clear that Scottish government ministers and civil servants have done nothing wrong. They have broken no rules. They have broken no laws. They have acted speedily and properly on a matter of national importance.

Trumpgate is clearly a smear campaign orchaestrated by Unionist parties and the Scottish media against the SNP government. BBC Scotland journalists like yourself Brian, and Glen Campbell, should hang your heads in shame on this matter.

  • 92.
  • At 09:16 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Wansanshoo wrote:

Liberal Democrat leader Nicol Stephen said: "This is a serious situation for the first minister and his government. Every step of the way there is contradiction, concealment and cleverness from his government on this issue. It smells of sleaze."

There is no contradiction,Alex Salmond as constituent SMP is fully expected by the local electorate to get involved.

There is no concealment,Alex Salmond MSP wants this investment for Scotland Nicol Stephen does not.

As for the last accusation, cleverness,Nicol Stephen has a point,that Alex Salmond is overflowing with 'cleverness' in fact he is far to clever for Nicol.

  • 93.
  • At 09:25 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Alastair Beveridge wrote:

There are two very separate debates here:
1) Has the SNP engaged in sleaze?
2) Should the development go ahead?

I think Brian Taylor, as the BBC's political editor has only concentrated on the first question, as he should. Nowhere have I seen Brian suggest that he has studied Trump's planning application, or that he has an opinion on its merits. I don't think there is any doubt that the Trump organisation has bullied certain councillors to try and get its way, and to get special treatment from the planning department. Trump's arrogance at refusing to appeal the planning decision may be what prevents him from getting to go ahead with his plans.

The second debate, about the merits of the development, is quite simple. It all comes down to how much you value the environment, and this site is very special as it is the last (or maybe 2nd last) unstabilised dune system in the country.

Trump's lawyer, Mr Sorial, said at the planning meeting, "It was hoped that the benefits which would accrue from the project would compensate for the environmental sacrifices which were anticipated."
So it sounds like even he isn't SURE of its merits.

The Aberdeen area has virtually no unemployment, the 400 tiny housing units being built on site for Eastern European staff show that Trump recognises this.

Alex Salmond rightly thinks Scotland can stand on its own as an independent country, as we have the talent and resources in the country to support ourselves. Letting an arrogant American get his way is no better than accepting rule from Westminster.

If we can (and we can) survive without the 10,000 jobs Trident supports, why do we need the 1,100 part-time low paid jobs this development may create?

  • 94.
  • At 09:26 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • goatfell wrote:

Has Mr Salmon met with the various bodies in his constituency , including the RSPB, who oppose this planning application? If so when and how quickly did he respond to their requests for talks?

  • 95.
  • At 09:29 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • madbeefsheppo wrote:

How has this saga gone on for so long!? This is a wonderful long term oppurtunity for Aberdeenshire and Scotland, and we are in danger of letting the whole thing fall through because of political infighting and excess bureaucracy! Pathetic!
The Lib Dems made a right hash of this, I'm glad that councillor got fired, what a muppet!

  • 96.
  • At 09:31 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • David wrote:

If anyone seriously thinks that teh folks in the NE aren't aware that Trump is out to make money then they must think we are really stupid. Of course he is out to make money, thats the whole point. The thing is some of that money will go into the local economy. At present the Menie estate contributes nothing.

Mr Stephens is on a hiding to nothing!

Why does the BBc find it necessary to avoid the real sleaze and concentrate on this?

The sleaze issue is a non-story.

The real horror is the treatment of the sub-committee chairman. Publicly lambasted and now sacked for following procedure (ie casting his deciding vote for the status quo when there is no clear majority for change).

The Aberdonians have long had a reputation for thriftiness - but the speed and eagerness with which they have changed the rules to accommodate Trumps bucks smacks of pure greed.

See the story in yesterday's Scotsman (http://news.scotsman.com/edinburgh/Developer-forced-to-think-again.3589961.jp) on how developers and planners ought to be able to negotiate their way to a sensible decision. Not bully their way to super-profits like Trump is clearly doing. The council should reject him and look around for a more palatable developer; if it will work for Trump, it will work for others.

  • 99.
  • At 10:04 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Ric Flair wrote:

Agreed Malcolm (post 48). Why is it that BBC journalists see fit to hide behind their 'impartiality' when it suits them, while at the same time they constantly reveal their overt bias through headlines, story selection, priority of quotations etc?

Fact - The unionist parties (who have not to my knowledge publically questioned each other on anything in recent times, and so can surely be referred to as a coalition) have been looking for anything to attack the SNP on (perhaps so as to deflect attention from the hideous Wendy sleaze stories?)

Fact - The are happy to do this even at the extent of jeopardising an inward-investment project which, rightly or wrongly, they support!

Fact - All Scottish media (except for a certain Sunday newspaper) are complicit in this. For my sins, I studied media political reportage at university and I have never seen such partisan coverage in the UK at any time since the Second World War. Alan Cochrane last week admitted to have been put under pressure by a colleague to soften his stance, and no one in their right mind would surely deem this an isolated incident.

Brian - you probably won't post this, and that is of course your right as blog owner. But please, if you do read this, ask yourself if these things I have said are true. I know that you know they are. You are probably the most influential journalist in Scotland. You have the power to at least start to change this. You can start with Labour's donations. You know the law has been broken, those involved have admiited it. You know that, if they were SNP politicians, they would have been run out of office by a baying media mob. (What we have both seen in the last couple of days proves this absolutely). With one blog post, challenging all of Scotland's political journalists, you could begin a personal crusade for fair, balanced, objective reporting, of the type you spoke so passionately in defence of at a lecture I heard you give.

Do you believe Scotland deserves the best political journalism in the world?

Do you believe Scotland has the best political journalism in the world?

DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

  • 100.
  • At 10:06 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • HughB wrote:

All in all, not the oppositions finest hour.

They are clinging to some virtual reality which they have created, along with the BBC and other media, in the hope that it can bring down the SNP government.

Unfortunately for them, the voting public are not interested in the virtual reality the opposition have created, and are more interested in the reality of the criminal investigations regarding illegal party donations.

Lets get back to reality, please, or somebody pull the plug.
Yes, the reality is that Scotland has a Scottish Government. Get over it.

  • 101.
  • At 10:42 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Mac wrote:

If this creepy comb-over king gets permission to destroy an area of scientific interest/natural environmental beauty, this could be setting a precedent for the potential destruction of other areas around our country. This is pure & simple financial greed. "Luxury" homes, "Exclusive" golf courses...Who really benefits? Look at the bigger picture!!

  • 102.
  • At 10:53 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Euan McBean wrote:

Here we go again, UK labour trying to deflect the stench of sleaze that has engulfed them on to others!

I never used to be an SNP supporter, but the way they have started off in government I am a convert (Used to vote Labour).

I believe that Salmond is an honourable and decent individual.

I also believe that a potential sum of a Billion (£1 000 000 000) is too big a sum for the county of Aberdeen or Scotland to turn down. The likelihood of additional tourist facilities and investment on top of Donald Trump's investment is extremely high.

If Salmond had not become involved, it would be a derogation of his post and responsibility.

If Salmond had turned up to a meeting of European leaders three hours late with a lame excuse, that would have been a derogation of his post and responsibility. Brown's performance yesterday made me ashamed to be Scottish for one mini-second, then I remembered; of course Mr Brown is British.

To summarise, there is no sleaze here merely political opportunism by the masters of sleaze and spin, UK labour.

Euan

  • 103.
  • At 11:09 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Chris Bowie wrote:

The real story here is not the SNP. It's the broader Aberdeen council quite rightly unseating the infrastructure chairman whose decision was so obviously out of whack with pulic opinion, leading to a turnover of personnel at the next local elections.

This is the first time in a long time I've noticed a council actually caring about what its electors think. Smells like good old fashioned accountability.

Well done I say.

  • 104.
  • At 11:10 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • teamdroid wrote:

It's been amusing to watch Nicol Stephen ranting about the smell of sleaze. Those of us with long enough memories understand that, to him, it smells just like the diesel fumes of a FirstGroup bus...

(http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/3799139.stm)

  • 105.
  • At 11:21 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Allan Heron wrote:

Not sure anyone is coming out of this looking too clever.

The opposition attacks are more forceful than the issue justifies - largely, I suspect, because this is Salmon's first serious misstep since he became First Minister. For someone who has made political capital of so-called unionist parties bowing and scraping to London, he's only being seen to be doing something remarkably similar in the direction of Trump

Equally, the mauling that Martin Ford is taking seems equally unjustified. Regardless of his personal views (and I assume he voted against the proposal in the primary vote) in using his casting vote is it not the custom for this to be used to retain the status quo? After all, what does seem to be clear is that the proposals did contravene the area's local plan.

