Analysis: As the ‘special relationship’ ends, Salmond’s other friends in green lobby will be watching

IT WAS just over three years ago that Donald Trump described Alex Salmond as “an amazing man”.

That effusive compliment came from the New York-based businessman after Salmond’s ministers called in the application for his golf course, which had been rejected by Aberdeenshire Council.

What a contrast between then and now. Salmond’s enthusiasm for renewable energy has triggered the most extraordinary attack from a man unable to contain his fury about the prospect of wind farms being built off his golf course.

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Trump’s accusation that with the “reckless installation” of these “monsters” Salmond will “single-handedly have done more damage to Scotland than virtually any event in Scottish history” is a bold claim the year before the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden.

More pertinently for Salmond, Trump’s outburst has the potential to revive memories of the controversy that surrounded the tortuous process which finally ended with the tycoon being given permission to build his links and luxury hotel in the sand dunes of the Menie Estate.

The perception that the First Minister and Trump’s relationship had become too cosy arose from the Scottish Government’s decision to allow the project in Salmond’s constituency to go ahead, following a public inquiry. Salmond has always insisted there has been no wrong-doing on his part, although a parliamentary report did say he had displayed a “cavalier” attitude in his dealings with the project.

Given the venom in Trump’s letter, there is little chance of accusations of cosiness being bandied about with quite the same eagerness as before. Nevertheless, there will be questions over whether Salmond’s previous association with Trump will come back to haunt him, given the deterioration in their relationship. Salmond cannot take a position on the siting of wind farms, given it is still a planning issue. But rest assured the environmental lobby will be casting a beady eye towards Salmond to ensure Trump’s remarks do not undermine his enthusiasm for green energy. The reality, however, is it will take more than Donald Trump to undermine the First Minister’s green credentials.

And one suspects the intemperate nature of Trump’s language will do little to help the American’s cause.