Thanks to the Scotsman’s report today we now know an answer to a question that is critical to uderstanding the Trump/McConnell/Salmond spat. Trump is continuing to claim that he had reassurances.,
“I feel totally betrayed and lied to by the Scottish Government. I was really misled and mistreated by the Scottish Government.”
“Jack McConnell said you won’t have windmills on the site.”
“Jack McConnell said it will never happen”
“When I had a discussion with Alex a number of years ago Alex laughed at the concept of it happening. It wasn’t going to happen. He said it’s not going to happen.”
As I argued on 19 April (see 2 posts back), there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that he was given any reassurances. If there is, Trump should produce it or shut up. There are a few redacted emails from McConnell but no civil servant would let any letter out of the door that purported to give assurances about future planning matters. McConnell and Salmond aren’t stupid and as experienced politicians, they know the protocol only too well.
Which leaves us with the various meetings McConnell had with Trump where no note was taken. For the record, this is quite normal. Politics could not work if notes were taken of everything that Ministers said. Now, I entertain the possibility that McConnell and later Salmond may have attempted to play down the prospects of any offshore test facility being developed in order to entice Trump. But Scottish politics is not corrupt and it would surprise even a cynic like me if any Minister ever gave any verbal assurances about any such mater.
In fact Trump helps us today by admitting that there is no record of any deal.
“They wanted me to build so badly. I should have said that I want it in writing but I didn’t ask for that because they made it sound like it wasn’t going to happen.”
Now at least we know that none of the redacted correspondence says anything about a deal (that’s what we have learnt today).
At the end of the day, even if Ministers had given any assurances, it was the responsibility of Trump and his advisers to check for themselves whether any such assurance was worth anything in light of the way in which planning decisions are made.
The fact is Trump only has himself to blame. He bought Menie Estate knowing that an offshore test facility was in the offing. At which point he became agitated and lied to the Scottish Government about not yet having done the deal (see post referred to above).
At the root of his tantrums appears to be a misguided notion that the way that he has done business elsewhere (where no doubt there have been politicians who have made promises) doesn’t cut it in Scotland. If his advisers did not tell him this, they ought to have. He’s a rich man. He should get better advice next time.