Having said all that, I do find the posts defending Salmond to be most entertaining. I had never quite appreciated that he was the almost saintly being that his supporters seems to consider him!

  • 106.
  • At 11:33 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • John wrote:

As a political neutral who does not live in the NE, I have to say that there seems to be a complex among the obvious SNP supporters here. How you can see a conspiracy between the BBC and the opposition parties in the parliament, I don't know. Furthermore I would expect the BBC to investigate this at length (as is their job) If the SNP don't like the results you cannot call foul!

Where all the comments regarding lack of coverage over Wendy Alexander's donations are coming from I also don't know. I felt Brian's coverage was in depth andwell handled. Also I have to say I am less concerned about Wendy Alexander receiving £950 (broken law or not), than I am about Brian Souter donating
£600000. Just think of the political influence that must buy!

With regards to Alex Salmond and 'sleaze', I personally don't think there has been any sleaze in the traditional sense ( However, the call to the council with the Trump officials in the room is concerning). I do agree with Annabel Goldie though, this does seem like a re-emergance of Alex Salmond's 'arrogance' rather than ignorance. I do feel this could be the begining of the end of the honeymoon for the SNP. Although I am sure their supporters will see a plot.

  • 107.
  • At 11:34 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • mark guthrie wrote:

This just tells us what we already know - money talks.

  • 108.
  • At 11:37 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Colin wrote:

The only sleaze I see in this whole affair is Donald Trump. He doesn't care for the environment, he's only interested in making money. The only people who are in support of his proposal are the greedy.

Don't believe everything the local press puts out - they only publish what they want us to believe! They are backed by the greedy property developers who see this fiasco as an opportunity to set a precedent for bodyswerving the planning processes designed to stop them ruining our heritage.

God forbid that the Executive overturn the decision to reject this proposal, we'll all end up worse off for it.

  • 109.
  • At 11:42 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Carris Doig wrote:

If this is the best that the May losers can do - then fortunately we are in for a sustained period of SNP Government in power.

There is no sleaze here only a pathetic attempt by a very shabby opposition to discredit the FM for trying to secure economic development for Aberdeenshire and for Scotland.

Salmond, a person with vision and integrity should be applauded for his sterling work whereas his whinging irritants on this issue, should hang their heads in shame.

I am not so sure that this is about sleaze..
This is about an application for development which falls outside of the guidelines that everyone else in Scotland has to follow. An elected planning committee had the bravery to throw out an application that was in fundamental breach of these local and national planning guidelines.
Result? They are removed from the committee and the application is taken to full council. This is Putinesque politics and stinks of weakness and bullying from an organisation with an unenviable reputation.
Development can be good for communities. I think that Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have far more pressing and difficult development issues that need to be dealt with than bowing to the pressure of foreign investors.
GET A SPINE SCOTLAND!

Team Trump do not have the right to ride roughshod over local democracy and locally and nationally agreed and binding planning guidelines - as for the $billion investment - please can the supporters of this development review Trumps track record in the states before lying belly up for their 0.000000001% share of the 25% of the amounts that are being touted?

  • 111.
  • At 12:00 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • john of onich wrote:

Brain,
the bbc is out or order here. You should explicity define 'sleaze' and set out what it is that Salmond has done [in your view] that is wrong; or yop should not use that word. To put the word 'sleaze' beside the word 'salmond' and then say nothing further creates the inaccurate impression that the BBC - as opposed to Nicoll Stephen - has evidence of wrong doung.In short, put up or shut up.

  • 112.
  • At 12:08 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Dave "Boy" wrote:

There are 5 unanswered questions for me.

1. If the meeting with Trump was a constituency MSP affair, why was the First Ministers limousine used? This is a privelige unavailable to most MSPs so why was it used?

2. If the meeting really was a constituency affair, then why wasnt it actually held IN the constituency?

3. Why were Trumps advisers in the room when a Scottish government official contacted the Council?

4. Why were the BBC lied to when they put questions to the Government press office?

5. Who put out the Press Release regarding the meeting - the Government press office or the Constituency press office?

It may well be that there are perfectly reasonable answers to all of these - but in my opinion they all need answered.

  • 113.
  • At 12:19 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Gordon Scott wrote:

I have come into this a bit late on and will ignore the accusations of sleeze etc - that is for the politicians and the 'chattering classes' to sort out.

However in reply to Shaun Harvey's comment (no.51)
When every bit of Scotland's countryside has gone under the bulldozer, been criss crossed by windfarms, pylons and had other similar inappropriate developments driven through the local planning process in the demands of 'times when it must be accepted that massive foreign investment wins over saving an area of natural beauty' or other such reason. There are so many white elephant project that have been foised on the Scottish landscape and sold to the public in terms of jobs, income and now "benefits of globalisation if it is to be economically viable in future", most of these have failed most economic determinations and this one will fail the environmental one. It may be a small area of natural beauty, but when does small stop being small and start to be BIG.

I suggest you go and listen to Woody
"This land was made for you and me"

  • 114.
  • At 12:30 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Ed Gray wrote:

Nicol Stephen claims the Scottish Government’s handling of the Trump application “smells of sleaze”.

He should know about sleaze. His party have been instrumental in delivering it, with or without assistance from their preferred bedfellows, Labour, who rewrote the book on it!

As part of the unionist ‘gang of 3’ at Holyrood, his party is desperate for any means to score points against the diligent, successful and popular SNP administration.

The unionist parties appear to have been joined in this endeavour by their ever-eager supporters, the mass media, who have seized on an apparent opportunity to try and condemn the SNP on the basis of conjecture.

Any administration should rightly be held to account. However, the ‘smell of sleaze’ pervading Holyrood is a nasty consequence of unsavoury revelations emanating the Labour party, but with lingering and odious consequences for the whole Scottish Parliament, whereby mud now sticks to the entire institution.

Further driven by vengeance at being driven from power in May, it is ironic that those parties leading this spiteful smear attempt against the SNP are the very parties who brought abject shame upon Holyrood in the first place!

  • 115.
  • At 12:31 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Stuart wrote:

I am disappointed that Salmond seems keen to embrace Trump - one hotel, however big, will not make a huge difference for Aberdeen. What will happen in the event of another terror attack and Americans decide not to bother flying abroad for a few years?

This dependance on tourist dollars worries me.

As a proud Aberdonian who has happy memories of playing as a child in the Balmedie dunes, as well as a dislike of bullies (especially people rich and old enough to know better and show some class), I was quite happy to see Trump turned down and then shocked to hear that the man with the deciding vote was kicked out. That was disgusting. There were 7 other councillors who voted against the plans as well, what on earth is going on? Will they be voted out too, one-by-one?

Alex Salmond may not be guilty of sleaze yet but it looks like he's getting there. Appreciate that yes, he should meet with all multi-million pound investers but Trump has shown no consideration for locals and Alex should put the local Scots first. It means more big houses - for the rich, not for first-time buyers, and a playground for rich tourists, rather than an area of Scottish natural heritage to be enjoyed by locals, old and young.

Was hopeful about Salmond and Scotland - now much less so.

  • 116.
  • At 01:15 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Douglas Eckhart wrote:

Sleaze? I don't think so. Sleaze is when politicians take backhanders and then hide it, ie Wendy alexander.

Salmond has not taken any backhanders, he does not benefit personally, the people of Scotland benefit... hardly 'sleaze'.

The press and Nicol Stephen need to understand what is meant by the word before using it (cf labour party).


I Have a new headline:

'SHOCK HORROR: SCOTTISH LEADER FIGHTS TO SECURE ECONOMIC INVESTMENT IN SCOTLAND!'

We can't have that!
This is a conflict between Old Scotland and new Scotland: between those who actually try to invest and secure prosperity and prospects for this country, and those who want to continue as we have before, in a country where nobody wants to do business, an economic basket case relying on state handouts. I'll take new Scotland any day thank you.


  • 117.
  • At 01:27 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

The tories need to take a good look at themselves. Why are they on the ante business side in this argument? The result is that Scotland doesnt have a proper right of centre party to counter the arguments against ecomomic growth, all because the Conservative party up here is so focused on propping up this lame duck union. Surely they must have felt some patriotic reaction to the ante Scottish comments from Mr Prior on last nights Qustion Time.

  • 118.
  • At 01:35 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • John wrote:

While we argue over facts, one fact keeps being overlooked and one lie repeated in this thread.
Claims that Aberdeenshire's Infrastructure Services Committee voted 7 against the Trump development and 7 for are simply untrue.
The Committee first divided 9 against the development and only 5 for.
It was the subsequent vote to either refuse the appliaction outright, or to defer consideration pending discussions with the applicant, that was tied 7-7. Neither would have placated Trump.

  • 119.
  • At 01:36 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Embraman wrote:

Message to SNP spinbots from spinbot control: blame the media! Oh. I see the message has got through already.

