Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...
Scottish Labour would make taxing the rich a key priority in the next parliament, leader Kezia Dugdale has said. Ms Dugdale will focus on her party's plan to use new powers over income tax coming to Holyrood to introduce a 50p rate for top earners during a campaign visit to Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire. She will highlight analysis by think tank IPPR Scotland showing that Labour's tax plans, which also include a 1p increase to the basic rate of income tax, would raise £900 million more than the SNP by 2020/21. The Labour leader said the extra funds would be channelled towards two other key priorities for her party - investing more in education and stopping cuts to public services. Ms Dugdale will campaign with Rutherglen candidate James Kelly and local activists as they launch a new leaflet in partnership with trade unions. Speaking before the visit, she said: "Today I am outlining the three priorities that must define the next Scottish Parliament, and will guide the next Labour Scottish Government. "Those priorities are simple: Tax the rich, invest in education to grow the economy and stop the cuts to public services. "Labour will use the powers to ask the top 1% to pay the most and stop the Scottish Parliament acting as a conveyor belt for Tory austerity. "That's the positive message activists and trade unionists will be making on high streets and doorsteps all across Scotland this weekend. "Labour will set a 50p top rate of tax for those earning over £150,000 a year so we can stop the cuts and invest in education." Meanwhile Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie will join volunteers campaigning in Bridge of Allan, Stirling, and meet voters following his party's manifesto launch on Friday. The Lib Dems' flagship policy, a "penny for education" involves adding 1p to income tax for those earning more than £21,500 to raise around £500 million each year for education. Mr Rennie said: "The Scottish Liberal Democrats' manifesto is a bold and positive programme for the next five years to make Scotland the best again. "Feedback from the doorsteps is that our uplifting message for a transformational investment in education, leading the charge on boosting mental health services, guaranteeing our civil liberties and protecting the environment is translating into votes. "More Liberal Democrats will deliver positive, liberal change. We're back to our best. Now it's Scotland's turn." Elsewhere on the election trail, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson will visit the south of Scotland to highlight her party's proposals to boost business in the area. She will focus on a manifesto pledge to set up a South of Scotland Enterprise, similar to Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), to grow the economy.
Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.
Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km
Sir, As the RAF Ensign was lowered at the sunset ceremony at the last RAF Leuchars Airshow, well- informed observers and commentators would have seen the irony in one of the displays during the flying programme, namely the Quick Reaction Alert scramble of two Typhoons. With the planned move of air assets some 150 miles north to Lossiemouth, it is in danger of being renamed Delayed Reaction Alert or Diminished Reaction Alert as even travelling at a supersonic 660mph at, say, 35,000 feet, it is going to take the aircraft approximately 14 minutes to fly from Lossiemouth to Leuchars. RAF Leuchars QRA aircraft have been protecting British airspace for over six decades, with no complaints as to their ability to do so, and as a 9/11 style attack is probably the most likely threat to our airspace these days, it is very strange that these same aircraft will be asked to patrol our skies from Lossiemouth to protect us from rogue civilian aircraft that will be flying in air corridors over Britain, 95% of which are south of the Glasgow/Edinburgh corridor. It would appear that the politicians know they have got it wrong, but none are prepared to reverse the decision. The army are destined to come in 2015, even though rumour has it they don’t want to, as it is completely unsuitable for their needs the runway and its services are being retained for emergency diversions. The £240 million price tag for this folly seems steep, but when compared to the £1.5 billion which has reportedly been wasted by the MoD over the last two years, it doesn’t seem so bad. The taxpayer also gets to see £10.2 million wasted every year in increased training costs for the Typhoons, as they fly all the way back to Fife to practise in well-established training grounds just east of Dundee. The prime directive of government is to protect its citizens. Good defence is not determined by luck but by strategy, something the Government decided to leave out of their SDSR. Mark Sharp. 41 Norman View, Leuchars. Jenny’s got it wrong Sir, Jenny Hjul’s article (yesterday’s Courier) takes up the cudgels on behalf of “female exploitation” in lads’ mags. Jenny has got this one wrong, however. In cases of exploitation it is usually the end user, or purchaser, who is being “exploited” and these magazines are no different. The ladies whose images make up the content are being handsomely paid for being photographed, with their full consent, and the magazines’ proprietors are raking in the cash. Nobody is being exploited at that end of the trade, but it is the blokes who part with their cash to buy the mags who are being exploited. No, Jenny, it’s not male exploitation of women, but quite the reverse. It’s female exploitation of men for profit. It’s being going on since the beginning of time and trying to sound trendy by reversing the roles ain’t going to stop it. Vive le difference! (Captain) Ian F McRae. 