28. February 2012 · Comments Off on Why is Donald Trump still a GlobalScot? · Categories: Democracy, Environment, Freedom of Information, GlobalScot, Governance, Politics, Trump

 

UPDATE 1381 days later 9 December 2015

The Scottish Government has withdrawn Donald Trump’s role as a GlobalScot in response to remarks he made that Muslims should be prohibited from entering the UK.

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Donald Trump Jr. arrives in Scotland today (28 Feb 2012) to further his father’s campaign against wind energy in Scotland. He will be attending the Communities Against Turbines Scotland event at St Andrews Town Hall, 7.15pm on 1st March. His father has claimed in a letter to Alex Salmond that “foreign energy companies will destroy your country and economy”, and that Mr Salmond “will single-handedly have done more damage to Scotland than virtually any event in Scottish history”. He goes on to say that “I have authorised my staff to allocate a substantial amount of money to launch an international campaign to fight your plan to surround Scotland’s coast with many thousands of wind turbines.” One report suggests that he has allocated £10 million to the campaign.

Mr Trump has also threatened to bring a lawsuit against the Scottish Government which would, he argues, delay the proposed European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre off the Aberdeenshire coast which he has railed against previously.

Now renewable energy forms a major part of the Scottish Government’s economic strategy as outlined in their Routemap for renewable Energy in Scotland. Donald Trump Sr. has stated quite clearly that he intends to do all he can to frustrate this by an international multi-million pound campaign and by legal actions designed to delay an important experimental project. Donald Trump Jr. has arrived to carry out his father’s instructions and oversee the beginnings of this onslaught.

All of which is rather interesting in the context of a Scottish Government initiative to encourage support for Scotland’s economic future by international entrepreneurs.

The GlobalScot network is a project of Scottish Development International (SDI) consisting of 746 “successful executives located throughout the world”. GlobalScots all have “strong connections with Scotland” and “each of them has a strong desire to see Scotland succeed in the global business arena.” Currently, SDI is “not looking to grow the membership significantly however we are currently looking to identify prospective members in the following sectors.” (and the list includes Renewable Energy, Offshore Wind, and Marine Energy).

On 22 April 2006, First Minister Jack McConnell invited Donald Trump Sr. to become a GlobalScot. On 30 April, Donald Trump accepted the personal invitation and Mr McConnell stated that,

“Donald has shown me a real passion for Scotland. He is a globally recognised figure who can help us to promote Scotland. I am delighted that he has taken up my offer. This is a good bit of business for all concerned.”

Membership of GlobalScot is “by invitation only, personal and non-transferable.” Here, for the first time, is published the full list of members. What is of some limited interest is that the name of Donald Trump Sr. is not on the list. Has he resigned? However, Donald Trump Jr. is named. When was he invited? Surely he didn’t take over from his dad (membership is non-transferable).

What is also of some limited interest is that in October 2007, Alex Salmond invited Rupert Murdoch to become a GlobalScot and impressed upon him that GlobalScot is a “prestigious, international network of Scots, and those with an affinity for Scotland, who are committed to advancing Scotland’s economic success.” The letter claims that Murdoch accepted the invitation but his name does not appear on the list.

Back to Trump though, and in Jack McConnell’s letter of invitation, he wrote that,

I should welcome your participation in the GlobalScot programme because I believe that your experience, knowledge and skills can make a tangible impact on our economic development efforts.

Which brings me to conclude with the title of this blog.

Why is Donald Trump still a GlobalScot?

Given that both Donald Trumps are funding an international campaign against Scotland’s economic interests and threatening lawsuits to frustrate important projects, it is surely inconceivable that SDI will now retain Trump as a member. If they do not act, then the First Minister should, without delay, instruct SDI to withdraw Donald Trump’s membership of the GlobalScot network.

UPDATE 0950 28 Feb
Thank you to Lorna Waite for analysing the list of GlobalScots and noting that women make up only around 6% of the membership.