Shreck certainly was doing a passable impression of Oor Wullie having his name taken down by PC Murdoch at FMQ yesterday. Now, why would that be?

Just to recap: he travelled to a meeting with the Trump crew, at a venue outside his own constituency, in a government car. Following which there came a government decision to call in the planning decision. But nothing to do with his being First Minister. Hmm.

It usually takes governments some years to begin to believe that the rules don't really apply to them. Have the SNP managed to get to that stage in a matter of months?

  • 120.
  • At 01:42 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • William Campbell wrote:

Three points.

The key issue is surely that the government is only able to call in a planning application before the local authority has considered it if it believes that strategic national interests require that. If the planning determination in Aberdeenshire was delegated to the Infrastructure Committee, then a decision had been taken prior to the call-in.

It is a serious cause for concern that a council should dismiss the chair of a committee which is duty bound to operate in a quasi-judicial manner because he was in a minority within the council over a particular application.

There is no reason at this stage to doubt Alex Salmond's probity over party funding issues; we have yet to see how his campaign for the leadership of the SNP was funded, and he is innocent until proved guilty.

  • 121.
  • At 01:43 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • S Martin wrote:

My belief is that if Alex Salmond wants to act as an MSP on this, then he should resign as First Minister - he should not be able to have it both ways.

What is very sad is that the most important issue - that of protecting the SSSI - is being lost in all the drama.

If this developer is allowed to annihilate this SSSI (because that is what will happen), then all the other SSSI's will be open to the same fate.

I am a member of the electorate and I do not think these plans should be passed as they have been submitted. I have no conclusive proof that there is a majority "for" the plans.

  • 122.
  • At 01:57 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Angus Easton wrote:

Alex Salmond will never be able to satisfy anyone who considers he has acted inappropriately because the simple fact of the matter is that he wears two hats; one as a member of the Executive (i.e. the SNP Government) and another as a member of the Legislature (i.e. as the constituency member for Gordon). It is inevitable that there will at times be a conflict of interest for any MSP who is part of the government of the day, whichever political hue it is of. Alex Salmond therefore found himself in just such an invidious position, but not one he could do anything about, such is our the Parliamentary system of government. However, whether that means he is gulity of any impropriety is another matter entirely and I suspect that in the end the only court he will judged in is the court of public opinion, which in Aberdeen anyway, seems to firmly behind him. The only way to prevent such conflicts in future would be to adopt a constitutional settlement with a clear separation of powers between the Executive and Legislature as in the United States, but this is hardly likely.

  • 123.
  • At 01:58 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Helena Forsyth wrote:

I think it is newsworthy that the link for those wishing to comment on the Trump development on Aberdeenshire Council's website (the only place you can see the details of the development)takes you to an obscure seemingly unrelated form. Very off-putting for people wishing to comment. When I phoned the Scottish Government planning department I was told that as most of the staff were at their Christmas lunch nothing could be done about it till Monday! Weekends are when people have the time to sit down and write their comments.

  • 124.
  • At 01:59 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Eddie wrote:

No-one has mentioned what will happen in relation to Scotland's "Freedom to Roam" in respect of this "development". Even the "Evening Trump" oops "Evening Express" reported people being harrassed by Trump's security people for crossing the land where he wants to build. Apparently "Freedom to Roam" is restricted in relation to golf courses (of which the area has 70 already!!), so that is one downgrading of this principle. Then when these championships happen there are sure to be greater restrictions. I come from Australia where you get shot at if you try to cross private land. Don't let this country go down the same road.

  • 125.
  • At 02:04 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

Do those who think Aberdeenshire council were wrong to reject Trump’s demands think it would be wrong to reject ANY development if it created employment? Any developer working in a democratic country expects that they will have to alter their plans to meet the reasonable concerns of democratically-elected local representatives; and possibly alter them quite radically. A development as socially-useful as an oil terminal or a factory has to go through this process. But Trump made it clear from the start that he would countenance no alterations to address the infrastructural or environmental problems that his plan raised: the council could take it or leave it as it stood. In rejecting a plan presented in this way, Aberdeenshire council were simply doing their job.
Let’s be clear about this: Trump’s contempt for the planning process is a contempt for democracy. In an undemocratic, third-world state, you don’t need to bother with all this “unnecessary bureaucracy”; you go straight to the king or the general in charge and he fixes it for you. The Scottish Government (and I speak as one who voted for the SNP in the Holyrood elections) is in danger of putting us in this quasi-colonial position. For Trump’s contempt for democracy is not just contempt for councillors but for all of us. In his eyes, we are “little people”: natives who come in two varieties, either fawning, grateful natives or obstructive, troublesome ones. Capitulation to his demands, just as much as rejection of them, will merely confirm him in this attitude; but at least in the latter case we hang on to our self-respect as citizens of a democratic country.

  • 126.
  • At 02:05 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • S.ROBERTS wrote:

I have been saying it for months,now the `chickens are coming home to roost`! Someone recently commented on the SNP being a breath of fresh air,yeah right! More like a strong pong right now and getting smellier by the week! Sleazy Salmond and his billion pound golf deal,SNP lies at the election,Sleazy Western Isles MP and his hotel romp,Soutar`s hundreds of thousands buys the SNP victory [anyone for bus deregulation!]and of course dear old Sir Seans donations [anyone deserves a knighthood only if they donate to us!] Poor old Wendy`s £950 now pales into significance compared to this lot!SNP supporters are squealing and squirming,how ironic then that it has mainly come about as a result of one their own mantras namely their deluded `Braveheart NIMBY` attitude about Scotland.I would challenge any half decent impartial journalist to get stuck into this bunch of jokers,they have only been in power eight months and look how much sleaze they have racked up already!

  • 127.
  • At 02:08 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Helena Forsyth wrote:

I think it is newsworthy that the link for those wishing to comment on the Trump development on Aberdeenshire Council's website (the only place you can see the details of the development)takes you to an obscure seemingly unrelated form. Very off-putting for people wishing to comment. When I phoned the Scottish Government planning department I was told that as most of the staff were at their Christmas lunch nothing could be done about it till Monday! Weekends are when people have the time to sit down and write their comments.

I'm confused ... nothing new in that granted, but what is all the fuss over this. It's not like the law has been broken, as far as I can tell. There doesn't appear to have been impropriety.

I don't agree with the part of the development impinging on the SSSI, I think if that is approved then questions will have to be asked - until then though what is the issue?

I just listened to the ex-chair of the planning committee on Radio Scotland (Leslie questions - listen again ;-) ) and am still none the wiser!

I think his removal sends out the wrong message ... he was just doing his job; the fact that the application has been called in for ministerial scrutiny seems to be justifiable - if not required given it's scale and the public outcry.

If anybody wants to enlighten me as to the nature of this so-called sleaze please feel free - just don't repeat what's gone before ... I've already read all of that!

  • 129.
  • At 03:01 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • L Telfer wrote:

Is it my imagination or are all those opposed to Trump's development either Liberals or from south of the Border.

  • 130.
  • At 03:09 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Bystander wrote:

I do hope there is a thorough and robust examination of this proposal. The £1 billion figure seems massively over-egged - was it not $1billion anyway (i.e. £500 million)? And what does that figure mean anyway? The turnover? profit? investment?

The suggestion is for a 450 bed hotel with however many golf lodges and houses. Two things strike me - firstly how will all those people manage to fit on 2 golf courses? Secondly has anyone checked the occupancy rates of similar hotels in Scotland? This hotel would be 4 times the size of Gleneagles and needs to be filled to realise the investment. Is it to be called The Trump White Elephant?

So even me with a basic business brain can see huge flaws in the arguments.

The there is the weather. Rich Americans will flock to play golf in Aberdeenshire in March when the rain is blowing horizontal in a gale from the North Sea - not! Why be in Florida or Arizona when you can experience the singular joy of an Aberdeenshire snowstorm. And we havent talked about the haar. Imagine it - the Open 2025 (for it won't be there much earlier than that if at all) the cameras ready to roll just as the haar rolls in. Has anyone told Trump about that. Even if they have I doubt if he listens much!

  • 131.
  • At 03:11 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • anon wrote:

Have to agreed with #106.

Coverage of this does not equate to a smear campaign. That is an absolutely ludicrous assertion. Do SNP supporters expect the BBC to simply ignore this story?

  • 132.
  • At 03:20 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • kevin wrote:

The only ones thats are putting this in jeopardy are the Lib-dems, tories and Labour well no so much Labour this time for obvious reasons but the important thing is to give this project the go ahead, this new goverment is a breath of fresh air to Scotland its actually laughable to watch Nicol Stephen on newsnight tryin to spit the words out cause he clearly hasn`t got a clue of the ins and outs. He`s just hopin that there is somthing, but instead he and the others parties should be getting behind the Scottish goverment for once and do whats wright for Scotland instead of tryin to score points against the SNP cause the media does that job for them anyway.

