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The ugly truth
Menie Voices has been written in order to combat the selective and biased reporting of the Press and Journal. In December 2009, the editor of the P&J launched an attack on the protest group Tripping Up Trump (TUT) stating: “This newspaper has given a voice to all those who have wished to become involved in the debate about Donald Trump’s plans. That courtesy was extended to Tripping Up Trump in the belief that it was bona fide group of local environmentalists. Today, it has been withdrawn.” Following this statement there has been a complete block on the group, with views that represent the Trump organisation more than the local people. Their main argument for this media block was that TUT is not a local group, but this was a false attack. The campaign is based in Aberdeenshire with thousands of local members, including the families in Menie. The group is fighting Trump’s development in order to protect families’ homes and a fragile and rare environment; standing up for Aberdeenshire residents when the council won’t. This is not an easy task, greatly hindered by a media block. This is only one example of the media hiding the valid, and in this case urgent, voices of Aberdeenshire people. The Union Terrace Gardens debate has a similar ring. The P&J wields considerable power, being the most read and only widely read Aberdeenshire paper; a power which is greatly abused. Blocking the voices of legitimate and open groups such as TUT is a direct attack on people’s rights. This paper has been produced to show some of the other side of the story which the P&J refuse to publish.
DELIVERED TO 40,000 HOMES ACROSS THE NORTH EAST
A damning new report has been released exposing a trail of intimidatory behaviour and half-truths at the heart of Donald Trump’s development at Menie.
The report published by Andy Wightman - a prominent researcher, writer, and analyst – has recently hit the desks of officials and executives across Scotland and sheds light on the truth behind the Trump Organisation’s controversial development. In a detailed analysis of events over the past 5 years, the Wightman Report outlines in stark detail just how the Trump Organisation has consistently misled the public about its real intentions. It also reveals the stress and intimidation experienced by ordinary peaceful and law-abiding citizens of Aberdeenshire.
Trump economic claims exposed
Inside Today’s Menie Voices
Read the damning report on Trump’s aggressive tactics P4
What happened to the local jobs that Trump promised? P3
The revelations about how the Trump Organisation has behaved in pursuit of the “greatest golf course in the world” are sure to re-ignite the debate about the future of this damaging project . One of the most startling claims is how Donald Trump has deliberately tried to intimidate the families based around his land at Menie. The report shows how the Trump Organisation has deliberately grabbed land from the residents, destroyed their water supplies and used security staff to intimidate and harass in an attempt to make sure the people of Menie know who’s boss. Threatened resident Molly Forbes said “The security were really annoying at first because they came down six times a day. They just came down and then turned and went back and then about half an hour after they were back again ...... just for nae reason ..... it was just just hassle.” Another shocking insight was that the Trump Organisation has been building earth mounds around the homes that are blocking the views of the families. It was reported that the former head greenkeeper, Paul O’Connor, refused to construct the earthen mounds at the residents’ home ‘Hermit Point’ and to destroy trees next to another home ‘Leyton Cottage’. Both were contraventions of the planning consent and both operations were carried out. Wightman reveals how Donald Trump, on a visit to Menie,
Local residents celebrate campaign success P2
Donald Trump: gestures
instructed his staff to “get rid of that house”, pointing at David and Moira Milne’s home. This report also compiles evidence on how there is media bias from the two city papers, the Press and Journal and the Evening Express, but even more worrying, how the Trump Organisation appear to have a “hot line” to Grampian Police. A police source in the report confirmed that calls from Menie Estate are “dealt with as a priority.” Grampian Police have been called out on 30 occasions in response to allegations made by the Trump Organisation including accusations against local walkers, horse riders and journalists. One of the horse riders commented “Two big fancy blacked out range rovers turn up and four Americans in suits jump out of each one and start accusing me of the vandalism.” These findings draw into question the role of the police in the Trump debate. To date, they have provided a special service to Trump’s private development in comparison to that provided to other citizens of Aberdeenshire. For too long, many people in Scotland and the north east have been ignorant of the true nature of Mr Trump’s grandiose scheme due to a biased media. Wightman’s report will help to better inform people about whether or not the project is something the new Scotland should be proud of. Andy Wightman’s report “Donald Trump’s Ego Trip, Lessons for the new Scotland”, can be downloaded from: www.trippinguptrump.com
We have had fantastic support from the rest of the media throughout this country who seem to understand that if this development is to proceed we will be losing and threatening much more than we will ever gain. Please visit our website and find out the real story behind the spin: www.trippinguptrump.com
Aberdeen’s economic prosperity threatened due to Trump’s objection P3
Donald Trump: misleading claims
Donald Trump appears to have misled decisionmakers in order to get approval to build his golf resort on a protected nature conservation site at Menie.
