I haven’t sat through the whole film yet, but I’ve seen enough trails of it to fill me with concern about the activities of an American millionaire in the north-east of Scotland.
“You’ve Been Trumped”, by the Scots film-maker Anthony Baxter, has been awarded the Green Prize at the recent Sheffield Documentary Film Festival. Judges at the festival have been quoted as saying: “We hope that this award will raise awareness and hold Donald Trump to account for his environmental and social belligerence, and expose the corruption and incompetence at the heart of the Scottish authorities which let this destruction go ahead.” Strong words.
The film is about the activities of Donald Trump, who has continually rode roughshod over the concerns of local people as he creates what he describes as the “greatest golf course in the world.” Plans for the course include a luxury housing development and a top-class hotel.
It could be claimed, as our leaders Alex Salmond and John Swinney believe, that such a development is good for creating jobs and will bring a top class facility to the Aberdeen area, but it is the way that Donald Trump has gone about his business that has disgusted many people. His organization responded to the Anthony Baxter film with typical bluster and rudeness - something of a Trump trademark;
“Anthony Baxter has no credibility, and from what we have seen the film has been widely regarded as a failure,” a statement read. “We deal with national and international reporters and film-makers on a regular basis who handle themselves with professionalism and integrity. Baxter has neither attributes – he is a fraud and this film is a poor attempt at making money off the Trump name.”
But what is most concerning about this whole issue is that during the making of the film Baxter was charged by police with a breach of the peace. The charges were later reduced to a written warning, and eventually, after a challenge by Baxter, they were thrown out by the Procurator Fiscal.
To date, Baxter has received no apology from the police and the question has to be asked – who put the police up to it? What kind of hold does Trump have over the local constabulary in Aberdeenshire and why, when a respectable journalist is going about his legal business, is he arrested and charged with a breach of the peace?
Indeed, Paul Holleran, the Scottish boss of the National Union of Journalists, has apparently accused the police of doing Trump’s bidding in arresting Baxter and seizing his camera equipment. In a letter to the Sunday Herald newspaper he said: “The film raises some essential questions that should be directed towards the Trump organisation, the Scottish government and Grampian Police.”
The whole issue raises many questions about land use and land ownership in Scotland, issues that many people thought had been dealt with in the Land Reform (Scotland) Act of 2003, but it is extremely disquieting when a designated SSSI is dumped to make way for someone’s personal money making ambitions; is it even more disquieting when the country’s First Minister becomes involved and overrules the decision by the local council; and it’s positively worrying when it appears that the police appear to be taking sides.
And meanwhile, the remaining residents on the Menie Estate are being intimidated on a regular basis, according to the film.
“You’ve Been Trumped” received its Scottish premiere last week in Aberdeen. I hope it soon goes out on general release. The whole situation is a shame on Scotland.