  • 133.
  • At 03:40 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Bill Stevenson wrote:

If any parties have to be investigated it should be the 'campaigners' and other 'protesters' who blight the way to progress in this country. No sooner than plans for anything are released the self interest groups come out of the cellar mounting their protest based on some kind of environmental issue most always related to some kind of personal issue. We don't all care whether a lesser spotted newt or some other equally obscure species survives or not, most of us want progress. If we keep giving in to these small, but vocal selfish interests our country will not progress. If these types had been around years ago most of us would not have an electricity supply!!

Our new government should be telling us what is good for us because asking us brings out all of the non progressive, blinkered and selfish groups who are at present prepared to make more noise to acieve their self-interested goals.

  • 134.
  • At 04:00 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • MB wrote:

There was an ecological impact that needed to be considered. The local council turned the project down on the basis it would please a few vocal campaigners on this issue. Salmond went against that to please the people who'll benefit from the jobs and financial input to the local community. The council acted in the interests of a select few. Salmond is acting in the interest of the entire North-East. If there is a "whiff of sleaze", then we need more of it to actually get something done against the parochial backwaters of local council attitudes.

More of a concern is how the Scottish Executive under Labour greenlit any rejected-then-appealed planning application regardless of its impact or protests. Hope this isn't a precedent for the Scottish Government.

  • 135.
  • At 04:03 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Dunc McPhail wrote:

At long last we have a first minister who can grab issues by the scruff of the neck and get resolutions that are good for Scotland.

Can you imagine what Jack McConnell would have done, he'd have hummed and haa'd, then asked Tony or Gordon what should he do. By that time Irish eyes would indeed be smiling, they'd have secured the 15 000 000 000 Euros.

Dunc McPhail

  • 136.
  • At 04:08 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • andrew thompson wrote:

I'm joining the Greens. They along with Martin Ford are the only folk who can claim to have any integrity in this sleazy saga of bullying and venal short-sighted cave in.

The Cooncil's treatment of Ford, who clearly did his job properly, and it has to be said, left the way open for Trump to appeal the decision in the normal way, is an absolute disgrace. It makes me ashamed to have any association with the North East and the doric speakers i used to hold in high regard.

If the SNP cave in to Trump's arrogant bullying it will be a sorry day for Scotland (and them). As for the Lib Dems - they become ever more pathetic by the day

So let us please have a full public enquiry, which is what we would have had if Trump had appealed the council decision, instead of running off to Big Ian in Co Antrim in a huff.

  • 137.
  • At 04:32 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Sally W wrote:

#48 was spot-on. The committe was divided 50/50 so the chairman rejected the application. It was always possible for Trump to reformulate it but instead he has choosen to bully and bluster his way through the process rather than let it run it's due, legal and allocated course.

Allowing someone to do this because they are rich, or because they are dangling £££ is wrong - sleezy if one wishes to use that word.

  • 138.
  • At 04:39 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Eddie wrote:

No-one has mentioned what will happen in relation to Scotland's "Freedom to Roam" in respect of this "development". Even the "Evening Trump" oops "Evening Express" reported people being harrassed by Trump's security people for crossing the land where he wants to build. Apparently "Freedom to Roam" is restricted in relation to golf courses (of which the area has 70 already!!), so that is one downgrading of this principle. Then when these championships happen there are sure to be greater restrictions. I come from Australia where you get shot at if you try to cross private land. Don't let this country go down the same road.

  • 139.
  • At 04:49 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • T. Burke wrote:

Like Caesar's wife, Ministers must be beyond even a sniff of suspicion that what they are doing is not quite right in terms of possible misinterpretation. While not for one moment do I believe that Alex Salmond is guilty of any impropriety, I do think that he showed poor judgement over that Meeting in the Aberdeen hotel. A politician of his astuteness should have known better.

In the case of the Planner conducting a professional telephone conversation in the presence of Trump representatives, I simply put that down to plain silliness and unbelievable naivety, not to any sinister motive. Obviously though the man needs some coaching on what is and what is not regarded as being "kosher" for a official in his position.

  • 140.
  • At 05:10 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Armand wrote:

Trump Town
Once the clumsy hand of National Government becomes involved in a project, the result almost invariably turns into an operational or/and financial fiasco which requires bailing out by the tax payer or by increasing the public sector debt.

Take the London Millennium Dome (now the 02 Arena). Costing over £800 million, we only now find out that it was insolvent from the day it opened and in the end could hardly be given away. Then, there’s the Hollyrood Parliament building, projected to cost just £60 million, the price tag to date is in excess of £400 hundred million!

Now the proposed Trump resort project hits the headlines and God help us, is in the hands of the Scottish Government! The local Aberdeenshire press leads the charge berating the Infrastructure Services Committee and its chairman Cllr Martin Ford for doing its job strictly in accordance with procedures and planning regulations. The land in question (some of special scientific interest) is neither zoned for housing, nor the associated infrastructure and social network underpinning it will require. Martin Ford is a highly educated, articulate and perceptive individual. Unusually for a politician, he is a man of integrity and honesty – what you see is what you get! We are advised that this golf project aka a 1500 unit urban housing development plus hotel will compensate for the job losses when oil runs out. Who is kidding who? At best, this project will provide ongoing new employment for between 1000 and 750 mostly on low wages! Golf courses are land extensive, employ few people and there is no guarantee that this one will become the Mecca of golf, given the weather we enjoy in this neck of the woods. Besides, Scotland is already very well served with quality golf courses.

Trump is first and foremost a businessman. He’s in it to make money, not act as a social worker just because of his Scottish ancestry. Neither has everything he’s ever touched, turned to gold. Projects on this scale take about 10 years to complete. There’s barely a mention of the infrastructure requirements, how much these will cost and who is expected to pay for them. Failure at any point in time is possible and could mean that the development is abandoned or curtailed – there are no guarantees. There’s also the question of opportunity costs. Scottish funds once spent here cannot be invested elsewhere to better advantage.

I’m reminded of the Aberdeen Airport hooha also orchestrated by the local press when 24:7 opening was approved by a slim Aberdeen City Council majority on the premise of expansion of air routes to almost anywhere. Holiday destination routes by Globespan we were then told, were ready for take off – which they didn’t for about 18 months and they now operate what is best described as a skeleton service. Monarch have ceased services out of Aberdeen altogether. British Airways have given notice to quit the Aberdeen/Gatwick route and still no airline connects the city with Stansted. When Easy Jet first operated into Aberdeen, it offered three return flights each weekday; now it’s only two and KLM too have reduced the number of flights into and out of the city. True, we now have a few new routes out of Aberdeen, but mostly these are supported by subsidy payments from the Edinburgh Parliament designed to cover operational costs to make them viable. So what happened to all the incoming tourist we were promised?

If I were Donald Trump, I too would want to bail out of a collapsing US $ currency and look for local public and private investment support, but my preference would be for the Euro zone. Dare I suggest that the chorus of support from the local pro Trump camp be underwritten by financial guarantees from their private resources? That way, if things go pear shaped, I know that my taxes will continue to support law and order, public services, the sick and the elderly.

  • 141.
  • At 05:21 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • S.ROBERTS wrote:

One more thought about this SNP shambles.Can you imagine how much a tape recording of Salmond`s `routine`meeting with the developers [when he did not mention once he was First Minister!] in that Aberdeen hotel would be worth?!!!
Hope you checked under the table Alex!Brown trouser time me thinks!!!

  • 142.
  • At 05:23 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Derek ld wrote:

#120
Perhaps you just don,t posess much imagination and/or don't get to speak to many people.
I am totally against the whole Trumpton project, I come from Falkirk and my political views have been described as being somewhere to the left of L Trotsky.

  • 143.
  • At 05:25 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Win Hornby wrote:

One thing in all this has never been satisfactorily explained. Why was the full council not permitted to have its say on the matter after the sub-committe made its recommendations? The local councillors and the local planners approved it but the sub committee were deadlocked so they went with the 'status quo' which is often the way in these situtaions, I understand. Why then did the full council not insist that it had the 'last word' at local level on such an importnat project . Is it normal that they should be debarred by some rule or other. IF so it seems to be madness.

It is clear from subsequent events that the sub-committee's decison would have been overturned and there would have been no need for the Scottish Executive Planning Officer, , Alex Salmond , John Swinney, Annabel Goldie, Nicholl Stepehen , or Phone calls with or without Trump representatives present and Uncle Tom Cobley and all to become involved.

Does anyone know the answer as to why the full council could not have pre-empted all this fandango?