Mr Trump’s key claim before he got planning permission was that his destruction of an important wildlife preserve was justified because of economic benefit to the region. Now Professor Paul Cheshire of the respected London School of Economics has challenged the report produced in 2008 for The Trump Organisation which Mr Trump used to woo councillors and the Scottish Government Professor Cheshire has given several examples of assumptions in the report which he claims are implausible and wildly optimistic. This includes estimates
that thousands of jobs would be created during the course’s construction phase and assertions that only 20 per cent of jobs will be taken by non-Scots once the resort is operational. He said Mr Trump’s resort would reduce the bookings at other hotels in the region more
of those figures,” said Professor Cheshire. “If a non-Scottish firm is selected almost all expenditure may be to non-Scots. I understand the actual firm is Irish based and is neither using local labour nor local materials.” It is clear Mr Trump’s resort will be like a gated community and will be run to maximise spending in franchised shops and restaurants within the property, meaning that spending in the local economy will be minimised. This contradicts the hope that money from the resort will benefit the rest of Aberdeenshire and sheds light on the way the public have been fed a biased and one-sided version by Mr Trump and his supporters. Meanwhile, the resort will place heavy demands on local public services such as roads, water and sewage. A significant proportion of these costs will have to be paid by Scottish taxpayers.
“Mr Trump’s treatment of the north-east is like using the toilet in a café without making a purchase,” said local resident Susan Munro.
Future of Scottish Golf proves not to be a safe investment P2
“The actual firm is Irish based and is neither using local labour nor local materials.”
heavily than predicted, and he challenged the claim that construction of the course would create between 4,700 and 7,000 jobs. “While the number of jobs will be more than zero, it will in my judgement be a good bit closer to zero than even the lower
“Mr Trump’s treatment of the north-east is like using the toilet in a café without making a purchase”
Professor Cheshire said the worst distortion was the assumption in Mr Trump’s 2008 report that ‘all jobs will go to Scottish workers’. “Given that the resort will be run by international luxury groups, even some of the more senior management will come from outside Britain. I would not be surprised to find that 80 per cent of employees were non-Scots,” he concluded.
The film they tried to ban is a Box Office hit in North America P3
Can golf drive the economy?
Local jobs, local joke
March of Menie
Hundreds of protesters snaked through the sand dunes North of Balmedie in autumn last year in support of the families under threat from compulsory purchase orders (CPOs). The event was a huge success and brought people from all over Scotland and beyond to the once protected natural site. James Tulloch from Aberdeen said “The event was amazing, it felt like we were a clan marching through the dunes, we wanted to send ‘The Donald’ homewards tae think again.” Since then the Trump Organisation have been pressured to back down from CPOs and understandably
Hundreds of protestors marched through the dunes at Menie
this is a very positive step forward. However, the Trump Organisation are still taking action to disrupt the lives of the local residents so the Tripping Up Trump campaign are committed to continue to support the families who have been repeatedly bullied, harassed and intimidated. There will be another march congregating at Balmedie Visitors Centre at 12pm on the 5th of June with lots of fun events for all the family. The campaign urges all those concerned about the issues surrounding this development to come along and join in. See www.trippinguptrump.com more details. for
Don with the wind
Jobs at risk as Donald Trump seeks to block key renewable energy development.
North-east business leaders and environmental campaigners are worried that a key renewable energy development may not go ahead because Donald Trump has demanded the plan be shelved. After several years of development, plans for the Aberdeen Bay windfarm are at an advanced stage. The scheme involves installing eleven turbines of different designs to allow their performance to be measured in offshore conditions. It is seen as a crucial development if Aberdeen is to become a leader in offshore renewable energy technology. The windfarm is planned to be sited just north of Aberdeen. But Aberdeen’s chances of replacing oil jobs with work on renewables are in jeopardy because Donald Trump says the windfarm will be visible from his Menie estate. The tycoon claims the windfarm could spoil the view, so it must not go ahead. heritage’.
