An advertising campaign by Donald Trump, the US property tycoon, attacking Alex Salmond’s support for wind farms will this week be condemned as “misleading” by the UK government’s advertising watchdog.
The Sunday Herald has learnt that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) will publish on Wednesday a damning ruling on adverts that appeared in Scottish newspapers in December. The adverts linked the First Minister’s backing for wind power to the Scottish government’s decision to free the Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi.
The ruling, the second against Trump’s anti-wind farm campaign in Scotland, has been welcomed by environmental groups and wind lobbyists. But it has prompted the Trump Organisation, which confirmed the ruling against it, to berate the ASA for being “disorganised, inefficient and wasteful”.
The adverts featured a picture of a forest of wind turbines on a hill overlooking a motorway in California under the heading “Is this the future for Scotland?” Below was a photograph of Salmond smiling and giving the thumbs up.
“Tourism will suffer and the beauty of the country is in jeopardy,” said the text. “This is the same mind that backed the release of terrorist al-Megrahi ‘for humane reasons’ after he ruthlessly killed 270 people on Pan-Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie.”
The adverts, which ran in the Aberdeen Press and Journal and the Dundee Courier on 14 December 2012, prompted 21 complaints to the ASA. They argued that the text and imagery were misleading, and the reference to al-Megrahi offensive.
The ASA has concluded that the claim that tourism would suffer “could not be substantiated”. The picture implying that a wind farm in Scotland would look like the turbines in California was “misleading”, it said.