A clash of two monstrous egos will occur in the Scottish Parliament today when Donald Trump, the American billionaire who is intensely proud of his Scottish antecedents (his mother hailed from the Western Isles), confronts First Minister Alex Salmond. Only the former will be present, in person, at Holyrood’s energy, economy and tourism committee; but the SNP MSPs on that body will more than adequately reflect their master’s voice.
Formerly close allies over Mr Trump’s plans to build an impressive new golf course in Aberdeenshire – at least part of which is in Mr Salmond’s constituency – the two men have fallen out badly over the SNP administration’s approval for an off-shore wind farm, which the US property developer has said will spoil the view from tee to green.
Mr Trump, who fought a long battle for permission to build the links course, has complained that Mr Salmond’s determination to provide all of Scotland’s energy needs from renewable sources, including wind power, by 2020 is wrecking the landscape and ruining the tourist industry. Mr Salmond has pointed out that wind farms create thousands of jobs and, escalating the spat to new heights of acrimony, he told the Scottish Trades Union Congress in Inverness yesterday that those who have invested in Scotland should not think that they owned the country.
However, as opposition to wind farms grows, it might be wise if the First Minister recognised that securing 43 per cent of the vote on a turn-out of just half the electorate – his winning margin in last year’s elections – does not give him the liberty to ignore public opinion.
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