17 Broomwell Gardens, Monikie. No Scottish jobs created Sir, The brief article re Seimens turbines arriving in Dundee docks should be of interest to readers. The SNP have consistently declared these monstrosities, which are destroying our beautiful landscape, create jobs. The reality is they are manufactured abroad, connected using foreign cables and do not create any Scottish jobs, courtesy of EU procurement rules. We all know the enthusiasm Mr Salmond has for the EU, so he is right in one respect. They do create jobs. For the Germans. However, they cost us all huge amounts in massive subsidies in our electricity bills. If, God forbid, we secure independence, we will have the euro thrust upon us, increasing cost even more. Iain Cathro. 31 Ferndale Drive, Dundee. Slipping into a ‘dark age’? Sir “Humans have stopped evolving” (The Courier Tuesday, September 10). This statement by Sir David Attenborough may be the most significant of his career and deserves to be taken very seriously by governments around the world. Should he be correct, and there is much evidence to indicate he is, then we are already in regression and slipping into a “Dark Age”. Perhaps it is now time for ad hoc “think tanks” to formulate strategic global plans for the way ahead . . . taking into account the objectives and aspirations of all good people before it is too late! Kenneth Miln. 22 Fothringham Drive, Monifieth. A great day all round Sir, Having been an outspoken critic of the traffic and parking management in the past, I must now congratulate all concerned with last Saturday’s air show. In light of the number of people attending, getting on site was, for us, a breeze. The show was excellent even though the Vulcan and red nine (only eight red arrows some shapes just didn’t work!) were sorely missed. Even the weather held up. a great day all round. Marcia Wright. 19 Trinity Road, Brechin.
The adoption of a new DNA test to authenticate the pedigree of all Aberdeen-Angus calves will put the breed in the vanguard of genomic technology, retiring Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society president, Victor Wallace, told a packed annual at Stirling. The society has decided to collect blood samples using special ear tags which incorporate a small uniquely identified receptacle. As the tag is inserted soon after birth the small amount of displaced tissue and blood is captured ready for future DNA testing. Responding to criticism of the society’s decision to use only one company, Caisley, for the collection of samples, Mr Wallace insisted Caisley was the only ear tag company which had the technology to meet the society’s required specification. “We invited a number of ear tag companies to tender and some didn’t bother to reply while others couldn’t meet the spec,” said Mr Wallace. “It is a simple and inexpensive system which most breeders are finding easy to use.” The aim is to collect blood samples from all bull calves to enable the sire of all calves to be verified in the case of any uncertainty or dispute and to authenticate beef being sold as Aberdeen-Angus.” The move by the society has been welcomed by major supermarkets selling Aberdeen-Angus beef. Mr Wallace added: “This process was extensively and rigorously tested with management and council visits to the manufacturers in Germany and the completion of field trials. After this process it was brought back to council and unanimously approved. “Like all changes, there has been some resistance but I am convinced that putting the society in a position to be leading in genomic testing can only be a good one. “We should be leaders, not followers.” Mr Wallace admitted that a £34,000 re-branding exercise carried out over the past year, which included the dropping of the society’s long-established black, green and yellow colours, left room for “significant improvement”. The issue, particularly improvement to the website, would, he said, be addressed in the coming year. The decision to prop up the pension fund of chief executive, Ron McHattie, by £120,000 in four tranches was defended by new president, David Evans, who explained that it was a “catching up” operation as the funding of the pension had not been addressed for 11 years and annuity rates had halved in that time. Mr Evans, who works as a financial adviser, runs a 60-cow pedigree herd in Cleveland with his wife, Penny, and has been chairman of the society’s breed promotion committee. He is planning a series of open days throughout the country this year to promote the commercial attributes of the Aberdeen-Angus breed. “There is a huge and growing demand for certified Aberdeen-Angus beef with the active involvement of most of the leading supermarkets in the UK and registrations in the Herd Book are at a record level and continuing to increase,” said Mr Evans. “But we can’t stand still and it is important that the breed adopts all the latest technology to take the breed forward in the future.” New senior vice-president is Tom Arnott, Haymount, Kelso, while Alex Sanger, Prettycur, Montrose, was appointed junior vice-president.
