Do politicians have a death wish?

Judging by the letters and columns in the newspapers, I am not the the only one who is watching the ever unfolding Trump saga with growing disbelief.

First Aberdeenshire Council get themselves into a total guddle, because a minority committee rejects a planning application. The majority of the councillors are apparently in favour, but the council is unable to refer the decision for ratification by the full council. Now when the £1 billion plan looks like it has been saved by the Scottish Government, other politicians pop out of the woodwork desperate to stick more spokes in the wheel and, potentially, derail the plan.

A lot of hot air has been spouted about how this may compromise the planning system. Surely, the biggest anomaly in the planning system was the fact that a minority committee of councillors could make the decision in the first place. There should have been a mechanism for it to be considered by the full council.

Only the full council can claim, democratically, to have the full mandate for the electorate of Aberdeenshire.

In that the system failed the people of Aberdeenshire, the decision to call in the plan to the Scottish Government was a godsend. Those of us who believe that the Trump International Golf Links Scotland is too good an opportunity to lose, breathed a sigh of relief. Donald Trump reaffirmed his commitment to the plan and his willingness to be patient while the Scottish Government went through the necessary procedures.

But the story didn't end there, unfortunately.

Opportunistic opposition MSPs and party leaders appear to be falling over themselves to bog the whole plan down in a sea of inquiries and to besmirch the Trump plan with talk of "sleaze".

Now, we are back where we were in November.

Understandably, Donald Trump is, yet again, losing patience with our national ability to keep shooting ourselves in the same foot over and over again.

Across the Irish Sea, First Minister Ian Paisley's grin is getting wider and wider as he sees the potential £1 billion development heading his way, with many more billions of future business following in its wake. At home, the people of Scotland become even more despairing with the "death wish" of our politicians.

Given that some of the current detractors are supposedly in favour of this development, would it really hurt to stop scoring points and work together to get this through? The current bickering, squabbling and casting accusations of "sleaze" really threatens to lose us the whole opportunity.

If we are to become a "competitive place" to do business (as the politicians profess they want Scotland to be), we need to shake up our ideas.

The planning process needs close scrutiny. At the moment it sometimes seems like it is a process of scoring points against the developer.

The attitude is that even meritorious applications should be refused in a perverse desire to see the applicant crawl back pleading for approval with a revised application. It's almost like some macho posturing.

That breeds a negative culture. The first answer is "no".

Shockingly, some of the original councillors, who rejected the Trump application, said afterwards that they didn't mean to 'stop the development'. So, why on earth would you vote a flat "no" if you didn't want to stop it?

This old point-scoring approach is not the way to treat applications that have huge potential benefits for the economy. The answer, where possible, should be a straightforward "yes", even if there is a qualification - "but, could you change this aspect...".
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