Scotland’s landscape & architecture Trumped by Alec Salmond and the SNP

by Tom Turner @ 5:04 am October 22, 2012 -- Filed under: Landscape Architecture,landscape planning   

Donald Trump enjoys a game of golf in Scotland (Guardian photo)

Donald Trump enjoys a game of golf in Scotland (Guardian photo)

I first noticed the disease on the outskirts of Edinburgh: splurges of badly planned, ugly developments with no consideration for the historic landscape and architecture of Scotland. This has been trumped and Trumped by the ghastly golf course north of Aberdeen. Donald Trump says it will be the ‘best’ golf course in the world. Fiddlesticks. The local people were against it so the planning application was called in by the Edinburgh government – and approved. Compulsory purchase powers are now being used to force local landowners to sell their land. Why is this being done? Because Salmond wants to prove that an independent Scotland can prosper economically. It is a policy which has worked elsewhere. If you effectively abolish town and country planning controls then developers are attracted, like crows to carion and Russians to the Mediterranean.
I lived round the corner from one of the founders of the Scottish National Party for 20 years and supported the idea of an independent Scotland. Wendy Wood was the daughter of a landscape painter, and an artist herself. Like me, I think she would have withdrawn her support from the SNP if she had known it would lead to the destruction of Scotland’s landscape. There are good landscape architects in Scotland but a friend told me that the major part of their workload is now supporting, and opposing, the construction of windfarms. The turbines are pork barrels – ways of giving subsidies to local people to buy their votes.
The Arbroath Delcaration, addressed to the Pope in 1320 stated (here in a brilliant translation from the Latin) the wish to be independent ‘Yet if he should give up what he has begun, and agree to make us or our kingdom subject to the King of England or the English, we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own rights and ours, and make some other man who was well able to defend us our King; for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom — for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself. ‘. Wood, like Roger Casement, was of English stock. The declarators of 1320 were proud of their descent: ‘Most Holy Father and Lord, we know and from the chronicles and books of the ancients we find that among other famous nations our own, the Scots, has been graced with widespread renown. They journeyed from Greater Scythia by way of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Pillars of Hercules, and dwelt for a long course of time in Spain among the most savage tribes, but nowhere could they be subdued by any race, however barbarous. Thence they came, twelve hundred years after the people of Israel crossed the Red Sea, to their home in the west where they still live today. The Britons they first drove out, the Picts they utterly destroyed, and, even though very often assailed by the Norwegians, the Danes and the English, they took possession of that home with many victories and untold efforts; and, as the historians of old time bear witness, they have held it free of all bondage ever since. In their kingdom there have reigned one hundred and thirteen kings of their own royal stock, the line unbroken a single foreigner.’ Today, they do not want to be ruled by the Pope or the English. Far better, they think, to be ruled by Mamon and the Brussels Bureaucracy.
Trump International Golf Links hopes to become “the world’s best golf course”. Bill Forsyth made a wonderful film in 1983. Local Hero is about a small community in Scotland chose preservation of their landscape to riches from oil. Congratulations to the Guardian for its photograph (above) and to BBC2 for showing Anthony Baxter’s film You’ve been Trumped.
I’d like to see Salmond return to the land of his forebears: Greater Scythia. He will find lots of oil and even-more-ghastly development. With luck, he will be able to wrestle naked with other Scythians and enjoy Borat’s Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Good luck to him – and good riddance for Scotland.
I would like to be able to boast that the UK landscape profession, led by the Landscape Institute Scotland Branch, has fought a bitter campaign against Trump golf course. But it hasn’t.
Conclusion: watch Local Hero with a tumbler of malt whisky. It will make you feel better.

2 Comments »

  1. What does the ‘best’ golf course mean? Surely the most expensive and Donald Trump is good at supplying monies for that kind of golf course. So perhaps any concern for the landscape does get trumped by Trump. good turn on the name.

    Comment by Thomas Mickey — December 9, 2012 @ 7:56 pm

  2. Price is far from being a reliable indicator of quality. Is the ‘best’ meal the most expensive meal? Or is the most expensive meal likely to be too rich and too over-worked? Is the most expensive wine a better drink than a glass of pure water? Is the most expensive car the best way of getting to work or taking for a weekend in the country? Or is the richest person the best person?

    Comment by Tom Turner — December 12, 2012 @ 7:14 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment