Alex Massie

Does Donald Trump Need Your House?

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Well, if he thinks he does you should be afraid. This has nothing to do with the absurd "Donald" being American and everything to do with the looming reality that folk will be compelled to sell their homes to accomodate his desire to own an even bigger part of Aberdeenshire.

To recap: Donald Trump wants to build a couple of golf courses on the Aberdeenshire coast. He also wants to build nearly 1,000 "luxury houses" on the site. Apparently the main course is supposed to be the "Geatest Course in the World". Well, maybe. It is hard to see how the ghastly holiday village can even pretend to make such a comparable claim.

But now the Trump organisation thinks they need more land. Which means they need to buy out a handful of owners who are, rather spendidly, opposed to selling to Trump. Not a problem! Apparently. It seems that all this extra land will, in the end, be covered by a compulsary purchase order.

Yes, really. This is reminiscent of the Kelo case in the US and will doubtless be justified in the same fashion: ecomomic activity = public good = justification for compulsary purchase.

This is, of course, poppycock. A road or a railway may be a public matter; permitting Donald Trump to turf folk out of their homes is not.. No matter how much money might be involved.

So count me a supporter of the admirably bloody-minded sods determined to block this land-grab. Here's to David Milne and Michael Forbes who say they won't sell their houses:

If residents refuse to sell, Trump can go to court to obtain a compulsory purchase order that would force residents to sell him their land, but Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. said after the meeting that his father wants to negotiate directly with the people involved.

Resident Michael Forbes, who has been a vocal opponent of Trump's plans, said he would fight to keep his property. "I sincerely hope this goes to compulsory purchase, because it will drag through the courts for years," he said. Forbes has already refused an offer of 350,000 pounds ($565,000) to sell his family's run-down farm.

Another resident David Milne also said he would not sell to Trump.

"My home is not for sale, I have already told Mr. Trump's people this," he told reporters after the meeting. "I intend to leave my home in a horizontal box, not at the behest of Mr. Trump."

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Trump is a child and a foolish one at that. He may have bought off the First Minister and the council, but that doesn't mean he and his development have the right to help themselves to any part of the countryside them deem they need. It will be a disgrace if his efforts to buy this land and this poperty go to a compulsory purchase order. If Trump really needs this land then he should be prepared to pay a fair price for it: which means the price set by the owners.

That might be tough, but too bad. Mr Forbes and his allies are, to use a fine old Scots word, admirably thrawn. And lang may their lum reek in their ain hames...

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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