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Trumping democracy

donald_trump.jpegDonald Trump’s plans to build a massive housing estate on a coastal nature reserve north of Aberdeen is still very much alive. The (unelected) Chief Executive of Aberdeenshire yesterday publicly backed Alex Salmond’s decision to “call in” the democratically elected local planning committee’s rejection of the plans. Our First Minister wants to overturn (oops, ‘review’) that decision, after private meetings with Mr Trump’s people which have been widely criticised as ‘sleazy’.

Doubtless the lure of a billion dollars (sounds bigger in US currency) “investment” in the local economy sounds great to planners responsible for easy ways to create ‘jobs’… especially when dressed up as a glitzy golf course (for which we’re currently so badly provided in Scotland). And I can almost understand how provincial media, politicians and bureaucrats are so easily seduced into permanently destroying our priceless heritage by the supposed glamour of dealing with an experienced developer like Mr Trump.

But I feel let down by Alex Salmond. Perhaps naively, I’d have hoped for better from him. This sort of ‘development opportunity’ asks big questions about the sort of nation we are, and want to be. Do we really just see our future measured only as consumers of economic output, selling our real long-term assets for a quick buck, knowing the price of everything but the value of nothing. Or shouldn’t we be thinking more twenty-first century? Isn’t Scotland a place where ‘quality of life’ should count as well as ‘standard of living’? Can’t we shape a nation in which irreplaceable nature reserves that give our natural landscape its character are recognised to have real value, even if the economists can’t count the tourist dollars? Come on Alex - be a Local Hero!

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Reader Comments (2)

Didn't they make a filma baout this called Local Hero? Oh that was a couple od decades ago? Jeez seems some stupid ideas never go away.
January 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterStuart
Avoid the Trump at all costs! Really. Do yourselves a favor.
February 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteroperaghost

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