  • 144.
  • At 05:30 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • J Titherington wrote:

I noticed that the fact that the Scottish Governement called the application in, PRIOR to an appeal being made (which is not what usually happens) was not mentioned. THe whole issue has been handled badly. The SG should not be involved, it's not a national issue. In addition, if any large developer (without a celebrity exec)planned on building 1500 homes and a resort, the application would not be likely to go straight through the council, SSSI or not. Not every one in Aberdeenshire supports this application (non-'environmentalists' included). No one is focussing on the real issues of the application, its lack of REAL economic benefit to the region and the holes in the application as it stands. Why? Why has no one told Trump that stabalising these dunes would destroy the qualifying features of the SSSI? Why was he allowed to think that a virtual new village would be easy to pass through planning? Why is Scotland pandering to the whim of a spoilt rich man?

  • 145.
  • At 05:33 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Karen wrote:

Just take a look at the pictures on http://www.trumpgolfscotland.com/default.asp to see what's there now and what Trump plans.

Part of Scotlands allure to visitors and a major attraction to tourists is the diversity of its environment. Changing this coastline to a gated, 'disney-like' Americanised golf and residential development would be a long-term disaster for this area. 8 stories high with towers on top and dominating the locality with no attempt to blend in! Plus 'Trump boulevard' has to stick in anyones throat, showing both his arrogance and distain for the local area.

Just to look at the range of opinions on this forum shows that opinion is greatly devided on this issue. The local Aberdeen press polls are not to be trusted. An initial poll by the Evening Express showed more against than for the Trump development. However the ability to vote against was removed, I'm told because of 'voting irregularities' in the against votes. However, having removed the 'against' voting they continued to allow votes for the development - and claimed this to be a true reflection of local opinion!!!

Given that the Infrastructure committee had studied all aspects of this proposal and come to the decisions they did, Trump has to be prepared to negotiate on his plans if he wishes to proceed, going down the correct appeal procedures. The 'sleaze' in this case is that, in calling the application in, in such an unusual manner, the Scottish Goverment give the appearance of colluding with him, even if that is not the case. Should they pass his application many people will mistrust the impartiality of the decision. A fully open public enquiry is the only way to go.

  • 146.
  • At 05:36 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Richard Murray wrote:

What has emerged sadly from this Trump debacle is that matters which have shaped contemporary economic life, i.e. self-interest and greed, have distorted the moral vision of some of our political representatives. I have never witnessed such craven acceptance of a developer's proposal by local politicians as this one.  

As Aberdeenshire Council were lacking experience in schemes of this magnitude it should have surprised no one that the Scottish Government called the application in, though the circumstances in which they have acted is to say the least open to interpretation.  The only way forward now is to have a full public local enquiry because there are many elements of the scheme that require rather more diligent examination than the blind acceptance of the proposer's analysis which represents the current engagement. The economic arguments simply do not stack up as some of the above correspondents have wisely concluded. Yet others still seem to be dazzled by an apparent crock of gold north of Aberdeen. But it's fool's gold as any student of business and economics will tell you. 

I am rather encouraged however by the recent Special Meeting of Aberdeenshire Council because, notwithstanding the crass behaviour of some councillors in sacking a committee chairman who was simply doing his job, a greater number kept their own counsel or supported Councillor Ford which suggests that at last future debate on this matter may be held in a more calm and rational manner. There is probably less support for this scheme than the local media would have you believe. I have discussed this in a wide circle of friends and I have yet to encounter someone who is in favour of it.

There is no reason why Mr Trump should not be given permission for a scheme that would be more sensitive to the objections that have been lodged against his current one.  But he and our politicians need to play by the rules. Modern business and economics requires honest dealing rather than deception and exploitation otherwise it becomes unsustainable.  That is is the kind of business that we as a community should be pursuing and the message we should be sending out to the rest of the world if they want to do business with us.

  • 147.
  • At 05:42 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • A. MacLean wrote:

For the last few days i have been listening to the environmentalists on the radio, news etc and i have no doubt that the gulf between Joe Bloggs and the tree-huggers has grown exponentially as i personnelly have never read or heard so much nonsense in many a year. The environmentalists are increasing sounding like religious zealots only interested in the own views.
Scotland needs massive investment and a clean out of the planners who could not in my view put a nut in a monkeys mouth.
Be gone with you and let Scotland flourish.
Just in case i do donate to Greenpeace

#120.

It's your imagination ... there was overwhelming condemnation of the plans to build on a SSSI during the outdoors programme (radio scotland) a week or two ago.

  • 149.
  • At 06:13 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Duncan wrote:

I'd hardly think that wishing to uphold laws designed to protect the environment could be described as "self interest". Without such laws, the environment we live in would degrade to such an extent that the things we regard as free (clean water, clean air, flood protection, crop pollination, green spaces) would disappear under concrete and filth. I think very few people would want to live in such conditions, and most do not realise that we owe our continuing existence to other species.
It is those who support the destruction of places that have been identified as important enough to protect (by experts with an understanding of the natural world and its functions) that are the selfish minority.
We have seen in other countries that destruction of the rainforests may bring short-term economic benefit to those responsible, but it has far wider long-term consequences. Destruction of our own precious habitats for the lure of potential quick monetary gain is just as short-sighted.
Beware what you wish for and try to think beyond your narrow field of vision.

Telfer (120),

"either Liberals or from south of the Border."

Hanging offences, obviously, but I, for one, plead Not Guilty on both counts.

But it occurs to me that if you're suspicious of folk from "south of the Border", why are you eager to embrace the odious American?

Salaam/Shalom/Shanthi/Dorood/Peace
Namaste -ed

  • 151.
  • At 06:16 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • David Owen wrote:

Well done Bill Stevenson (comment 124).
Commonsense and reason seem to have gone right out of the window as the tree-hugging extremists who we once (rightly) dismissed as cranks now hold sway over our daily lives.
These people will drive us back to the dark ages with their holier than thou, puritanical hatred of all development. I live in Aberdeenshire and I've yet to speak to anyone who objects to this scheme (although I keep reading their publicity in the papers). The truth is that this is a wonderful opportunity for the north East and can only bring prosperity to the region.
Ford had to go, you can't have a committed anti-developer at the head of your infrastructure committee. These people are elected to represent the views and promote the well-being of the people they purport to represent, not to push their own deluded views on the rest of us.
Well done to my three local Fraserburgh councillors who voted in unison to remove the North East's version of Swampy from this postition of importance. My only embarrassment was hearing Martin Ford speak and realising that, like myself, he hails from down South; it makes me ashamed to be English!

  • 152.
  • At 06:23 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Steve B wrote:

Alex Salmond not as committed to devolution in his own back yard, then.

I wonder how he'd feel about Gordon Brown "calling in" a decision the Scottish Executive had made?

  • 153.
  • At 06:49 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Matt Taylor wrote:

Just because you write in capitals doesn't mean it's true.
Just because it is reported in the media doesn't mean it's fact.

Why is the present administration above questioning?

I bet the Greens are wondering what on earth they were thinking of.

Oil -> SSSIs -> Granny

Roll-up, roll-up it's the great SNP Scottish Sale today


  • 154.
  • At 06:53 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Stookie wrote:

Looks to me that it was wee eck that got grabbed by the scruff of the neck" by the Trump team" It's high time this whole issue got the same treatment,Let's stick to the facts,Mr Ford was One of Eight who refused the Trump proposal,why stop at sacking him let's sack everybody who objected to the Trump plans let's throw away planning commitees throughout the counrty ,This is the kind of logic you numpties work on, simply because somebody comes along and says £1 billion investment but only if I can ignore the rules Even Ford believes that Trump would have got through the second application all Trump had to do was re-apply.Now what the heck was Eck and his mob thinking,the so called chief planner didn't or couldn't convince Team Trump to follow the normal planning route, a route that companies such as B.P. followed?.
And for those of you who keep banging on about the size of the investment the only thing that will happen here is small scale construction because Trump has stated he will "only build each phase when the prior phase has been sold",this could take years(It's called the drip effect) so please I know you aren't used to big numbers but come on if we dont have an enquiry into this bungling then anything the SNP does in the future will ridiculed.

  • 155.
  • At 07:12 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Alan Fleming wrote:

Nicol Stephen is a second rate politician who is trying to score a cheap point. It is now beginning to backfire and he is looking rather foolish.

  • 156.
  • At 07:36 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Rob Anderson wrote:

To those who criticise the Scottish media for their pro-union bias - the Scottish media are in a position that they have never been in before. They are faced with the possibility of an independent Scotland for the first time in 200 years. If you accept that they have taken it upon themselves to exert some control over the Scottish people, be it in a minor or major way, and that they did this to maintain the union at all costs, then this position must terrify them. They see the very real possibility that the separation will happen during 'their watch'.

This is the only explanation I can come up with for the way that the pro-union bias within the Scottish media has risen to the surface, both since May, and more blatantly recently with the Wendy incident making many realise how different her treatment by the media would have been if she was an SNP MSP.