Trump tried to stop an offshore windfarm initiative like this one from developing in the North East
Luck of the Irish: Irish firm get Trump jobs
Two and a half years after Donald Trump got planning permission to build at Menie there is no sign of the massive employment boom Trump and his political backers promised the area. In fact, there is little evidence of any local employment at all. To date, Mr Trump has chosen to employ an Irish contractor, SOL Golf Course Construction, based in County Cork, while two local companies he did hire - Les Taylor Plant Hire and Grampian Building Contractors - have both collapsed whilst working on the site. There is yet to be any significant evidence of local employment in the construction of the project. Mr Trump also pledged there would be local employment opportunities in maintaining the resort once it is complete. These would be basic-wage jobs in the hotel and in cleaning the exclusive holiday homes - and the majority of these jobs would be seasonal. In similar resorts, few visitors are present outside the summer months. Now, new doubts have been raised on the number of jobs likely to come from Mr Trump’s resort. ‘London School of Economics’ economist, Professor Paul Cheshire, has described the economic projections claimed by Mr Trump to be ‘implausible’ and ‘wildly optimistic’. Meanwhile, one area of economic growth that should certainly generate significant future employment is under threat from Mr Trump. The proposed Aberdeen Bay windfarm is a key project for the development of offshore wind energy. Yet Mr Trump is attempting to block construction saying it will spoil his view. So far, at least, Mr Trump is threatening to destroy more jobs than he has created.
Supporters of developing Aberdeen’s renewable energy industry have accused Mr Trump of hypocrisy. They fear that future jobs and investment will be lost if Mr Trump gets his way. Mr Trump said. “These turbines, if ever built, will in one fell swoop destroy Scotland’s magnificent natural heritage. They are noisy, unsightly and we will oppose the siting of this windfarm vehemently. Every component of our project is based upon sea views and we cannot allow the construction of what is tantamount to 11 65-storey structures off our beautiful coastline.” The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre said the project was “potentially of huge importance to Scotland, the wider UK and Europe”.
The golf course Machrihanish Dunes in Kintyre is a great example of sensitive development
When a recession bites savings have to be made. So for many it is goodbye to the membership of the gym and so long to that sun splashed cruise in the Caribbean that you have been promising yourself.
Golf clubs are especially vulnerable as can be seen by what has happened in Scotland over the last twelve months. The mega-exclusive Loch Lomond course, synonymous with Royal patronage, film stars and high profile tournaments was accused of fraud and negligent misrepresentation as it went into administration with debts of around £100m. The historic Machrie links on Islay has followed suit with its hotel closing and 15 of the 18 staff being sacked as administrators move in.
Despite having the 2010 Open Championship on its doorstep the Letham Grange hotel and golf club, once styled as the Augusta of Scotland, has also closed its doors in Fife firing all its employees. Yet still Donald Trump persists that two new courses and a hotel complex in Northern Aberdeenshire makes commercial sense.
not on the tourist radar. Golfing visitors from other parts of the UK should increase as the strong Euro means golf in traditional hotspots like Spain and Portugal can now be cripplingly expensive. But once again this is likely to be at the traditional, well known links courses. And many excellent courses are often simply overlooked because they do not have a high enough profile. In Aberdeen there are already three superb courses within easy striking distance of one another: Royal Aberdeen, where this year’s Walker Cup match is taking place; Murcar Links and the stunning Cruden Bay. A once grand hotel stood at Cruden but it closed through lack of custom. It is only through green fee paying tourism that many courses will survive combining attractive tourist packages and various discounted membership schemes to encourage students and family membership, otherwise membership will become ever older being the only ones who can afford to play regularly.
