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
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.
A group of parliamentarians plans to lodge a legal appeal in an attempt to secure a European court ruling on Brexit.The politicians believe the UK Parliament could unilaterally stop the UK leaving the EU if the final Brexit deal is deemed unacceptable by the Commons.They want a definitive ruling from the European Court of Justice (CJEU) on whether the withdrawal process triggered under Article 50 can be halted by the UK on its own, without prior consent of the other 27 EU member states.The group took its fight to the Court of Session in Edinburgh but on Tuesday Judge Lord Doherty turned down a bid to have a full hearing on whether to refer the question to the Luxembourg Court, ruling the issue is “hypothetical and academic”, and that he is “not satisfied the application has a real prospect of success”.Now campaigners have announced plans to appeal against his ruling to the Inner House of the Court of Session.Two of the original group of seven have withdrawn – the SNP’s Joanna Cherry QC and Liberal Democrat Christine Jardine – while director of the Good Law Project, Jo Maugham QC, which has backed the crowdfunded legal action, has been added.The remaining five members are Green MSPs Andy Wightman and Ross Greer, SNP MEP Alyn Smith and Labour MEPs David Martin and Catherine Stihler.In a statement, Mr Maugham said they believe the judge’s decision was “flawed”.He added: “Establishing that, alongside the political route to revocability there is a legal route, is vital in the national interest.“If Parliament chooses not to withdraw the Article 50 notice then no harm is done by asking now the question whether it has that right.“But if Parliament does come to want to withdraw the notice, knowing it has the right to do so serves the national interest.“It improves the bargaining position of the UK, it ensures we retain the opt-outs and rebates that we presently enjoy, and it places the decision entirely in the hands of the UK’s Parliament and – if it chooses – its people.”Aidan O’Neill QC, representing the politicians, previously asked for the case to proceed through the Scottish court, arguing there was a genuine dispute between the two sides as to the proper interpretation of Article 50 which the court required to resolve.David Johnston QC, for the UK Government, insisted the application has no real prospect of success and that there was “no live issue” for the court to address.The policy of the UK Government is that the notification under Article 50 will not be withdrawn, he said.Finding in favour of the Government, Lord Doherty said: “Given that neither Parliament nor the Government has any wish to withdraw the notification, the central issue which the petitioners ask the court to decide – whether the UK could unilaterally withdraw the Article 50(2) notification – is hypothetical and academic.“In those circumstances it is not a matter which this court, or the CJEU, require to adjudicate upon.”
Two social workers who say an inquiry report into allegations of child abuse on the British overseas territory of St Helena destroyed their professional reputations have taken legal action.Claire Gannon and Martin Warsama, who worked on St Helena and made cover-up allegations, have sued the Foreign Office and the senior barrister who led the inquiry.They say they “stand by the accuracy and honesty of their disclosures” and say conclusions were reached on the basis of an inquiry which was procedurally unfair.Lawyers representing ministers and inquiry chairman Sasha Wass QC dispute their claim and say the litigation should not proceed.A judge was on Friday considering issues in the case at a High Court hearing in London.Barrister Neil Sheldon, who is leading a legal team representing Foreign Office ministers, asked the judge, Master Victoria McCloud, to halt the litigation and dismiss the claim launched by Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama.The inquiry had been set up by ministers following corruption and cover-up allegations which had been raised in newspaper articles and leaked documents and made by Ms Gannon and Martin Warsama.An inquiry report published in December 2015 concluded that: St Helena did not “attract sex tourism”; said allegations that the island in the South Atlantic was a “paedophiles’ paradise” were not true; reported “no corruption at all”; and found no evidence of any attempt by the Foreign Office, the Department for International Development, the St Helena government or police to cover up child abuse.The report said: “We stress that there was no ‘cover-up’ as alleged by Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama, rather an ignorance of proper safeguarding procedure.”Nicholas Bowen QC, who represents Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama, told the judge the conclusions of the Wass Inquiry “destroyed” the professional reputations of his clients.He said the inquiry process was “procedurally” unfair and said Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama were entitled to “just satisfaction” for their loss.Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama say their claim should not be dismissed but say evidence should be analysed at a trial.
