"Menie, it’s the greatest,” claimed the bullish, blowhard Donald Trump five years ago.
The Menie estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, is now 'a gated estate'. Roads have become pot-holed tracks: rights-of-way have disappeared, or are blocked. Residents are under siege. There are notices on gateposts saying legal action is likely if you continue to access, ‘No-Through Road’ signs, locked gates, Trump International Golf Links security and Grampian Police vehicles. It's only a matter of time before a drone starts following folk about.. Oh, and there's a new road imaginatively called Trump Boulevard, leading to a links golf course built on shifting sands - a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Permission for a second course at Menie go before Aberdeenshire planners in 2013. "It will explore the beauties of the land," claims course designer Martin Hawtree, waxing lyrical on plans for further destruction of biodiversity and bulldozing of the Menie dune system. “The sea of heather-clad undulations, the isolated small lochs, the network of burns.." Dr Hawtree has also been charged with the modification of half the holes on the St Andrews Old Course, before 'the home of golf' plays host to the 2015 Open Championship. His proposed changes have caused outrage among golf purists and other course designers. After watching 'You've Been Trumped', the film which exposes intimidation and collusion at Menie, golf expert Kevin Munt has called for a boycott of the courses. On his website, he writes:- 'I only want the wind to blow constantly from the south so the.. mobile dune system might bury the place. I do not believe any golfer with a conscience, having watched this documentary, could pay Donald Trump a £200 green fee to go on his course and enjoy their round'. Golf Monthly editor Bill Elliott, who is also chairman of the Association of Golf Writers, has joined those calling for a boycott of the course. He has pledged never to set foot on the links.
The news that former US President Bill Clinton is to come and play a round at Menie has led to gushing worthies looking out their best summer frocks. A spokeswoman for a local dry-cleaning firm said that Clinton's visit would bring a welcome surge in business.
Citing economic reasons overriding environmental concerns, the Scottish National Party-led Government may have approved Trump's golf development, but the love-fest between First Minister Alex Salmond and the bullying billionaire is over. They have fallen out over a proposed offshore windfarm in Aberdeen Bay 7K from Menie. The 11 turbines are part of the Scottish Government's ambitious plans to achieve 100% of the country's energy needs from renewable sources by 2020. This week on Twitter, Trump has clashed over the windfarm with Sir Alan Sugar, his counterpart Apprentice on British TV. Trump's obviously thinking about Clinton's visit, ending his tirade by tweeting:- 'Drop to your knees, Sugar, and say thank you.'
Recent developments include YouTube censoring a spoof cartoon of Trump performing 'Bohemian Rhapsody', and Grampian Police receiving 300 complaints over their high-handed arrest of the two film-makers working on 'You've Been Trumped'. A follow-up by the film-makers is to explore the political fallout from the Menie development. It will examine progress on the gaudy hotel which Trump proposes (recently downscaled from 450 to 120 rooms), and his luxury holiday housing project which has yet to be specified. It will also look at other horrific golf course developments around the world.
On November 29th, Michael Forbes - the farmer whose 'Local Hero' and David-and-Goliath-style battle with Trump was highlighted in the award-winning documentary - was honoured at the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Awards, and named “Top Scot” of the year after a public ballot. Winner of a Global Scot award himself last year, Trump claims the Top Scot award to farmer Forbes is an “embarrassment” for Scotland. He describes Grants, makers of Glenfiddich, as a “bad liquor company”, and told the whisky distillers that the award is a “publicity stunt”. Previous winners of the Top Scot accolade include Sir Chris Hoy and JK Rowling.
Trump will take on the Prince of Wales in 2013. There's not many folk left whom he hasn't alienated. As exit strategists go, his historical role model must be General Custer.