Don't Leave Me This Way
Fill Us With Fire (JRMX Radio Edit)
Severin Carrell, Scotland correspondent, Friday 19th October 2012 13:00
The film-maker Bill Forsyth has been described by Donald Trump's organisation as a "misinformed jackass" after he accused the property magnate of "egotistical bullying" at his golf course near Aberdeen.
In an article for the Guardian, Forsyth said there were strong parallels between Trump's efforts to remove local people living next to his now mothballed £750m golf resort and Forsyth's fictional US billionaire in his cult classic Local Hero from 1983, which won the best film Bafta.
The director said You've Been Trumped, an award-winning documentary investigating the experiences of Trump's nearest neighbours being shown on BBC2 this Sunday, was "akin to 1970s Romania".
He said: "We're watching real lives and livelihoods mercilessly put to hazard by a malign concoction of egotistical bullying, corporate muscle-flexing, craven averting of gaze by national politicians and crass misreading of events by local authorities, including police."
Trump's right-hand man, George Sorial, retorted that Forsyth was simply trying to exploit Trump's fame. He told the Daily Mail: "Mr Forsyth is nothing more than a misinformed jackass looking for a few headlines on the back of the Trump name."
Sorial had initially refused to respond to Forsyth's criticisms after being contacted by the Guardian on Wednesday.
He instead described the documentary as a "gross misrepresentation of the facts" which presented "the myopic views of a very small fringe element that are not respected and are widely regarded as a national embarrassment for Scotland".
Earlier this week, Trump published several hostile tweets about the documentary by Anthony Baxter, describing those who objected to his golf course as "morons" who had "made my development far more successful than anticipated".
He also told Baxter: "Your documentary has died many deaths. You have, in my opinion, zero talent." The film has won 10 film festival awards around the world. The radical film-maker Michael Moore said it had "blown him away".
Meanwhile a major anti-windfarm campaign which Trump had promised to support, at one point pledging up to £10m to fund legal challenges to fight windfarm applications, has suffered a public split on the eve of a demonstration at the Scottish National party's conference because of its ties with the property magnate.
Trump offered legal and financial help earlier this year for Communities Against Turbines (CATS), the main Scotland-wide coalition of local anti-windfarm protest groups. He gave evidence to a Scottish parliament hearing alongside CATS to showcase his vigorous attempts to block an experimental windfarm which will be built offshore, close to his golf course.
But the organiser of the protest in Perth on Saturday against Alex Salmond's "ruinous" drive to dramatically increase renewable energy production in Scotland, said Trump's influence has been a "distraction" for the anti-windfarm movement's supporters.
Linda Holt, from Gask and Strathearn Protection Society (GASPS), said there were significant tensions inside CATS over its "softly softly" approach to its campaign. Holt said she had been "summarily sacked" as
its press officer for criticising that approach.
She said: "Trump has been a distraction from the thousands of ordinary Scottish folk who feel outraged by the government's relentless push to turbinise Scotland whatever the cost. They are not being listened to, they feel helpless and they are crying out for action."
Kim Terry, the secretary and treasurer of CATS, said Trump had only given it a small donation and it was no longer working with him. "I wouldn't say there was major conflict in the CATS organisation at all. It's just that Linda thought we should go a different way and so we've parted company, but nobody else has," Terry said.
• This article was amended on 17 October 2012 to clarify remarks made by Linda Holt.