Campaign against CPO forces Trump climb-down
The threat of being forced from their homes by compulsory purchase orders has finally been lifted from residents living next to Donald Trump’s Menie estate. After more than two years of bullying by the billionaire businessman, Mr Trump has finally accepted he will not be getting his neighbours’ land to add to his private housing and leisure development. Local group Tripping Up Trump was at the forefront of the successful campaign against compulsory purchase. And Aberdeenshire councillor Martin Ford was one of the high-profile figures who campaigned for the residents being threatened by Mr Trump. He welcomed Mr Trump’s climb-down over compulsory purchase. Cllr Ford said: “The families at Menie threatened with compulsory purchase have shown great courage and strength.” While Mr Trump has now publicly stated that he will never seek compulsory purchase of homes at Menie, some residents remain wary. Mr Trump has several times changed his position on whether he does or does not want additional land, including residents homes, to expand his proposed resort. “It would be foolish to trust any assurance from Mr Trump about anything,” said resident David Milne.
Aberdeen’s chances of replacing oil jobs with work on renewables are in jeopardy
In a bizarre twist, the tycoon, who is bulldozing a Site of Special Scientific Interest to build a golf course, claimed the windfarm would harm the coast and ‘destroy Scotland’s magnificent
2010 Open Championship course, Letham Grange, has closed its doors
Unlike, for example, the quality small scale development undertaken in Kintyre at Machrihanish Dunes, where an old hotel is being lovingly restored and a small village of homes created, Trump is planning to build what will be more like a small town in an area that has a short enough season as it is because of the weather. Elsewhere amongst the Scottish courses it is only the best known, and those that appeal to the American and Japanese markets that can say they are doing anything other than marking time. St Andrews will always pull in the tourists, as will Turnberry and there is invariably spin off whenever an Open championship takes place. Courses around Turnberry on Scotland’s west coast reported a surge in green fees from visitors in 2009 as did some better known Fife courses last year when the 150th championship took place. But it still could not save Letham Grange which, without any marketing budget, was
Media on Trial
The Scottish Media his a maist vital role, Scrutinisin’ the powerful should be their goal, Bit mair an mair are getting inti bed, Wi fowk faa’s interests are business led. Oor eence respected paper the P&J, Is noo rollin aboot in the hay, Wi business chiels faa’s only thocht, Is seein fit influence their money his bocht. Fin “jump” the mannie Trump dis cry, The P&J jist asks foo high? Nae langer a paper o gweed repute, Its unbiased status is doon the chute. Fae TUT fowk they rin a mile, Trump’s reputation they winna defile, Mair an mair see throwe their game, Ti help oor Donald enhance his fame. The P&J micht rue the day, It’s lack o indulgence in fair play, Kent by some as the Trump Gazette, Investigative journalism nae langer met. © Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2010
Launch of “You’ve been Trumped”
The 90-minute feature film has been completed by Anthony Baxter’s independent production company Montrose Pictures, but has already received support from an Oscarwinning director, and an internet trailer for the film clocked up 50,000 views in just a week. The film premiered at the largest and most important festival for documentary films in North America - the Canadian International Hot Docs Film Festival – with more than 130,000 people attending screenings last year. You’ve Been Trumped, directed by Montrose man Anthony Baxter, looks at the social, economic and environmental effect of the £750 million development at the Menie Estate, north of Aberdeen. Mr Baxter was handcuffed and arrested while making the film, in what the National Union of Journalists described as “a blatant example of police interference aimed at stopping bona fide journalists from doing their job.” It is one of a handful of films that has been chosen to be used as an educational tool by more than 50,000 Canadian secondary school students, from 267 schools. “You’ve Been Trumped” is being incorporated into the official Canadian school curriculum –teachers and students across the country will be discussing the social and environmental issues raised in the film A global campaign to finish the film to theatrical standards has raised more than £20,000 -- more than half the target -- in less than a week, with donations coming in from Australia, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Brazil, Norway, Spain, France, Switzerland, and Sweden in addition to the UK. Mr Baxter said he was overwhelmed by the amount of support the film has received. “We’ve been flabbergasted that over 50,000 people have watched the YouTube trailer in less than a week,” he said. “And we’re immensely grateful to the large numbers of people -- most of them complete strangers -- who have sent a contribution.” The trailer of “You’ve been Trumped” is available for anyone to watch online:
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Many excellent courses are often simply overlooked because they do not have a high enough profile.
What is needed is teamwork and creative solutions amongst existing clubs to pull in more visitors. Not more golf clubs, especially on this giant scale.
Menie residents saved from threat of Compulsary Purchase
Artistic license has been used in the writing of this poem
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