  • 157.
  • At 07:37 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Phil wrote:

Comment to Bystander (comment #121)
What if Mr. Trump is really considering building one of the world's largest Casino's in Scotland, everything (housing etc) fits doesn't it?

  • 158.
  • At 07:43 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • J Stevenson wrote:

I seem to remember, when a committee got it wrong in the opinion of a majority of councillors, the full council simply suspended standing orders, reconsidered the matter, and reached the "right" decision. Have the rules changed?

  • 159.
  • At 08:49 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • john allan wrote:

The North East needs this investment, of that there is no doubt. Just get on with it and stop being so parochial...

  • 160.
  • At 08:55 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Tom Berney wrote:

This seems to me to be a complete non-story. I'm honest enough to admit that I have no idea about the detailed merits or demerits of the proposal, but the phoney attempts by opportunist politicians and our sensation addicted media to make this some kind of scandal are ridiculous.
The Aberdeenshire Council got itself in a fankle over a quirk in their rules that wierdly prevented the whole Council from voting on a proposal most of the Council support.

The Scottish Government used the perfectly proper procedures available to them to get them off the hook.

The local MSP, Salmond, was asked to meet the potential investors. It would have been a clear dereliction of his MSP duty if he had refused to discuss something with such a potential impact on his constituency.
He also as First Minister has a clear responsibilty to consider the wider interests for Scotland. Obviously he should not use that position to benefit his constituency over others, but equally his constituents should be penalised for it. No other constituency was in competition for the scheme.

The Council want the proposal to go ahead. There is now a possibility that it will not be prevented by the bureaucratic fankle Aberdeen found themselves in. Where is the sleaze - other than in The LibDEm mindset?

  • 161.
  • At 10:12 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • PMK wrote:

I think it is very unreasonable to say that snp supporters just want this story ignored! Want it seen in perspective, it is not a big deal everything was done by the book. Why was Wendy Alexander not met with this inquisition when she freely admitted having broken the law?

  • 162.
  • At 10:19 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • David wrote:

If this is the standard of polictical debate in Scotland then the union is justified! There is a lot of opinion, very few facts and a lot of hobby horses - for and against. The point being lost is the value of democracy- it does not matter if you believe the Trump spin (by defintion this is no more objective than the environmental lobby). We have local plans which are debated and agreed locally in accordance with the law. If the development gets the go ahead without serious modification then democracy and the rule of law in Scotland is dead. If people are willing to put a few dodgy bucks before all their country has stood and fought for for centuries then the thought police and 1984 can't be far behind. Anyway, if this development is really in Scotland's interest then it wouldn't be allowed north of the central belt! I have still to meet an ordinary member of the public who is for this development and I have no faith in any polls that say there is a majority in favour! Most people in any event are so ignorant of the facts that they can't make an informed view anyway - all we get from all sides is propaganda. This is the real sleaze - we'll decide for you and to hell with democracy.

  • 163.
  • At 10:19 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Glaswegian wrote:

Re accusations regarding John Swinney and Alex Salmond...

From: The Scotsman online, 1 May 2006

"YOU'RE HIRED, JACK TELLS DONALD"

Donald Trump has agreed to join the GlobalScot business network. Jack McConnell met Mr Trump in Aberdeen at the weekend. Trump plans to develop a £274 million hotel and golf course in Scotland.

During his weekend in Aberdeen overseeing the development of a £274 million hotel and golf course, Mr Trump had a meeting with Mr McConnell where he agreed to become the latest, and most prominent, member of the GlobalScot business network. The initiative promotes Scotland's interests in other countries.

Yesterday, Mr McConnell, who has been accused of overstepping his ministerial responsibilities for supporting Mr Trump's golf project before it has even received planning permission, said the businessman was perfect for promoting Scotland.

He said: "Donald has shown me a real passion for Scotland. He is a globally recognised figure who can help us to promote Scotland. I am delighted that he has taken up my offer. This is a good bit of business for all concerned."

The full (unedited) story can be found at:

http://news.scotsman.com/donaldtrump/Youre-hired-Jack-tells-Donald.2771689.jp

  • 164.
  • At 10:19 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Rab o'Ruglen wrote:

From the Royal and Ancient Burgh, greetings!

I'll say this much for that Alex Salmond, he doesn't half get things moving.

Within a few weeks of taking power industrial dereliction in the Burgh that had taken positively years and years to reach that state - abandoned buildings, old railway sidings, a few jobs hanging on by the skin of their teeth in leaky workshops SWEPT AWAY and replaced by a brand new Tesco Extra!

Former massive railway yards beside the station, the treasured scene for the tentative beginnings of many a junior Ruglonian's sexplorations SWEPT AWAY in preparation for the M74 Extension.

How many more summers will I be able to stroll through the pretty chromium waste deposits down to the banks of Clyde and lie in the fragrant fields of cannabis while watching the sun set over what is left of the Hoover Factory? All soon to be SWEPT AYAY in the "improvements" associated with the Commonwealth Games Village.

Its not as though we have not done our best to prevent such wanton destruction of our environment, for we've always elected cooncilors mostly whose proudest item on their CV's was to be the Shop Steward's Convenor of this or that factory now long gone or in its terminal, protracted, death throes. We've consistently elected arguably one of Scottish Labour's least prominent MP's. (And goodness knows, there's some stiff competition for that title.)

We approved in silence for 25 years while the late lamented Glasgow District Council, in partnership with the equally lamented Strathclyde Regional Council managed in all that time not to spend a single damn brass farthing in the place.

"Please God, is there anyting more we can do to break this cycle of destruction? This terminal addiction to voting Labour. Should we vote Green?"

"NO MY SON. YOU NEED NOT DO ANYTHING AS DRASTIC AS THAT. JUST VOTE LIBERAL."

  • 165.
  • At 10:36 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Elizabeth wrote:

Don´t believe the hype of money into your pockets if a golf course comes your way. I remember a story about a place in Mexico, where the town declared itself independent of the government to stop such a plan. They figured out that very little of the investment would actually end up doing them any good. Not only that. On the contrary. Valuable resources would be redirected for the golf course and they would just be left with the caddie jobs, carting the rich guys around for a few pesetas. They knew how to do their maths.
The Trumps want to money to go their own pockets, not yours.

  • 166.
  • At 09:59 AM on 15 Dec 2007,
  • WILLIAM FEATHERSTONE wrote:

Politics aside.
This is all a Question on what do you do if ANYBODY let alone Donald Trump coming along and saying to a Local Community, " Look hear you ALL, I am willing to spend £1 Billion Pound's in your Local Area to cut Local Unemployment, and bring in New Inward Investment, but ONLY if I get to choose on what MY Money should me used for.".

Now, at this stage you either choose to be brought up to date into this 21st Century, or you you DON'T, for in this Case " MONEY TALK'S", and in Real Time, so it's either Deal, or NO Deal.

So this all about GREED, as for Politic's, well that has very little to do with this Issue.

  • 167.
  • At 10:22 AM on 15 Dec 2007,
  • PeterClose wrote:

What a load of piffle!!!!

Give the whole kit and caboodle to Northern Ireland then!
I'm sick of hearing about it.
Then we can look from afar at an opportunity missed.

The sea will reclaim the dunes in years to come and the SSI and there will be nothing left.
Enjoy it while you can,those of you who have ever seen it or walked it or even knew it existed!

  • 169.
  • At 11:47 AM on 15 Dec 2007,
  • Bob Weir wrote:

Councillors at local levels throughout the Country have shown time and time again that they do not have the intellect to deal with issues of this magnitude. Far too many are simply there as they had the biggest mouth on the run up to elections or are simply interested in expenses. It is absolutely correct that the Scottish Government, representing all the people, call this and any other similar project in.

  • 170.
  • At 11:48 AM on 15 Dec 2007,
  • Dave "Boy" wrote:

S. Martin #121 you are absolutely spot on.

Although a Glasgow resident, I have been on the Balmedie dunes and around the Ythan estuary countless times - the memories I have from this fantastic, unique place will stay with me forever.

I hope to be able to show my children the area in the near future. It would be a tragedy if it were to be built over.

I wonder how many others on here making comment have actually visited the area.

  • 171.
  • At 01:00 PM on 15 Dec 2007,
  • Ken Kennedy wrote:

I personally agree with the decision to call in the application, what i do not agree with is the vilification of one single councillor for what he felt was the right decision to make.

On a point of clarification however he has not been sacked as councillor but removed from the chair of the committee by a vote of no confidence which is one of the democraticrigths of members to call for when they feel that a chair is in an untenable posistion for whatever reason.

