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Thursday, 23 February 2012

Aren't we the lucky ones?

I am deeply honoured that a man as busy and so deeply respected worldwide as the saviour of Aberdeenshire and its natural heritage, Donald Trump, has once more leapt to the defence of the Scottish environment. He's at war with that wicked Alex Salmond, whose only mandate is through a majority in the Scottish Parliament, so long the bane of the life of St. Donald of Trump Towers, over the said demon's determination to meet green energy targets by having all of Scotland's energy needs serviced by renewable sources by 2020. That seems a bit unrealistic, so we shouldn't bother trying, right?

Saint Donald has wheeled his mighty organisation behind Communities Against Turbines Scotland. Cats (for such is their witty acronym) quite rightly voice concerns over the proliferation of admittedly ugly turbines, particularly in one spot it seems. From his spokesman:

"All the great links golf courses, that people from all over the world have enjoyed for centuries, are now being threatened."

Really? I really didn't know that people had travelled from all over the world to play golf, and for hundreds of years. Wow.

 "Another proposal we were shocked to find is at Loch Ness. If you stop 90% of the people in the street in New York they would associate Scotland with Loch Ness. It is an iconic part of Scotland.
"We were shocked to find out there is a proposal to put 150 turbines above it. It is complete madness. What we found was there is tremendous local opposition to many of these proposals."
Quite right. And if you stopped the same people in the street and asked them what they would associate with Ireland, I'm sure they'd mention leprechauns and pots o'gold. You see, Americans are known to be world leaders in environmental protection. Just have a look around Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.
If you feel I'm being a tad cynical here, you're not that perceptive. I'm being very cynical. This guy, with his used toupee salesman appearance, doesn't give a toss about Loch Ness or "all the great links courses". He is, however, somewhat peeved that the view from his sizeable slice of Aberdeenshire will be marred by offshore turbines.

To quote from 'Benvironment':
"Yep, according to this news story Donald Trump has expressed concerns that an offshore windfarm could spoil the view his guests will get from his new golf resort.
Awww.  Personally, I’m having trouble caring.  This, from an organisation that knowingly built on a protected area, erected dirt banks and trees around neighbours they didn’t like (and thus obscured their VIEWS)……and wanted to evict existing residents through compulsory purchase orders…..for personal profit."
Is it all starting to make sense now? I thought so. Mr Trump, who still believes Barack Obama was born in Kenya, and is still attempting to buy the US Presidency, must not be allowed to buy Scotland to add to his portfolio. He's a bully,and bullies generally end up with a bloody nose. Let's give him one.

Friday, 10 February 2012


A friend passed from our lives this week, a boy really, less than a year older than my own elder son. Some people enter your life fleetingly and leave a lasting impression. Craig Grumoli was one of those people. Craig played for Paisley Rugby Club for a relatively short space of time before moving to Ireland to start a new life. I didn’t really get to spend a lot of time with him, but the little time I did was highly enjoyable. When my wife Brenda was in Paisley’s Royal Alexandra Hospital, Craig took time from his own busy working life at the hospital to visit her and bring her some of his trademark cheer, just because that’s the kind of man he was. Such small kindnesses are long remembered.

If I have one lasting image of this young man, it was his almost constant smile. As a rugby player he was uncompromising and never took a backward step, but above all else his sheer joy in taking part in a game he loved stood out.  Of course, the social side of the game didn’t pass him by. He had a wild side to him which could be something to behold. Add to this a rapier wit (I can’t think of anyone better at the lightning reply), and you have a picture of a guy who was a lot of fun to be around.

Thanks Craig. Thanks for caring, thanks for the joy of watching you play and thanks for the fun and the kindness you spread around. Above all, thanks for being our friend. The boys at the club, Brenda and I will miss you terribly, but we’ll never forget you.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Is it me?

On a day when there are more important things to see on the news (Fred Goodwin having to change his stationery for one) isn't it just a tad wearying to watch Tweedledum and Tweedledumber spitting venom across the Despatch Box? We really need their mothers to march in there and march them right back out, to be grounded for six months.