The Scottish documentary that’s trumping Trump!
Kay Demabior, Environmental Correspondent
Donald Trump sports a personality as vast as his empire, a bank account as hefty as his private, personalised jets and a comb-over as infamous as his business ventures, making him no stranger to the limelight. Earlier this year Trump had been featuring as a standing joke on the late night comedy scene as he doggedly obsessed over obtaining US President Barack Obama’s birth certificate. But recently ‘the Donald’ has been attracting attention as a result of some increasingly sinister business here in the UK.
Scottish film maker, Anthony Baxter, eloquently chronicles Trump’s ruthless destruction of the untouched and environmentally treasured North Aberdeenshire coastline, with the intention of constructing his newest business venture, The Trump International Golf Links (TIGL). The film follows the struggles of the local residents, who have been contesting the billionaire’s scheme since he purchased the land on the Balmenie Estate. The 208 kilometres of unspoilt coastline varies from long stretches of clean golden sand dunes to dramatic rock-shingle beaches, creating a wildlife haven. University of Glasgow’s, Dr. Jim Hansom (featured in the film) refers to this area as Scotland’s “equivalent of the Amazon Rainforest”. Yet in spite of all this, in 2008 Scottish ministers gave Trump the go-ahead to destroy the dunes and erect two 18-hole golf courses, a luxury hotel, 1,000 holiday homes and 500 private houses to establish what Trump is calling “The greatest golf course in the world”.
Although the British and Scottish government have given the business tycoon carte blanche to bulldoze the north Aberdeenshire coastline, he sorely underestimated the resilience and determination of home owners in the area. The film paints Trump as a money hungry industrialist, hell-bent on making a quick buck at the expense of the environment, and his own actions on camera only work to reaffirm his reputation. In one particularly memorable scene Trump scornfully slates a Balmenie land owner, calling his abode a “pig sty”, whilst, in truth, the continued construction of the Trump’s courses has been depriving local residents of basic necessities such as running water.
Trump, who briefly flirted with the idea of running for US presidency, sold his concept to the Scottish parliament under the supposition that the links would generate upwards of 6,000 jobs for the local community. However, it has recently been discovered that the contract has been given to an Irish company which is said to be predominately using its own labour force.
Baxters engaging documentary has been gathering a lot of steam since its release at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and is now expected to make a splash at its New York premier later this month. The Documentary has already earned itself a plethora of awards including The Green Prize, the UK’s top environmental award, The Edindoc Festival Award and the Sheffield International Festival Award. As expected, Trump himself met the documentary with a cavalier disdain, calling the film “boring” and accusing the filmmaker of being a “fraud”. The documentary candidly addresses the serious subject alongside some humorously crafted undertones, leaving the audience to decide whether the short term economic gain is worth the long term environmental loss.