As with the whole sleaze thing, i can see where the opposistion are coming from, it is exactly the same as what the SNP would have done in that situation and i think everybody knows that, it is the job of the opposistion to scrutinise the workings of the executive, and i personally do not think that we should be critisisign them for this.

  • 172.
  • At 01:24 PM on 15 Dec 2007,
  • paul wrote:

I am ashamed to live in Aberdeenshire in fact it is an embarrasment to the entire country, to go grovelling and fawning after a man with lots of cash is not even worthy of a third world government. The council voted No so that should be the end of it.
As for the subsequent sacking, a shame on those wasters who abstained from the vote no courage or no conviction take your choice.

  • 173.
  • At 06:50 PM on 15 Dec 2007,
  • Robin wrote:

Saul Landau's new film, WE DON'T PLAY GOLF HERE (on globalization in Mexico), which won the VIDEOFEST 2007 Award for best activist video, may be relevant both with respect to the previous comment and to the ongoing discussion. But that aside, what sort of blindness to our contemporary predicaments allows some people to indulge without blushing in such worn out insults as "tree-huggers" for those whose concern for the environment, global as well as local, has been shown to be more moderate than alarmist? Will some people never ever learn?

  • 174.
  • At 08:30 PM on 15 Dec 2007,
  • Stookie wrote:

Good letter in the Herald today that throws some light on why wee Eck and skinny Swinney acted the way they did. It goes something like this. If Team Trump had re-applied and been rejected then the whole thing was down the drain but. by saying they would not be re-applying gives the Gov the chance to Jump in.What needs to be asked is did Eck & John have this scenario covered it looks to me that they thought they were ahead of the game. If they did plan for this, hell mend them, If found out then they will have destroyed all the positive stuff that others have worked hard for.
Brian should ask Swinney if he had told the chief planner to explain to Team Trump that by not re-applying it would give the Gov the chance to call in the application.

  • 175.
  • At 12:30 AM on 16 Dec 2007,
  • Illiam wrote:

From what I have read of the proposals from Trump corp.,I am not particularly minded to be in favour of their current proposals, as they do not appear to take sufficient account of the local environment or the SSSI. Nevertheless, I feel it is important that commentators separate their views on the proposed development from their views on Alex Salmond's conduct and that of the SNP ministers who, on the evidence so far, have done nothing illegal, inappropriate, or 'sleazy'.
It is the job of opposition parties and the media to keep the Executive under scrutiny, but the accusations of sleaze are based on no more than the kind of bog-standard political opportunism to create something out of nothing which characterises our political culture.
To this extent, the opposition parties are doing no more or less than one should expect (although you would still be entitled to be disappointed at the kind of politics it represents), but I have to say that, like many other contributors, I am very disappointed in the BBC's complicity in trying to create the impression of wrong-doing - particularly in their 'uncovering' of information that was made available in a press release from Alex Salmond's office and which was reported in the local press at the time. This is very shoddy stuff indeed and comes across as the kind of politically motivated misreporting that we expect from the red tops - but is not at all what the BBC should be about. You are there to provide balanced reporting and to redress misinformation - not to propogate it.
On the issue of the development itself, whilst I am opposed to the current proposals, I would point out that it is perfectly possible for a development to satisfy both economic and environmental requirements - it is now up to the Executive to ensure that this balance is met.

  • 176.
  • At 10:51 AM on 16 Dec 2007,
  • boudica wrote:

155 right on the button ..
This "Project" sounds more of a Millionares Playground and all the locals will get once it is built is menial jobs that is if the Illegal Immigrants dont get there first either in the building of it and the cleaning of the out of price houses or running the bar etc of the Rich ...Yep that is what we want for Scotland ...it reminds me of the Highland Clearances the locals didnt matter then either they were just thrown off their land so the Big Money Boys could make more Money ..So much for Wee Eck listening to the People ...It is the Guys with the Big Money who have his Ear ..Notice how Sturgeon who gave McConnel a hard time over his dalliance with Trump ..sat with her Mouth tightly Shut ...

  • 177.
  • At 04:02 PM on 16 Dec 2007,
  • James M wrote:

The LibDems already committed political suicide by suggesting sleaze when they could not point to any wrongdoing at all.

The local papers and north east business community are aghast at their behaviour over £1 billion investment.

I'd be very surprised if their latest wheeze of an inquiry gets Tory support as they know what the views of the North East business establishment are and are not prepared to go on a kamikaze mission which allows the SNP to have the monopoly on business support in the area.

Very silly moves by the LibDems. Overplayed their hand for a cheap headline which will now lose them vat loads of votes.

I wonder what the Trump organization will think of the proposed Merger? Scotland's Four Neurosurgery Units to Merge?
The proposed merger is one of the proposals being considered as a result of the Kerr Report.
More than 25,000 signatures have been collected in the North of Scotland and presented to the Scottish Parliament calling for the merger to be dropped and for Aberdeen to keep its neurosurgery unit. Aberdeen's Neurosurgery Department provides services to over Three Quarters of a Million residents from Grampian the Western Isles, Highland, Orkney and Shetland. And they want to "downgrade" it.
Now a draft report says two of Scotland's three specialist child cancer centers should be "downgraded" to create a single super clinic under a controversial plan drawn up by health chiefs.
Key aspects of child cancer diagnosis, treatment, research and training would be withdrawn from Aberdeen and Edinburgh and concentrated in Glasgow under one option being considered. This can not be allowed to happen to the people of Northern Scotland.

  • 179.
  • At 10:51 PM on 16 Dec 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

The FM is guilty - guilty of ensuring Scotland's best interests are maintained. The local councillors within Aberdeenshire Council were not reflecting the needs or will of their local communities when making this decision. In my opinion they were solely acting in their own interests to safeguard some picture postcard idyllic way of life which cannot sustain a local economy and population.

  • 180.
  • At 11:53 PM on 16 Dec 2007,
  • Will Wall wrote:

Advert from the fictitious:

Entrepreneurial Gazette

Business opportunity for those who have available collateral and wish to become owners of part of “The Greatest Small Country in the World” with the added bonus of making a profit. Sounds too good to be true! Not at all please phone us at Aberdeenshire Council 01224 ****** where you will be put into contact with the people in the know. No area of this ancient country is of limits for any development be it SSSI or National Parks as long as you can show that you will be providing jobs, no matter how menial and coupled with some low cost housing for these workers then you will be able to get what you want.

Please respond to Box: Whitehall 1212 in the first instance and all correspondence will be kept in confidence on 2 CD discs and unavailable to the general public.

This offer might be short lived so treat it with urgency before the gates close. Looking forward to a long and prosperous association with yourselves.

Lets hope that some truth and honesty will come out of this debacle and leave Mr Trump to fight his litigation battles over the pond before we entertain any more of his bullying over here.

  • 181.
  • At 04:26 AM on 17 Dec 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

Dear oh Dear Boudica appears to be nothing but a disgruntled English Person who seems to take rejection very badly.

My own theories are that the poor English are starting to see the possibility of a world without Scotland giving it the protection of Scots. Go forth into the world boudica but do not multiply for christs sake.

You have a Prime Minister called Gordon Brown, who according to the latest YOUGOV poll on Scotland who has 64% of Scottish Voters thinking he is disappointing while 63% of Scottish People are very happy with the SNP Scottish Government. The latest poll shows 40% of Scots now favour starting negotiations on ripping up the Act of Union.Gordon Brown also only rates at 22% in a choice between him and Alex Salmond. Alex score 50% by the way.

Get real madam and stay down in your country if you are unhappy. We Scots do not wish or need English opinions on the future of our Country.Yes we can remain close friends but that entails you lot doing your thing and our lot doing the our own thing the Scots Way.

  • 182.
  • At 06:18 AM on 17 Dec 2007,
  • Uncle wrote:

Donald Trump brings nothing of value to Scotland.

Luxury 2nd homes and private golf courses do not benefit anyone except developers. Once construction is finished, there will be no jobs -except for grass cutters and gate keepers. Few Scots will be able to live there.

If he wants to build a shipyard employing thousands, or something like it, his billion would be welcome. But then, the British government is spending several billions on Scottish built ships for the Royal Navy and all the SNP can do is scheme to destroy that relationship.

It is this hypocrisy that is the real sleaze. The SNP are no good for Scotland, they are too busy hating the English and blaming them for everything to be a constructive government. Their bigotry hurts Scotland to the extent that it is they who are 'anti-Scottish.'

  • 183.
  • At 07:59 AM on 17 Dec 2007,
  • Fed up Voter wrote:

Diversionery politics again by Nicol Stephen, the man who was invisible as Enterprise Minister and delivered nothing. And what did he do with the Aberdeen Western Periphial Route? Fudged it by passing it to Tavish Scott who then picked a route that was never discussed as an option!
Come on Nicol do what your are paid to do and work for Scotland not selfish party politics.