An Angus councillor has unearthed a fascinating insight into men’s views on the suffragists as the nation commemorated the centenary of some women winning the right to vote. Brenda Durno, SNP member for Arbroath and East Lunan, has been so inspired by an essay written by her great-grandmother in 1904, she is hoping to donate it to a museum in the north east. The amusing reflection was written in the Doric language by Isabella Moir, a 12-year-old pupil at Belhelvie School in Aberdeenshire. She was the eldest of 10 children and had two sisters and seven brothers. Councillor Durno said: “The celebration for the 100 years since women won the right to vote made me think of the essay. “My great grandmother was born in September 1892 and died in May 1992. “She latterly lived in Potterton with my aunt and uncle who ran the shop there and I found the essay when she died.” Mrs Durno chose to enter local politics in the footstep of her father, the SNP councillor Alex Shand, but admitted her great-grandmother was a Liberal supporter. “She was right into politics and was a great friend of Lord Tweedsmuir - the SNP wasn’t around then.” The essay relates to a conversation between a brother and sister as he reads a newspaper article on ‘The Suffragists’. As he works his way through the article, his views become apparent. He berates the efforts of the “limmers of suffragists” claiming “weemans place is at hame” It reads: “They canna mak an men their men’s sarks, keep a clean fireside an have a vote. “Gie then an inch an they wid tak an ill (mile).” The essay goes on to say there a was a time when women were happy “tae tak the chance o’ the first man that socht them, an thankful tae leave the voting an the rulin o the nation tae him”. It was on February 6, 1918 that women aged over 30, those who owned property or had a university education were granted the right to vote through the Representation of the People Act. Mrs Durno is hoping to donate the essay to a museum which specialises in the Doric and would welcome suggestions as to who to contact.
A cross-party group of parliamentarians has lost an early-stage bid to secure a European court ruling on Brexit.Seven politicians from four parties, not including the Conservatives, believe the UK Parliament could unilaterally halt the Brexit process if the final deal is deemed unacceptable by the Commons.They claim this offers a third option instead of Britain having to choose between a bad deal on the UK’s future relationship with Europe or crashing out of the EU with no deal.The group is ultimately seeking a definitive ruling from the European Court of Justice (CJEU) on whether the withdrawal process triggered under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union can be revoked by the UK on its own, without first securing the consent of the other 27 EU member states.Their legal team went to the Court of Session in Edinburgh last week to ask a judge to refer the question to the Luxembourg court.On Tuesday, judge Lord Doherty refused to move the case to a full hearing at Scotland’s highest civil court, saying the issue is “hypothetical and academic”, and that he is “not satisfied the application has a real prospect of success”.The politicians have a right to appeal against the decision to the Inner House of the Court of Session.The seven elected representatives who launched the case are Green MSPs Andy Wightman and Ross Greer, MEP Alyn Smith and Joanna Cherry QC MP of the SNP, Labour MEPs David Martin and Catherine Stihler and Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine. None were present in court as the judge issued his decision.Aidan O’Neill QC, representing the politicians, previously asked for the case to proceed through the Scottish court, arguing there was a genuine dispute between the two sides as to the proper interpretation of Article 50 which the court required to resolve.David Johnston QC, for the UK Government, insisted the application has no real prospect of success and that there was “no live issue” for the court to address.The policy of the UK Government is that the notification under Article 50 will not be withdrawn, he said.Finding in favour of the Government, Lord Doherty said: “I am mindful that demonstrating a real prospect of success is a low hurdle for an applicant to overcome.“However, I am satisfied that that hurdle has not been surmounted. Indeed, in my opinion, the application’s prospect of success falls very far short of being a real prospect.“In my view, the Government’s stated policy is very clear. It is that the notification under Article 50(2) will not be withdrawn.”He went on: “Given that neither Parliament nor the Government has any wish to withdraw the notification, the central issue which the petitioners ask the court to decide – whether the UK could unilaterally withdraw the Article 50(2) notification – is hypothetical and academic.“In those circumstances it is not a matter which this court, or the CJEU, require to adjudicate upon.”The judge concluded: “I am not satisfied that the application has a real prospect of success … Permission to proceed is refused.”The legal action was launched following a crowdfunding campaign and is backed by the Good Law Project.Project director Jo Maugham QC tweeted after the hearing: “It’s plainly in the national interest that MPs, MEPs and MSPs, who face a choice whether to approve Theresa May’s deal, know what options are open to them if they don’t.“I will support an appeal against this decision – to the Supreme Court if necessary.”
