Leading article: Trumped

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The Independent Online

It is a parable for our times. The preposterously-coiffed US property tycoon Donald Trump is locked in battle with a ruddy-faced and taciturn Scottish salmon farmer over the development of the "greatest golf course in the world" in the wild-wind wilderness somewhere to the north of Aberdeen.

It is there – where now stands the ramshackle old smallholding of Michael Forbes – that the American wants to build £1bn-worth of Trump International Links, which will include two championship golf courses, a five-star hotel, 950 holiday homes and 36 golf villas. Round one to Mr Trump, who has just won outline approval from local councillors for the scheme.

It is an iconic clash. For in the red corner, with the rubicund farmer, stand those whom their opponents dub "petty little socialist local politicians" and eco-loons (the area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest). In the blue corner, alongside the big bad capitalist, stand local business and tourism leaders.

It is the language which gives the game away. The leader of the council is "unfit to be an elected official". The development is to be a "tacky" and Disney-style "American compound" to service Mr Trump and his "golden golf clubs and minimum-wage caddy". Or "with oil coming to a natural end, we need to find a replacement, and what better way to get a £58m annual boost to the local economy".

This is a story of globalisation and its social cost writ large. At play are the forces of economic realism and cultural resentment which are in tension all around the globe. Most sympathy will go with Mr Forbes, but most money with Mr Trump. Whether his hair can survive the winds for which the area is known is another matter.