27. January 2012 · Comments Off on Declaration of Interests & Income 2010 · Categories: Announcements, Freedom of Information, Governance

What with growing concerns about income inequality, bankers’ bonuses, and tax avoidance by the rich, I though I should join a couple of my self-employed writer/activists colleagues (George Monbiot and Alastair McIntosh) and make an annual declaration of interests and income. Two other factors compel me to do so.

I believe that we have too much secrecy in the UK on matters of income and wealth and that if everyone’s income was openly declared, there would be much less inequality. This is not an especially radical idea. In Norway, you can find details of every citizen’s income and the tax they pay on this website.

Secondly, as a member of the Scottish Green Party, I feel obliged to comply with the policy resolution passed at the 2011 Conference on Tax Evasion and Avoidance which encourages corporations and individuals to not use tax havens and to publish their accounts on a a country by country basis.

2010 INCOME

I earn my living by writing, research, consultancy, lecturing, undertaking landownership investigations, subscriptions from the www.whoownsscotland.org.uk website and forestry contracting. During 2010 my income was as follows

GROSS INCOME      £18,359

COSTS                      £ 6,052

NET INCOME          £ 12,307

DECLARATION OF INTERESTS

I own no property.

I have no shares in any companies.

I am on the Board of Directors of the Caledonia Centre for Social Development (Company No. 192099 & Scottish Charity No. SC 028485)

I do not undertake any work for any Government.

My main clients are from the wind energy, community organisations, private landowners and media sectors. In 2010 I earned the majority of my income from royalty advances for my book, The Poor Had No Lawyers.

All of my income in 2010 (apart from a few book sales) was generated from within the UK.

I do not make use of any tax havens or artificial accounting structures to conceal my income.

14. September 2011 · Comments Off on No other country has mapped its greenspace in this way · Categories: Freedom of Information, Land Use, Maps, Research

Today, an organisation called Greenspace Scotland launched what they claim is a world first in mapping the location, extent and type of greenspace across all of Scotland’s urban settlements. “No other country has mapped its greenspace in this way”. In December 2006, the Scottish Executive provided £298,000 for this project (actually for three projects – it is unclear how much of this was allocated to the mapping). The interactive map is impressive and allows users to look closely at greenspace of all types across Scotland.

However, the real power of such information lies in the ability to interrogate, analyse and combine this data with other data. There are many simple tools available for this and a growing international community of citizens harnessing such data for the public good (the OpenStreeMap and GeoCommons projects are good examples)

Greenspace Scotland tell us that this “world first” map can be made available in GIS (geographic information system) format as raw data so that people can actually use the data rather than simply look at it. The GIS data is useful because, in the words of Greenspace Scotland,

The full GIS data provides an incredible resource for planners, policy makers, researchers and greenspace managers. It can be used to support cross-boundary work on green networks, planning and regeneration; and when combined with other datasets on, for example, health and deprivation, can be used to support decision-making, prioritisation, policy development and research. It can also help target resources and investment to areas with low levels of greenspace

Excellent. I happen to be interested in who owns all this greenspace, how much of it is common good land etc and so I ask for a copy of the data. At this point it becomes clear why Greenspace Scotland claim that “no other country has mapped its greenspace in this way” (my emphasis).

I am refused on the grounds that only those who have an Ordnance Survey MasterMap licence are allowed to get hold of this data. Unfortunately, the OS MasterMap data licence costs many thousands of pounds. The restriction is due to OS licensing conditions on the open distribution of “derived data”. I have been here before with the whoownsscotland project. I have the t-shirt and the scars of this encounter.

“No other country has mapped its greenspace in this way” Lets then take a look at how others have done it.

Take the City of Boulder, Colorado, for example. I can view an online map with information on planning, greenspace, flooding, transportation, landownership and lots more. (Click on eMapLink here). Alternatively, I can download the raw GIS (geographic information systems) data and interrogate it.

Indeed, for any number of cities in across the world, I can download high quality GIS data and undertake research and analysis. If, however, I want to analyse the pattern of greenspace in my own locality in North Edinburgh, I can’t.

“No other country has mapped its greenspace in this way”