Donald Trump does not make money from Golf Courses; He makes money from buildings.
The plan for a new "World Class" Golf Resort at Balmedie, north of Aberdeen, is not about the new golf course, although in fact golf courses do have an environmental impact, it is about the fact that the new luxury hotels, house and apartments are essentially building a new small town on an extremely sensitive site.
Aberdeenshire Council Planning committee were right to consider the implications of the project very carefully. The fact is that with oil at $100/bbl, there is not a problem for jobs in the north east. The question comes down to the environment and the infrastructure: the environment is sensitive and the infrastructure is inadequate. In the event the planning committee decided that the project should not go ahead. So far, this is just another planning decision.
What happened next is disgraceful.
After meeting with representatives of "The Donald", the First Minister decided to call in the decision for review- ignoring the fact that the full council of Aberdeenshire had decided to do just that in any event. In the meantime, those local councillors who had voted against this grandiose project were attacked- physically. As usual, the SNP have ignored local authorities- they simply want a centralised- separatist- government in Edinburgh. rather than genuinely local decision making.
Mr. Salmond has been hob-nobbing with big business a lot recently- and the transformation from "Scottish Social Democrat"- or even radical Socialist- as Jim Sillars or Margot Macdonald might have termed themselves- into Tartan Tory is almost complete. Several Tories have already privately said to me that they already function in an informal alliance with the SNP.
Doubtless, Mr. Salmond's cosy little meetings with the Trump Organisation have fostered a good understanding. "The Donald's" Resort will doubtless get built- and Aberdeen will extend north as far as Newburgh bar on the Ythan estuary. The site of special scientific interest will be destroyed in the name of greed- and Alec Salmond can open the resort in the name of the pork barrel politics that his porcine features are becoming increasingly familiar with.
It is not right that the wishes of local residents can be railroaded without even a sensible debate- the resort is not an unalloyed good for the north east, neither is it free of cost, but all of that is being ignored in the name of the quick buck and the short term- and we will rue the day that this ever happened.