A couple who want to keep their “lovely” pet dog in their penthouse apartment have taken their fight to the High Court.Gabby and Florian Kuehn were banned from keeping Vinnie, their Maltese Yorkshire terrier cross, at their flat in Limehouse, east London after they moved there in 2015.The Victory Place management company, which represents residents in the gated 146-flat complex, said there was a no-pets policy as part of the lease, except in special circumstances.Despite the couple arguing there was a “therapeutic benefit” gained from living with Vinnie, the company’s board of directors refused to let him live on the premises.The couple challenged that decision at the Mayor’s & City of London Court, but lost their case in February last year.Judge Donald Cryan ruled the couple’s case “comes down to ‘I love my dog'”, but said that did not mean they should be given permission for him to live in the flat.Mrs Kuehn, 46, a recruitment consultant, and her 43-year-old banker husband appealed against that ruling at the High Court in London on Thursday.Their lawyers argued the board had “pre-determined” their decision to refuse the couple permission to keep Vinnie and the decision-making process was therefore unfair.David Phillips QC, for the Kuehns, said it was clear the board had discussed the matter and made up their minds before meeting with the couple.But Christopher Heather QC, for the management company, said the board was entitled to take account of a vote by 75 residents in support of the policy on pets – with only the Kuehns voting against.He also said the couple had been asked to produce some medical evidence to support their claim about their pet’s therapeutic benefit, but they had not.Sir Geoffrey Vos, hearing the case, said there were “strong views on both sides” and he was “surprised” Vinnie was not in court.He added: “It is a very simple case.“I know it’s about a lovely dog called Vinnie and that can be taken into account.”The judge reserved his ruling on the case until a later date.
It's not even the end of January, but already 2018 is shaping up to be one of the biggest years for live music that Courier Country has experienced in a long time. Excitement reached fever pitch on Tuesday morning following a string of huge gig announcements, with music icons including Noel Gallagher and Lionel Richie confirming shows in the region. We've put together a list of the biggest acts heading our way in the coming months. This article will be updated as and when further acts are announced. Lionel Richie US singer Lionel Richie will perform to thousands of fans at McDairmid Park, Perth on June 3. Tickets for the gig will go on sale online at 10am on Friday, February 2. Richie is the biggest star to play the stadium since Elton John more than a decade ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqAvFx3NxUM https://twitter.com/LionelRichie/status/958249678314721280 Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67zX4oiXqqY The former Oasis man will be the headline act at the BBC's Biggest Weekend festival at Scone Palace on May 26. The guitarist and singer-songwriter, who penned some of the most famous songs of the 1990s, will perform with his High Flying Birds band. https://twitter.com/NoelGallagher/status/958254887866916864 Rita Ora Music superstar Rita Ora is another big name added to the Slessor Gardens concert list. She will play at Dundee's waterfront venue on Saturday July 28. Gary Barlow The Take That frontman is playing two gigs in Tayside this year, one at Perth Concert Hall on April 19 and another at Dundee's Caird Hal on April 20. Tickets for both gigs sold out rapidly. Status Quo Legendary British rock band Status Quo will be at Scone Palace as the headline act for the 2018 ReWind Festival in July. Bonnie Tyler, The Boomtown Rats and UB40 These are just a few of the other big name acts returning to Tayside for this year's Rewind Festival. Simple Minds and The Pretenders Scottish rock bands Simple Minds and The Pretenders will lead the line-up at Dundee's Slessor Gardens on September 9. Steps The pop group are coming to Slessor Gardens on June 22. They will be supported by fellow 90s bands Blue and Aqua. KT Tunstall The Fife musician is providing support to both Simple Minds and The Pretenders at Slessor Gardens on September 9, and to Gary Barlow at his local gigs in April. Belle and Sebastian The influential Scottish band will play Perth Concert Hall on Friday, March 23. Eddi Reader The Scots singer will play Perth Concert Hall on February 28. Leo Sayer The pop star will play at Rothes Halls, Glenrothes, on October 9. Suggs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dc3AovUZgvo The Ska legend and Madness frontman is playing at Dunfermline's Alhambra Theatre on Wednesday, February 28. Erasure https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x34icYC8zA0 The 1980s synthpop act are playing Dundee's Caird Hall in just a matter of days - on Friday, February 2. The Proclaimers The Scottish musical legends will play Dundee's Caird Hall on December 15. Could more great gigs be on the cards for Tayside and Fife? Dundonians were treated to three shows at Slessor Gardens in 2017 from UB40, Little Mix and Olly Murs, so we may well see some more big-name musicians making their way to the city in 2018. And MoFest is yet to announce its 2018 line-up after attracting The Beach Boys last year. Will Carnival 56 return? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29oN9VBXf_U Despite attracting thousands of music fans and earning several major award nominations, the future of Dundee's new music festival still remains unknown. Festival founder Craig Blyth has left the company that set up the popular event at Camperdown Park last year. However Dundee City Council has granted permission for it to run every year until 2021. In October last year an official festival spokeswoman said there had been “no confirmation” of the festival’s return, adding: “The debrief process is still under way”. Sir Rod Stewart to Dundee? No, we've not given up on Sir Rod coming to Dundee in 2018! The rocker is partnered with the Liz Hobbs Group, who are behind all of the hugely-successful 2017 Slessor Gardens concerts. Sir Rod came out as the overwhelming favourite in a Courier poll which asked locals who they would most like to see next at the waterfront music venue in 2018. And the Lizz Hobbs Group themselves haven't ruled it out. Sir Rod is not believed to have played in Dundee since the 1970s, despite a number of appearances elsewhere in Scotland. In this weekend's Courier, we speak to Simple Minds singer-songwriter Jim Kerr.
Sir, – Over the matter of just a few days the UK’s standing in the world has further diminished as the impact of Brexit becomes more tangible. Earlier this week the relocation of two EU agencies currently based in London was announced. The European Medicines Agency will move to Amsterdam, while the European Banking Authority will be lost to Paris, which narrowly pipped Dublin to host this prestigious organisation. Between them, the two agencies employ 1,150 people, as well as attracting thousands of visiting researchers and staff members to London. This is despite Brexit Secretary David Davis, previously voicing his hope, with more than a little naivety dare I say, that the agencies could remain in London. To add insult to injury the UK will have to pay for the relocation. In addition to this, the UK has withdrawn its candidate from election to the UN International Court of Justice. It will be the first time since the founding of the UN that Britain will not have a judge on its most powerful court. The move comes after the UK suffered a blow to its diplomatic prestige last week when, after five rounds of simultaneous voting by the Security Council and the General Assembly in New York, four judges from Brazil, Lebanon, France and Somalia were chosen for the bench ahead of the UK’s candidate, Sir Christopher Greenwood. This is clearly a further sign of the UK’s increasing irrelevance on the world stage following the decision to leave the European Union. As the UK turns inwards following the Brexit vote, it is hardly a surprise that it is no longer able to command the global influence it once did. Alex Orr. Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh. No blame, no claim Sir, – The Chancellor’s whimsical, headline grabbing wheeze of presumably electrically powered “driverless cars” seems to be ahead of its time – and somewhat ahead of the technology. I picture a situation where in the event of, for example, a collision (in America recently, a driverless bus was reported as being involved in an accident within minutes of its introduction) the passengers in the vehicles simply walking away… it was of course, nothing to do with them... What then is the attitude of the insurance companies to this visionary proposal? Peter Dickinson. 13 South Street, Arbroath. Terrible mistake Sir, – The budget brought some good news for Scots. There is to be a cash injection of an extra £2 billion over the rest of this parliament, duty on whisky is frozen (again), and the VAT incurred so recklessly by the SNP Government on the emergency services is to be discontinued. What is the response of the SNP? To invoke their long-time legal advisers, Moan, Whinge and Grievance. Changes to taxation and stamp duty in the rest of the UK leave Scotland as the highest taxed part of the UK, with more tax hikes in Scotland likely in the imminent Scottish Budget. This leaves Scotland as a less attractive place to do business, or – given Land and Buildings Transaction Tax – to live than the rest of the UK. No doubt we will see the results of that in the near future. The UK Government made a terrible mistake in devolving tax powers to Holyrood. There should be a uniform fiscal regime for the whole of the UK. Jill Stephenson.Glenlockhart Valley,Edinburgh. ‘Phoney’ figures Sir, – I was astounded by Chief Superintendent Paul Anderson’s statement that driving and using a mobile phone offences had reduced by 84%. I am not sure where the police get these figures but it certainly is not in Carnoustie. Myself and everyone I know see phone usage and driving on numerous occasions every day in life. I will expect the police to say they cannot be everywhere, but in the next few weeks we will see police patrols everywhere in the annual festive season crackdown, so where are these patrols now? Bob Duncan. 