August 05, 2016
Still, the golf course was eventually made, and by all accounts, not only Mr. Trump’s, it is indeed a very fine course, even though it seems that so far, not many rounds are being played. On the other hand, few of the promised jobs have materialized, and the other promised developments have been stalled. Sometimes we are told that this is on account of the world economic crisis, sometimes because Mr. Trump has other things on his mind. Well, of course, we know he has and may have more after November. On the other hand, you might think that the Trump Organization is big enough to get on with building houses without needing to have the boss on hand acting as gaffer.
The real reason is that there has been a falling-out with the Scottish government. The bromance was over even before Mr. Salmond ceased to be First Minister after he lost the independence referendum in 2014. Mr. Salmond was”still is”an enthusiast for renewable energy. Wind farms have been constructed all over the Scottish hills, and now it’s all speed ahead with offshore wind farms planted in the seas around Scotland. One was planned within sight of Mr. Trump’s golf course. This was intolerable. The view would be ruined and golfers, being sensitive to natural beauty, wouldn”t come. “Tough,” said the Scottish government. The great deal-maker couldn”t persuade them to fall in with his wishes. Perhaps Mr. Trump’s assertion that Alex Salmond was “a disgrace to Scotland” didn”t help his cause. He went to law to try to get the plans for the wind farm rejected. The Court of Session in Edinburgh said, “No way.” He went to the U.K. Supreme Court in London. The Supreme Court said, “No way.” Mr. Salmond mocked his former buddy as a “three-time loser”; a spokesman for the Trump Organization derided Mr. Salmond as a “has-been.” It was a sad end to a beautiful friendship.
The golf course is there in Aberdeenshire, though it is said to be losing money. So too is Turnberry, which Mr. Trump bought after he started his Aberdeenshire venture, though golf writers praise the remodeling of that course and admit that he has improved what was already one of Scotland’s finest links courses. (There are mixed views of the refurbishment of the hotel there.)
It’s all rather sad. I don”t know if Mr. Trump still proclaims his love of his mother’s homeland, but Scotland no longer seems to love him. The Scottish government has stripped him of his role as a Global Business Ambassador for Scotland, though I don”t know that he ever did much ambassadorial work. Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen has revoked the honorary degree it awarded him, and when he flew in for a few hours for the reopening of Turnberry, some spectators waved Mexican flags.
Meanwhile, of course, he has other things on his mind, bigger fish to fry. Again, I don”t know if a majority of the American people will vote to install him in the White House. I just hope that if they do, his boasted deal-making skills are more in evidence than they have been in his ventures here in Scotland. On the evidence of his performance here, I wouldn”t trust him to negotiate anything more complicated than a reduction in the price of a hotel room on a wet out-of-season Sunday at a run-down seaside resort. But who knows? He may find Vladimir Putin easier to deal with than Michael Forbes, might even engage in a new bromance with the man in the Kremlin who is said”on what evidence, I don”t know”to be keen to have The Donald in the White House.