Sir, In his article of January 21, outlining the ongoing saga of Rossie Moor, Jim Crumley very eloquently sums up just why the wind industry has managed to acquire such a bad reputation in so many parts of rural Scotland. The nub of the problem is the insidious way in which industries like this beguile governments, decision makers and communities with their promises of untold riches which would provide jobs, secure energy supplies and better lifestyles. When those expectations are not fulfilled and people have had time to reflect and take stock of the environmental amenities they have lost it is inevitable that those dreams are replaced with some resentment and a good deal of anger. As a nation we should pay more heed to our history and learn lessons from it. In 1973 the 7:84 Group took the Liverpudlian playwright John McGrath’s brilliant, very powerful and humorous musical drama “The Cheviot, the Stag and Black Black Oil” on tour round Scotland beginning in Aberdeen. I was lucky enough to be able to see their production when they reached Glasgow. The story centred round the economic exploitation of Scotland, her people and its consequences taking us from the era of the Highland clearances through to the newly arrived “oil boom”. He finishes off the play with the warning to the audience that it is their land, urging them to resist exploitation and warning them that they would find the oil corporations even more insensitive than Patrick Sellar the Duke of Sutherland’s factor who evicted the Highland crofting tenants during the clearances. Very few could disagree with that perceptive warning now that fracking for shale gas and deep bed gasification for methane are threatening our seas and lowland areas which can only add to the damage already done by the proliferation of wind farms. Marion Lang. Westermost, Coaltown of Callange, Ceres. Exasperated by Fife’s roads Sir, There are not many peninsular counties like Fife which have major road bridges leading in from both north and south, and yet after nearly 50 years of use, those magnificent structures are linked across Fife by the most pathetic maze of second-rate roads. If those had been well-planned or well-maintained over the last 50 years we would have less of an argument that a main dual carriageway should have been built long ago to link those two most important assets to our county, but their upkeep has been truly pathetic. If we choose to weave around the badly-patched potholes we still have to contend with sheets of water which cannot drain away because the roadside channels are just not being maintained. The general public opinion of our road-planners is at an all time low due to a myriad of unnecessary speed bumps and ludicrous traffic-calming ploys that only serve to choke up places like South Road in Cupar. There, we now see something that was always a difficult situation becoming far worse and more dangerous. Not only does the traffic now back up into Cupar across a road junction, but when it eventually exits from the town it does so as a chain of closely-packed vehicles driven by exasperated drivers. Those then head westwards towards Glenrothes trying to madly overtake each other to make up for lost time. Fife Council road planners and those controlling the purse strings must shoulder a great deal of responsibility for the woe on our roads. Archibald A Lawrie. 5 Church Wynd, Kingskettle. Accident, not an “attack” Sir, While I am very glad to read that Dr Stone is recovering from her accident near Fort William in December, it annoys me that the word “attack” is used in the article in The Courier. I have, on many occasions, tried to get red deer out of plantations etc, and if they don’t want to go the way you want them to go, they will run right past you and that is in broad daylight. The stag that “attacked” the doctor was only trying to escape and unfortunately the doctor was in the way. It is possible that the stag, having been disturbed, was confused by lights and people, and didn’t even see the doctor as it made its escape. Emma Paterson. Auchlyne, Killin. Listen to voices sometimes Sir, I am glad to see Jenny Marra MSP announcing that “the Scottish Government cannot afford to ignore the voices of 45,000 people” in regard to proposed new laws to prevent human trafficking. (January 22). This is despite the fact that the “vast majority” of the responses to the consultation came through a petition organised by the Walk Free campaign and that about a third of responses came from abroad. Rewind a few months, however, and it seems that Ms Marra is not always so willing to urge the Scottish Government to listen to the voice of the people. Over 53,000 people have signed a petition opposing the implementation of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill, the so-called gay marriage bill. Not a peep was heard from Jenny about listening to those voices; in fact she voted in favour of the bill at stage 1. Like many politicians, it seems Ms Marra only listens to “the people” when she agrees with what they are saying. Like them, she appears to have forgotten that MSPs and MPs are elected to represent voters, not to push their own agendas. Angela Rennie. Muirfield Crescent, Dundee.
Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie is to outline plans for a £170 million pupil premium scheme to "put money into every classroom" in Scotland. Mr Rennie will use his speech to the Scottish Liberal Democrat conference in Edinburgh to reveal more details about how he would spend the £475 million raised from increasing income tax north of the border by 1p. Now Holyrood has the ability to set a Scottish rate of income tax, the Liberal Democrats argue the levy should be raised in a bid to tackle the attainment gap between pupils from different backgrounds. The party has already pledged the "penny for education" will be spent on expanding nursery care, repairing colleges, preventing school cutbacks and a pupil premium. Mr Rennie will reveal more details of the plans to party activists, saying primary schools would get £1,400 for every child who needs extra support, while £900 would go to secondary schools for each student from a deprived background. This will show what people will get for their "winning investment", he will say. He will pledge: "We will invest £170 million in our schools with a pupil premium. This will be paid directly to schools to raise attainment every year. "It will be worth £1,400 for every pupil who needs extra support at primary school - wherever they live in the country. And £900 for every secondary school pupil from a disadvantaged background. "Our pupil premium will put money into every classroom. Every school gets money for children from poorer backgrounds. That's enough for more teachers, for one-to-one help, for homework clubs or for extra equipment." He will insist: "That is how you close the attainment gap. By making the investment. By giving the life chances. And by backing your words up with action." Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme, Mr Rennie insisted that the plans would not hurt the low paid. He said: "You'd have to earn over £19,000 to pay any more tax next year compared with this year. "Somebody on £100,000 would be paying 30 times as much as somebody on a median wage in Scotland. It's a small, small contribution for a whopping big impact. "It's progressive taxation, it's only when you have a greater income that you pay more tax." The Lib Dem leader denied his party was fighting for fourth or fifth place in the Holyrood elections. He said: "We're looking to grow this time, we've got some fantastic candidates across the country who are working very well, this policy for a penny for education is working extremely well. "What I know is that we've got a really good package of guaranteeing civil liberties, investing in education, protecting what's the best in our NHS but also meeting our climate change targets. "That package of four solid measures, combined with our great team who have punched well above our weight in Holyrood, we can grow and be a really powerful force in the next parliament." Mr Rennie came under pressure to explain why he had taken no action against Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael following the legal challenge to his election. Judges at the Election Court ruled in December that the MP did not break electoral law by lying about a leaked memo ahead of the general election, but criticised his conduct. Mr Rennie said: "I was more than satisfied to rely on the court to make the judgment. It was not a pretty episode, I was disappointed with what happened but we are moving on."
Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. firstname.lastname@example.org
The Liberal Democrats would raise income tax by 1p to pay for the “biggest investment in education since devolution”. Scottish leader Willie Rennie says the tax increase for all bands would allow his party to spend £475 million more than current levels on nurseries, schools and colleges. The move the Lib Dem’s first major policy announcement in the run-up to Holyrood’s election in May would give extra cash to schools for every disadvantaged pupil on their books, expand early learning and childcare provision and reinstate some of the 152,000 lost college places, Mr Rennie said. He added it will also bail out councils that are looking at making education cuts because of the proposed £500m real-terms cut to local authority budgets. Holyrood has new powers to vary tax levels from April, but any changes must be the same across all tax rates. Further tax powers are coming in 2017. Mr Rennie said increasing the rate across all bands will be fair on lower earners because the better off will pay a higher proportion of their income under the plan. He added: “One penny is a small price for a big boost to get the country fit for the future.”