PETULANCE is a character trait more often found in stroppy toddlers than successful business tycoons. And yet it is hard to think of a more appropriate word to describe Donald Trump’s actions yesterday.
The Court of Session rejected his bid to halt the building of offshore wind turbines in the North Sea within sight of his new golf resort at Menie, in Aberdeenshire. The decision will be appealed, but in the meantime Mr Trump has made it known that “all of our investment and energy” will now be focused on another golf project, this time on the Atlantic coast of Ireland.
“The Donald”, as he is known, has a rather strange world view. Politicians exist to do his bidding. Nations exist to be either the grateful recipients of his beneficence, or sorry backwaters that deserve his scorn and – it would appear from his comments yesterday – his punishment.
Whether Mr Trump’s Irish resort turns out to be the recipient of investment that has actually been diverted from his Aberdeenshire project remains to be seen. One might assume that a sensible businessman would have his investment choices determined by sound business sense, rather than toys-out-the-pram tantrums.
Good sense, however, does not seem to have been the compass for Mr Trump’s long journey through the Scottish courts, and his intemperate rants about the Scottish Government in general and First Minister Alex Salmond in particular.
One might argue the credibility of his claim that offshore turbines would ruin the view from his links course in Aberdeenshire. One might also question the wisdom of waging a war against a country’s entire energy policy, and of pursuing that campaign through the highest courts in the land.
Whether or not they were wise, Mr Trump was entitled to take the actions he did. Now that the courts have ruled, however, the wise thing to do is to accept their verdict and get on with delivering what he once described as the world’s greatest golf course.
Mr Trump does not come out of this well. No doubt he believes he is an all-conquering champion of free enterprise. In truth, all the grandstanding and arrogant bluster has made him look rather ridiculous.
What goodwill he managed to muster at the start of the Menie project – this newspaper was an early supporter of the scheme, and the jobs and tourist dollars it could bring to Scotland – has been largely squandered. But it could and should be rebuilt, if Mr Trump takes a more calm and reasoned approach
This saga long ago stopped being about environmental concerns, or even about a spectacular golf course on a magnificent shoreline. It became a playground tantrum about whether The Donald would get his own way. He hasn’t. He should accept this. And concentrate on building a golf resort he – and Scotland – can be proud of.
A star who never lost her shine
THE phrase “child star” is seldom a portent of anything good. Often it is a precursor to stories about a wayward and hapless life as a grown-up, often with tragic consequences. Shirley Temple, whose death at the age of 85 was announced yesterday, was a happy exception to the rule.
It is hard to overstate how much of a global sensation she was as small child, starring in more than 40 films. In the mid-30s her success eclipsed that of all other Hollywood movie stars.
And yet Ms Temple did not let her early superstardom define her adult life. She entered politics, and after trying and failing to gain a seat in Congress forged a successful diplomatic career as a US ambassador, first in Ghana and then Czechoslovakia. She also served as US Chief of Protocol. This was a woman of substance.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer in the early 70s, and undergoing surgery, Ms Temple led a high-profile campaign that did much to build public awareness of a disease which, in those unenlightened times, still carried a significant social stigma. There are some who hold this as her finest achievement.
Viewed from a 21st century standpoint, her films can look somewhat curious, to say the least. A film starring a child who aped adult coquettishness would these days attract the attention of social workers rather than the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The novelist Graham Greene pointed this out in a film review in 1937, and was prosecuted for criminal libel.
But the moral of the Shirley Temple story is that there is a life after child stardom. Maybe there is hope for Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus yet.