110 Caesar Avenue, Carnoustie. A case of us and them Sir, – I believe that one important point has been overlooked regarding Kezia Dugdale’s absence from Holyrood, in order to take part in a lucrative junket in Australia. She has, without permission, absented herself from her employment. This, I contend, is gross misconduct and should be dealt with appropriately. I have no doubt, had she been employed as an administrative, clerical or maintenance worker, she would have been disciplined, and would probably now be seeking alternative employment. Them and us. David Moffat. 17 Goshen Terrace, Scone. Grievance politics Sir, – The SNP reaction to the Budget once again demonstrates its government by grievance approach. Scotland already benefits by some £9 billion a year from the rest of the UK to help fill the large hole in our public finances. Yet when Philip Hammond says there will be an extra £2bn for Scotland over four years, it is dismissed as “smoke and mirrors” and a “con” by the SNP, because much of it is conditional on being used in financing housing and growth initiatives. No doubt the SNP would prefer it were available for more of their giveaways, as they continue to try to draw attention away from the failures in Scotland’s essential public services. In next month’s Holyrood budget it will be interesting to see how Finance Secretary Derek Mackay justifies his proposed tax increases when the money already raised is in so many instances demonstrably mismanaged or spent for popularity rather than where the need is greatest. Keith Howell. White Moss, West Linton. No response to offer Sir, – I refer to the article of November 15 and a call from Perth and Kinross Council for volunteers to clear footpaths and pavements this winter,which received a frosty reception. My experience was that as I own a small contracting business in the area,this task might be of some interest to me over the winter months. I called the council on the telephone number advertised on November 16 at 11.45am and left my details with a lady who informed me that the person dealing with this matter would return my call. My call was not returned. A shocking state of affairs, considering someone with a great deal of experience has called in to perhaps offer their services for free. Perhaps my call was lost in their newly refurnished “swanky tower”? Ian Robertson. Station Road, Crook of Devon. Smoke and mirrors Sir, – On reading the article “New play park in line to be smoke-free zone” (November 16), I was reminded of GK Chesterton’s comment on the journalist Mr Hibbs in his book, The Flying Inn. He wrote that Mr Hibbs had a great talent for the trick of dismissing the important part of the question as if it could wait, and appearing to get to business on the unimportant part of it. Councillor Julie Bell states that we all want our children to be healthy. She then states that it is a huge aspiration of hers that all our play parks are smoke-free zones. She implicitly links these two statements, although I can find no evidence that an outdoor smoking ban will have any effect on children’s health. I can visualise Ms Bell and her colleagues leaving the council meeting and patting themselves on the back at having achieved something. They have not achieved anything except headlines. Stop using window dressing in place of effective interventions. Derek Byrne. Teach na Cluana, Invergowrie.
The family of a woman killed in a motorway crash have asked well-wishers to pray for her husband who is fighting for his life.Sandra McDonald-Martin, 69, was a passenger in a car driven by husband, Christopher, 73, which was involved in a collision with a HGV and six other vehicles on the northbound carriageway of the M6 near Tebay, Cumbria.Mrs McDonald-Martin, from the Southampton area, was pronounced dead at the scene of the incident which took place on Wednesday at about 2pm. Her husband was flown to Royal Preston Hospital where he remains in a critical condition.In a statement, their family said: “Sandra was a beloved mother, a dedicated wife, a much adored nanny and a dear friend to many. I’ve never known anyone with a heart as big as hers.“Our family are still in shock and utterly devastated by the loss of such an incredible woman.“We ask that you please pray for my father, Sandra’s husband, Christopher McDonald-Martin, while he fights his way back to us.”Cumbria Police are still urging any witnesses to the collision to come forward. Anyone with information should call 101 and ask to speak to PC 1439 Latham.