Trump’s broken promises anger Scottish village
In a Scottish village on the shores of the North Sea, US president-elect Donald Trump is nothing but a nuisance neighbour for many local residents.
The golf resort he owns in Balmedie has congratulated the tycoon on his stunning election win, but members of the community said he broke promises on creating jobs and rode roughshod over concerns about construction.
Locals also complain about the six-foot (1.8 metre) wall the billionaire developer had built around Trump International Golf Links, drawing an analogy with the barrier he is planning for the Mexican border.
“This local area here was promised 1,400 jobs, a five-star hotel, two golf courses, an equestrian centre and God knows what else and we’ve got nothing,” said Michael Foote, whose property overlooks the course.
His advice for the American people? “Good luck.”
The resort actually employs around 95 people and made an annual loss of £1 million (1.1 million euros, $1.2 million) in 2014 and 2015, according to company records.
As he worked in his toolshed, fellow resident Finlay Munro pointed to Trump’s wall on the border of his own property and grumbled about the businessman.
“He’s not a very nice neighbour. We’ve had a lot of issues with him over the past 10 years,” Munro told AFP following Trump’s election triumph on Tuesday.
The announcement that Trump, whose mother was Scottish, intended to build a luxury golf course in was initially greeted with great fanfare in 2006.
He was appointed a Global Scot, a business ambassador scheme for executives with Scottish links, and the regional government overruled objections from residents about the impact on the environment.
The Scottish government has since withdrawn the post following Trump’s remarks about banning Muslims from entering the US and he was stripped of his honorary degree by the nearby Robert Gordon University.
“Mr Trump’s recent remarks have shown that he is no longer fit to be a business ambassador for Scotland,” a government spokesman said in December.
Trump International Golf Links, one of the tycoon’s two golf courses in Scotland, gained the support of the Scottish government after promising thousands of jobs and a £1.0-billion investment.
But relations quickly turned sour when Trump began intervening in local politics and the scale of the project turned out smaller than originally planned.
Trump lodged an objection in 2013 to a wind farm off the coast of his development, and went to the Scottish parliament to warn it would destroy Scottish tourism.
However, he was unable to provide any evidence to bemused lawmakers other than: “I am the evidence,” and he later lost the legal action against the wind farm.
– ‘Scotland a microcosm’ –
Anthony Baxter, a filmmaker from Montrose, a town near the golf course, has documented Trump’s activities in Scotland for the last decade.
His first film “You?ve Been Trumped”, was followed by the sequel “You’ve Been Trumped Too” to coincide with the US election.
“Scotland is a microcosm of what is about to be unleashed on the world through Donald Trump’s presidency,” he said.
“He says of course that he’s going to build a great wall between Mexico and the United States and we know here in Scotland he has form on walls.
“He built walls around the homes of the local residents so that they couldn?t be seen by people playing on his golf course,” he said.
Trump was greeted by angry protests when he visited his golf courses as Britain was voting in a referendum on EU membership in June, in his first foreign trip since he became the Republican nominee.
He has at least one vocal local supporter, however.
Sarah Malone, executive vice president at Trump International, hailed the reality star’s election victory in a statement “on behalf of the entire team”.
Trump and his family “have fought an incredible campaign that has engaged the world and will define history”, she said.