  • 184.
  • At 10:09 AM on 17 Dec 2007,
  • Ed Gray wrote:

Yes, there is a smell here.

A smell of horror amongst partisan unionists that the SNP government is running rings around your old established order whilst barely putting a foot wrong – and the stench of rank hypocrisy from specious allegations of “sleaze” against the SNP whilst Labour in particular are openly and hopelessly immersed in it, BOTH at Westmintster and Holyrood.

S. Roberts: – Simply because you do not like or agree with a political view does not legitimise allegations of “sleaze” against it.
Contrast Labour. The Holyrood building fiasco; the Hutton stitch-up; Cash for Honours; this year’s election fiasco; the loss of “protected” data; Wendygate, etc, etc … Even John Major has had just cause to condemn the Labour government for scraping new lows in standards, even worse than the Tory government!

Is there an experienced, well-informed commentator who does not recognise this “row” for the desperate political points-scoring that it is?
Even the CBI are backing the SNP’s handling of it!

Nicol Stephen, meanwhile, is increasingly isolated, not least by his own rank hypocrisy.

  • 185.
  • At 10:11 AM on 17 Dec 2007,
  • meezer wrote:

Whoever said the electorate was behind the Trump Organisation and their Golf town for the rich ?
Bully tactics and waving dollars in our faces, are we not better than that ?

Sell out to the Trumps if you want, but dont expect support from myself and a lot more free thinking individuals.

shame on you Salmond !

  • 186.
  • At 11:24 AM on 17 Dec 2007,
  • Al Muir wrote:

Sleaze? Don’t make me laugh. Big misjudgement quite possibly.

Sleaze should only be claimed if the members of the government could be found with their pockets full of other people’s cash.

Despite all the harrumph of the Tories being the sleaze party of the 90’s, not one shred of evidence could be shown that they were. It was only individual people like Neil Hamilton, (but there again, it was never proved in a court) that gave the Tories a bad name.

The only party that has come close to sleaze is Labour with its rather unfortunate acceptance of money for internal election campaigns.

But again, that is hardly taking bribes, though some of the English donations may yet be shown to be rather less palatable than our own Wendy’s mistake.

  • 187.
  • At 12:18 PM on 17 Dec 2007,
  • Englebert Humperdinkle wrote:

#11 - Cheap political points... something that the Scottish Nose Pickers have excelled at for years.

  • 188.
  • At 01:16 PM on 17 Dec 2007,
  • alan wrote:

Alex Salmond must be astonished that he’s under fire over this! I was a fan of Nicol Stephen up until now! Donald Trump could’ve easily walked away had he not been thrown a lifeline by the First Minister. Nicol Stephen thought he could score a few easy points over the SNP but instead he’s made himself and the party look childish.
Are we now expected to have inquiries into all MSP’s actions? Ridiculous!

Alex Salmond should have been sacked if he had NOT intervened and just let Donald Trump walk away.

  • 189.
  • At 01:23 PM on 17 Dec 2007,
  • B McFarlane wrote:

Why would the other parties kick up such a fuss about the First Minister, hmmm let's see:

Labour : To deflect attention away from the illegal donations to it's leaders' so called 'election' fund. This has a strong overpowering smell of sleaze.

Lib Dems: To deflect attention from it's stooge on the planning committee who made the blunder in the first place. Another strong whiff of unpleasantness.

Greens: Who will oppose anything which does not involve us getting back to nature and hugging a few trees. I smell something not sure what is is though.

  • 190.
  • At 01:54 PM on 17 Dec 2007,
  • JR wrote:

If we turn up our nose at anyone at anytime that walks through the business door with offerings of $1bn to invest, we need to dust off the stone circles and start howling at the moon again. We will not see the likes of such an opportunity to enhance the quality of life of a geographical area during our life time.

  • 191.
  • At 02:02 PM on 17 Dec 2007,
  • Edinburgh Bloke wrote:

So then, all this heat (but little light).

So a wee quiz - which senior Scottish Labour person said, in an off-guard moment:

"Oh they have probably done nothing wrong, but it muddies the water and takes the heat off Wendy".

So is that what this is about - keeping Ms Alexander's back covered?

  • 192.
  • At 02:29 PM on 17 Dec 2007,
  • S Samson wrote:

Could someone please advise Donald Trump that now would be a good time to keep his nose out and his mouth shut. Whilst he is interfering in our domestic affairs the most critical thing is that our planning system is falling apart. No one will want to be part of any consultation procedure now because of the damage that has been done. Any confidence that there was in the system has now been eroded. If the Govt truly wants to put this matter back on course they should revoke the call in and leave things as they stood. Mr Trump still has the option of appealling. What I don't understand from the Trump side is that they welcomed the call in. This will only result in a public local inquiry, exactly what Mr Trump did not want. Can someone please explain the system to Mr Trump and encourage him to keep his own counsel until this matter is sorted.

  • 193.
  • At 02:58 PM on 17 Dec 2007,
  • A, Aberdeen wrote:

So now Donald Trump is intervening in Scottish politics?! Today's quote from the Trump camp: "The politician responsible should cease and desist before real and permanent damage is done." It's astonishing. This bullying never, ever ends. So presumably Nicol Stephen is his next target...

  • 194.
  • At 03:13 PM on 17 Dec 2007,
  • A, Aberdeen wrote:

So now Donald Trump is intervening in Scottish politics?! Today's quote from the Trump camp: "The politician responsible should cease and desist before real and permanent damage is done." It's astonishing. This bullying never, ever ends. So presumably Nicol Stephen is his next target...

  • 195.
  • At 03:35 PM on 17 Dec 2007,
  • JR wrote:

If we turn up our nose at anyone at anytime that walks through the business door with offerings of $1bn to invest, we need to dust off the stone circles and start howling at the moon again. We will not see the likes of such an opportunity to enhance the quality of life of a geographical area during our life time.

  • 196.
  • At 04:15 PM on 17 Dec 2007,
  • djmac wrote:

Brian,
Oh boy!!
Is there a headline going to come back and haunt you more than this one, given today's developments??

Not the finest hour? you ask!

How prescient your headline is for one N Stephen, erstwhile leader of the Fib-Dem Party in North Britain.

  • 197.
  • At 08:13 PM on 17 Dec 2007,
  • Matt Taylor wrote:

OK so noone, yet, has managed to convince me:
1. why is the SNP administration above questioning?
2. what piece of Scotland isn't for sale to the right 'investor' packing the right number of $$$ bills?

What a sad and sorry state to be in.

  • 198.
  • At 08:57 PM on 17 Dec 2007,
  • David wrote:

I am amazed at how many people think there is an economic benefit from Trump's plans to anyone but the rich? Aberdeen and NE Scotland has a high tech energy industry. This is where inward investment is needed to ensure skilled, well paid jobs for the future, and not jobs for poorly paid serfs at the beck and call of rich foreigners. Where is the vision and leadership to take Scotland forward? This development will not replace the oil and fishing industries and is unlikely to have much of a ripple effect through "tourists" venturing outside the devlopment. Time to wake up and smell the coffee!

  • 199.
  • At 10:10 PM on 17 Dec 2007,
  • Craig M wrote:

Do we want a billion dollar investment in Scotland, yes or no? Do we want a Celtic Tiger economy, yes or no? Do we want economic prosperity, yes or no? Can we afford to be so choosy about such an investment, yes or no? It would seem for some people the answer is no.

Opposition politicians are calling "sleaze" but still want the development to happen. If sleaze is indeed involved then they are in favour of a developer who would abuse the laws and authority of a country. So let me get this right, are they are in favour of sleazy investors? Or is it just the case that they need a wee brown envelope left in their pidgeon hole at the Parliament to quieten their discontent?

It is a down right disgrace the politics of opportunism going on here. A £1bn investment in the north of Scotland shouldn't be sniffed at. I'd rather hear the opposition politicians talking about what needs to be done to make this investment happen than trying to score cheap political points that are damaging to Scotland.

Have these politicians not got other pressing business to get on with... you know the stuff they got elected to deal with. They are certainly wasting too much time and putting too much negative pressure on the kind of investment Scotland needs.

Inward investment=Exported profits

Simple
http://home.btconnect.com/tipiglen/3rdworld.html

  • 202.
  • At 03:26 PM on 19 Dec 2007,
  • Steve wrote:

At last we might get to the bottom of this ,if the committee has the bottle to ask the right questions. As stated there is a lot of cross party agreement on this project,but that does'nt get away from the fact that Trump was tipped off as to how the normal planning process could be avoided.The principal of the thing is at stake here, regardless of how much for or against the scheme you are we must have rules and investors who are prepared to work within the rules , we also deserve politicians who will work within the rules. Stick to the facts, stop being blinded by the so called £1 billion, so far that's all Trump has banged on about ,well that and Nothern Ireland.

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