wed 23/07/2014

You've Been Trumped, BBC Two | TV reviews, news & interviews

You've Been Trumped, BBC Two

Powerful David v Goliath polemic pitches Donald Trump against the citizens of north-east Scotland

Trump: 'a gammon-faced, lizard-eyed, overcombed Goliath'

It has never been easier to get sucked into a warm, simplistic sensibility which portrays every rich capitalist businessman as corrupt and amoral, but you spend 90 minutes watching Donald Trump in action and you start to wonder. If Trump didn't exist you suspect Martin Amis would invent him. He would probably call his caricature of a dastardly US business tycoon Donald Shit.

Anthony Baxter’s powerful, unashamedly partisan film pitches a number of principled Davids against this gammon-faced, lizard-eyed, overcombed Goliath. The story begins in 2006, when Trump first set his sights on the Menie Estate, just north of Aberdeen, as a home to Trump International Golf Course. His vision: a £1bn investment to build “the world’s greatest golf course” with hotels, apartments and villas. There was a problem, however. The dunes (pictured below) are a designated wilderness environment given accolade status. Not only do they have unique scientific value, they are also home to numerous forms of wildlife.

Trump’s first application, therefore, was rejected by the local council on the grounds that it failed the sustainable development test “in spades”, according to Green councillor Martin Ford. Then something unprecedented occurred: the Scottish Government called in the application, taking it out of the council’s hands. This has never happened before. They reversed the original veto and gave the project the green light. The estate is in First Minister Alex Salmond’s constituency.

The argument was that the benefits to the local community through new jobs and tourist expenditure outweighed the environmental concerns. Fine, except the project was contracted to an Irish company, and much of the casual work was given to migrant labour. And with the Trump complex designed to be entirely self-contained, experts predict the positive impact on local economy will be negligible, certainly compared to the negative impact on the environment.

That Trump’s cash was allowed to run roughshod over planning legislation and environmental issues is one thing. But what about the human cost? This film narrowed in on the impact on the lives of the people living in proximity to the golf site, and in particular Michael Forbes, a farmer who refused to sell his land and was thus subjected to a tirade of personal denigration and character assassination from Trump. “I don’t think guests in my hotel want to look down into a slum,” he said. “He lives like a pig; it’s disgusting.”

Forbes' (pictured left) hands and forearms are festooned with tattoos; he speaks in impenetrable Doric which often requires subtitles. You can see why Trump views him with nothing but contempt; you can also see why Baxter loves him, wittily quoting from the 1983 film Local Hero, about another quiet, intransigent local eccentric who refused to bow to the Yankee business dollar.

We see the cause uniting farmers, artists, fisherman, academics. When Trump is awarded an honorary degree at Robert Gordon University, the former principal returns his honorary degree in disgust. Former Clash producer Mickey Foote now lives in the area and makes an entertainingly committed activist.

The arrogance, the gracelessness, the bullying, the delusion is beyond caricature

rating

4

Share this article

Comments

I am utterly speechless at

I am utterly speechless at Trump's TV performance,he does not give a damn about anyone but himself. He needs to be sent packing by the scottish government after seeing that documentary,that is if they dare watch it The performance by the so called protectors of the peace-the police-was a shamefull thing and all the injustices more like Hitlers germany. I would advise that no one goes to his "best golf course in the world" as he calls it,scotland has many great courses much cheaper than his £195 a round.

I was shocked by what I saw,

I was shocked by what I saw, I couldn't believe that everyone from Alex Salmond down to the local police were all so easily bought by bully boy Trump. I sincerely hope his development fails.

A truly disgusting little

A truly disgusting little man. Well done on this illuminating piece of work. X

I was flabbergasted at the

I was flabbergasted at the events that have transpired. I can understand playing hard, but where does the fairness come in in Trump's world. The lack of water was utterly dreadful, and the way Trump has used his lawyers to effectively get the police to act as his henchmen is incredible. Maybe this is the difference between us and Americans - why rugby has never taken off over there. Over here one has (should have) to play fair as well as playing hard. Whilst the comparisons have been made to Local Hero - the blatant intimidation was more like 'Once Upon a Time in the West' to me. I am just waiting for 'Harmonica' to turn up and then sparks will fly....

What is deeply disturbing

What is deeply disturbing about this deeply unpleasant combed over egotist is how easily he rolled over all of the institutions which supposedly represent Scottish citizens and their interests. The government, the university, the local council and the police all took Trump's side against all scientific and planning regulations, and most despicably against local people whose only crime was to live near the idiot's land. Even when he ignored established boundaries, cut off their water and electricity, these so-called representatives did nothing. Clearly there is no independence in Scotland, in the real sense of the term, when a rich foreigner comes along with a few trinkets and baubles for the easily impressed and easily corrupted officials. All of them, incidentally, claimed that it was 'good for the economy' with absolutely no evidence provided for their wide-eyed naivety and disregard for their own laws. Well done, the film maker.

Partisan, yes, but a skilfull

Partisan, yes, but a skilfull documentary about the evils of mendacity of the Trump bullies but also of Salmond who tramples all over locals in the belief of benefit to the economy which appears non existent in reality.Hope they build an even bigger wind farm to blow Trump home, never to return.

Well said, I have a feeling

Well said, I have a feeling if the windfarm proceeds we'll here little more from comb over Trump - I hope so for the resident's sake..

After viewing the

After viewing the documentary, I hope that Grampian Police charge that policeman who handcuffed the journalist, with assault. Shocking behaviour from a public officer!!!

Add comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Use to create page breaks.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 7,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters