01. March 2012 · Comments Off on GlobalScots Day 3 · Categories: Democracy, Freedom of Information, GlobalScot, Politics, Trump

Among my emails this morning was one claiming that statements I have made on my blogs on the GlobalScot programme are “inaccurate and libelous” and that “you are now on notice”. For the record, libel is not a civil wrong in Scotland although defamation is (which is my attempt at being light-hearted – in Scots law the term is defamation). A request was made to remove all material relating to the Trump Organisation

I have now made a minor edit to my previous blog but will not be removing any further material.

For the record,

Donald Trump Senior is (and remains) a GlobalScot

Donald Trump Junior is (and remains) a GlobalScot

George Sorial is (and remains) a GlobalScot

FURTHER NEWS

According to this email from Kevin Pringle (released as part of the publication of correspondence between the Scottish government and the Trump Organisation), since its launch in November 2001, the GlobalScot network “has grown to an international membership of nearly 950 individuals.” That was in December 2007.

As of August, 2011, there are 746 members. The network is thus getting smaller.

I would like it to be made smaller still – by a further 3.

UPDATE 1

Scottish Enterprise have stated that, contrary to the claim made in this letter from Alex Salmond,

“We don’t have any record of Rupert Murdoch responding to the original invitation or any further correspondence with him regarding GlobalScot activities.”

I am happy therefore to confirm that Rupert Murdoch is NOT a GlobalScot.

29. February 2012 · Comments Off on GlobalScots Day 2 · Categories: Democracy, Freedom of Information, GlobalScot, Politics, Trump

DAY 2

Donald Trump is still a GlobalScot (see my post of yesterday). Early days though. A motion lodged in Parliament today by Patrick Harvie seeking support for revoking Trump’s membership now has three signatories. And the past 24 hours have revealed new information about the GlobalScot network whose membership can be seen here.

Yesterday, my good friend Andrew Thompson had a good look at the 746 names on the list and spotted the name of George Sorial, Trump Organisations’s Vice-President and Legal Counsel. The other name on the list was Donald Trump Jun.

Now, I knew that Donald Trump Sr. had been invited and had accepted an invitation to join by Jack McConnell. But his name was not on the list. I did not know that Trump Jr was a member nor George Sorial. We also know that Alex Salmond had invited Rupert Murdoch who, according to Salmond’s letter, accepted the invitation. His name is not on the list though. But for the moment, let’s stick to the Trumps.

I phoned Scottish Development International and asked them whether Donald Trump (jun. or sr.) and George Sorial were still members. A spokesperson from Scottish Enterprise said,

“We have over 750 GlobalScots – all of whom are respected and successful business leaders around the world. Not all of them will agree on every single aspect of what we do. Donald Trump was asked by the previous First Minister to become a GlobalScot due to his passion and we have no intention of altering Mr Trump or Mr Sorial’s position as GlobalScots.”

I then asked why Donald Trump Sr’s name did not appear on the list but Junior’s did and whether either or both were members. I was told,

Donald Trump Senior and Donald Trump Junior are both GlobalScots.

and

George Sorial is Trump Sr’s representative on the list.

Which is strange because GlobalScot makes very clear on its website that “Membership of GlobalScot is by invitation only, personal and non-transferable.”

That means that Trump Sr’s membership is personal to him and non-transferable and thus Mr Sorial cannot be his “representative”. How many others are “representatives” of other persons unknown?

Scottish Enterprise has not yet responded to this point.

The campaign goes on.

UPDATE 13 November 2013

According to an FoI request submitted to Scottish Enterprise in July 2013, George Sorial is a full GlobalScot – not merely Trump Senior’s representative as Scottish Enterprise claim above. Here is the text of the FoI which includes the information recorded by the assessors as to why Donald Trump Jnr and George Sorial were qualified to be GlobalScots.

29. February 2012 · Comments Off on Salmond, Murdoch and Trump · Categories: Democracy, Freedom of Information, GlobalScot, Governance, Politics

Alex Salmond met Rupert Murdoch today for lunch. They talked about future investment in Scotland. I am prepared to give Mr Salmond the benefit of the doubt in terms of the wisdom of aligning himself with Mr Murdoch and I am prepared to give Mr Murdoch the benefit of the doubt when he”gave strong assurances that News International are intent on consigning these matters [phone hacking et al] to the past and emerging a better organisation from it.”

I do both of the above with some difficulty but I do them nevertheless.

It thus follows that Rupert Murdoch is someone who might be entitled to be a GlobalScot.

Might.

Imagine on the other hand if Rupert Murdoch had, instead of meeting with Alex Salmond for soup and talking about future investment plans, announced that he planned to spend millions of pounds to fund a campaign to oppose a central plank of the Government’s economic strategy and was considering launching a legal action in order to “delay it for years to come”.

Would Alex Salmond have met with him?

Would he be considered a fit and proper person to hold exclusive membership of the GlobalScot network?

The fact that one might even hesitate before asserting that the answer must be an emphatic no shows how far out in the deep murky waters of compromise we might be swimming.

But Donald Trump was in much the same situation as Murdoch in the past. Not in terms of presiding over rampant criminality but in being somebody the Scottish Government was obliged to deal with and who managed to convince those in whose gift it was to permit such things that he intended to make serious investment in Scotland.

As a consequence he was appointed a GlobalScot by Jack McConnell and his son was then invited to join by Alex Salmond. Like Murdoch I can (just and with some difficulty) accept the legitimacy of inviting the Trumps to be GlobalScots.

But all that has changed now. If I were to join one of Donald Trump’s golf clubs and announced I would be spending £10 million to campaign against it and launch a lawsuit to frustrate its plans I doubt I would remain a member for very long.

So, yesterday, Patrick Harvie MSP and I called for Trump’s membership of the GlobalScot network to be withdrawn (here and here). For our pains, Trump claimed that we showed “fascistic tendencies”.

Today, I made further investigations into the GlobalScot network and uncovered some interesting new facts – which I will relay in my next blog.

For now, it is enough to know that the monumental disgust and loathing I feel towards Rupert Murdoch and his empire still allows me to understand why Mr Salmond might be justified in meeting for lunch and makes it all the more difficult to understand why Donald Trump is still a valued Scottish Government ambassador.