Friday, 10 February 2012

Dog in Manger Throws Toys out of Pram

Do you remember this one?

Updated today with this:

And, all the more extraordinarily, with this:

News also reaches us via The Herald of a letter which Donald Trump has written to Alex Salmond MSP, Scotland's First Minister.

Trump Declares War on Scotland

In a withering letter, he tells Mr Salmond that by encouraging the construction of offshore wind farms, "you will single-handedly have done more damage to Scotland than any event in Scottish history" 
Later, in a radio interview, he said that included wars. 
Mr Trump has been fighting against 11 off-shore turbines which he claims would spoil the views from his new championship golf course at Balmedie. He has already declared no more work will be done on his planned hotel, 950 holiday homes and 500 houses until the fate of the wind farm is decided. He has also demanded a public inquiry, and a decision is expected within four months. 
However, in his letter to the First Minister, Mr Trump paints a wider canvas: "You seem hell bent on destroying Scotland's coastline and, therefore, Scotland itself". He says he could never support this "insanity". 
"As a matter of fact I have just authorised a member of my staff to allocate a substantial amount of money to launch an international campaign to fight your plan to surround Scotland's coast with many thousands of wind turbines – it will be like looking through the bars of a prison and the Scottish citizens will be the prisoners," the letter adds. 
Mr Trump says tourists would not suffer because there would not be any coming to Scotland because of the wind farm policy. 
He questions the economic wisdom of Scottish ministers laying such store in wind energy: "For the record, taxing your citizens to subsidise wind projects owned by foreign energy companies will destroy your country and its economy. Jobs will not be created in Scotland because these ugly monstrosities known as turbines are manufactured in other countries such as China. These countries, who so benefit from your billions of pounds in payments, are laughing at you." 
You'll see that the article points out that Donald Trump promises to finance an "international campaign" against windfarm developments all over Scotland. Extraordinary.

Being residents of Aberdeen, Scottish, interested in energy policy, interested in planning issues, etc as we are, these outbursts seem almost comical in their hyperbole to us.  But then we realise that we, perhaps, are not the intended audience of Donald Trump's polemics. Nor, perhaps, are the political figures to whom he has nominally addressed these paroxysms. No, the intended audience of Donald Trump's outpourings might be exclusively made up of his existing stakeholders. Last summer, blaming the global downturn, Donald Trump pulled back from his originally promised development of a "high class" [sic] golf resort with five star hotel, condominiums, luxury villas and the like. Now Donald Trump finds himself with a development which some have suggested that he cannot finance, and from which it has been said that he cannot profit.

The BBC sought a response from the Scottish Government, and got this choice quote:

Scottish waters are estimated to have as much as a quarter of Europe's potential offshore wind energy. A recent study suggests that harnessing just a third of the practical resource off our coast by 2050 would enable us to generate enough electricity to power Scotland seven times over. 
Adding to this, Niall Stewart, who is Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables said:
Who is Donald Trump to tell Scotland what is good for our economy and our environment? Offshore wind is already attracting billions of pounds of investment and supporting hundreds of jobs across Scotland. 
That Donald Trump has chosen to try to stand in the way of this juggernaut - picking a fight which (surely even he knows well) he cannot win, might be seen on the face of it to be ill-judged and foolhardy. Particularly perplexing is that Donald Trump chooses to pick an unnecessary fight, for, as Niall Stuart also points out - there is absolutely no reason whatsoever why these developments cannot exist side by side. 

When these facts are appreciated, some people might conclude the following: that Donald Trump's outbursts over the last few days are not intended to influence Scottish Government energy policy; the statements are not intended to win hearts and minds in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire; they are not aimed at "saving Scotland" as Donald Trump asserts; and nor are they intended to promote his golf course. Those same sceptics might believe that these polemics are, rather, aimed at saving face. Sceptics as they are, they might be tempted to think that, confronted with what could be seen as the prospect of failure at Menie - instead of accepting responsibility for what might be seen as an ill-judged investment and own up to what could be understood as management failures; rather than draw attention to his financial situation or just admit that, as some might say, he appears to be beaten - Donald Trump must find an external reason outwith his control; something to blame. Those same sceptics might be tempted to say that he needs a scapegoat by which to deflect the attention of his investors, backers, fans, boosters and other key stakeholders away from what might be interpreted as his burgeoning personal and corporate failure in Aberdeenshire.

But we would never say such things about a man and organisation we respect as much as we do. We daren't.

The necessity for Scotland to have future prosperity based upon an energy supply which does not jeopardise the atmosphere appears, the sceptic might conclude, to offer Donald Trump just that way out.

So, if the sceptics are proven right, who are we to stand in the way of what could be understood to be Donald Trump's face-saving exit strategy? But if and when he does go, we will miss such entertaining spectacle as he has provided for the last five years! 

Haste ye back!

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