THE injustice inflicted upon the Forbes family by Donald Trump is heart-rendering.

Their plight, however, must be considered in terms of a bigger picture.

Donald Trump, climate change denier and anti-wind campaigners’ best chum, has been described by political pundits as sexist, racist, a moron and a bully. The Pope says he is not Christian. Amen to that.

Add to this the charge of hypocrite as he has invested thousands of dollars in wind power generation with the Florida firm, Nextera Energy.

Donald’s visit to Scotland on the day after the EU referendum was, ostensibly, to shout about the £200 million upgrade to make “Turnberry Great Again”.

Is this how Scotland will remember him in the decades and centuries to come; the Lighthouse luxury suites at £3500 night (low season of course), that none but the mega-rich can take advantage of? Aside from the prospect of Donald being the 45th President of the United States and the fallout thereafter, Donald’s legacy for Scots will be for altogether different reasons and measured in geological timescales.

Trump’s true legacy will be that of rural vandalism on a colossal scale. A unique wilderness at Menie destroyed for a golf course. This was a site of Special Scientific Interest, the highest environmental accolade.

A dynamic dune system, wetlands, trees and shrubs gone forever. Opposition to the destruction of this priceless landscape came from the RSPB, SEPA, SNH, Ramblers Association and the SWT. No credible environmental organisation supported Trump. Add to this the harassment of local residents, heavy handed policing and the challenges made to our planning regulations. Martin Ford, Scottish Green Party councillor, correctly made the point that Trump “has in turn either bullied or ignored the Scottish planning system”.

The economic benefits were also vastly overestimated. The Scottish Government was duped by the estimates given in the economic impact study. Incredibly, this document, a well-crafted piece of sophistry, was not scrutinised properly by the Scottish Government. In 2008, Alex Salmond said that “we can see the social and economic benefits: 6000 jobs across Scotland, 1400 local and permanent jobs here in the north east of Scotland that outweighs the environmental concerns”. At the time, Professor Paul Cheshire of the London School of Economics questioned the number of local jobs that would be created. This has become all too true. No golf “resort” was ever built, nor, thankfully, the second golf course. The 450-bedroom hotel and 1500 houses have also not appeared.

Fast forwarding to 2016, The Independent reported that the much-hyped Aberdeen golf course has been loss-making since it opened in 2012 and that “there are currently 150 people directly employed in the Menie golf resort”.

This issue goes to the heart of our broken centralised democracy. It is a perfect example by which “local” authorities are once again trumped by central government. Is it any wonder that so few of us vote in council elections? This story is not simply about a broken water pipe or even compulsory purchase orders. It is a clarion call for the reform of local democracy and a shift from the centralised nature of the present government at Holyrood.

Politicians come and go. Some despised, most forgotten but rarely revered or loved. But what of our beautiful landscape, irrevocably changed. So how will oor Donald be remembered: the sand bunkers on the 4th hole at Turnberry or the erstwhile dynamic sand dunes at Menie? Now, let me think...

Gordon Murray

HOW quaint to see Sunday’s signing of CETA relegated to a corner of the page and under the heading of “Belgium” (Wallonia lets EU sign deal with Canada, The National, October 31).

For CETA, the hugely flawed trade deal with Canada, is a great threat to the future of Scotland. It will allow Canadian and American multinationals unprecedented access to our public services, and represents a massive threat to the quality of democracy we could expect to enjoy in an independent Scotland.

Any legislation proposed by the Scottish Government would have to be scrutinised by corporations to ensure that it did not affect their profits. Not the kind of independent Scotland most of us have in mind. A complete loss of sovereignty!

However, although CETA is signed, it has not been sealed and it will take the votes of all the MEPs in the European Parliament to do that – probably next month.

It is by no means certain that our Scottish MEPs will vote against CETA, so it is important that Scottish people contact the six Scottish MEPs and tell them not to vote for a deal which would so compromise an independent Scotland.

Jean Kemp
St Andrews TTIP Action Group

HAVING just listened to Gordon Brewer [interview Shirley-Anne Somerville, the Higher Education Minister] on Sunday Politics Scotland I find myself extremely disappointed at the increasingly aggressive form of questioning he has begun to show and his continued interruption of answers with a variation on the question which frequently distorts it.

On the subject of university access, he revealed a determination not to listen to any answer which did not prove incontrovertibly that a rise in applications from disadvantaged areas has arisen from free tuition fees, dismissing and interrupting any explanations attempting to address other relevant factors. It should have been obvious that tuition fees, or absence of them, is not the only factor affecting these numbers.

Just as one can lead a horse to water and one has to accept that it may neither need nor want a drink, there may be many suitably qualified school leavers who actually prefer to attend a vocational college or take up an apprenticeship, or even, for other personal reasons, go straight into the workplace.

Far too much emphasis has been put in recent years on the simple numbers game without any consideration of their own wishes or ambitions – an influence on the numbers that Gordon Brewer was determined to ignore.

Having grown up in an era of free tuition, I can attest to the value of this assistance, having had seven members of my family, myself included, who were thus able to achieve good degrees and go on to successful careers of benefit to society. With the foresight to know that none of us could realistically hope to pay off a debt without delaying marriage, family, a mortgage and moderate quality of life for at least 10 to 15 years, not one of us would have gone to university if we had had to pay fees. So it has to be accepted that there will be suitable university candidates whose own circumstances and personal inclinations still lead them to choose other paths, so that numbers alone cannot possibly be taken as the main indicator of the value of removal of tuition fees. Just because opportunity exists, one does not have to take it.

Sunday Politics Scotland used to be a much more balanced and interesting programme, before this hectoring attitude crept into the questioning. I would like to think that future interviewees might be treated with more courtesy.We viewers want to hear these, not the opinions of the interviewer.

P. Davidson

WHY is there no mention of the world-shattering news that Kezia Dugdale has jetted out to boost Hilary Clinton’s campaign?

On Thursday at FMQs Dugdale made it clear there was no more important business than the imminent collapse of NHS Scotland, yet within days she has abandoned this campaign to go and help the Clinton presidential campaign.

By joining the campaign in the hope of influencing the selection of the next US President, Kezia Dugdale has clearly shown that there is no more other world political leader than Kezia Dugdale.

John Jamieson
West Lothian