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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

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...

Angus & The Mearns

Community payback order for teenager who broke down in tears while trying to raid Monifieth shop

March 14 2012

A teenager broke down in tears while attempting to rob a shop owner at knifepoint, a court has heard. Stewart McKenna (19), of Durham Street, Monifieth, escaped a jail sentence following an appearance at Arbroath Sheriff Court on Tuesday. He had previously admitted that on July 13, he presented a knife at the 61-year-old woman behind the counter at Ashgrove Mini Market, Monifieth, before demanding she fill a carrier bag with cigarettes. The court heard McKenna had been drinking and taking mephedrone (bubbles) for more than two days prior to the incident. Depute fiscal Arlene Shaw said the woman had been alone in the store when he walked in. She said: ''During the late hours of July 12 and the early hours of July 13 the accused was drinking with friends. This continued and the accused became upset regarding his grandmother being unwell. ''The accused became aggressive and stated to a friend that he was going to get money and get 'fags'.'' Ms Shaw said that McKenna's friend knew he had no money and subsequently attempted to prevent him from leaving, fearing he would ''do something stupid.'' However, McKenna managed to leave the property and walked to the shop, where he entered dressed in a back hooded top with the hood pulled up. She added: ''At this time she saw the accused had bloods on his hands and face. He asked for a bag, which she handed over then produced a black-handled kitchen knife with a six-inch blade from the waistband of his jeans, which he presented at the woman. ''He handed the bag back to her and instructed her to fill it with cigarettes.'' The woman refused to hand anything over and told McKenna to get out of the shop. She was on the phone to her husband at the time, and he then called the police. McKenna again demanded cigarettes, with the woman this time telling him ''you are not getting anything,'' before warning him he was going to get into trouble. Ms Shaw said: ''These comments appeared to have an effect. He put the knife back in his trousers and began to cry, then told the woman his grandmother wasn't well.'' As he broke down, the shop keeper suddenly recognised McKenna, as his grandmother was a regular customer. McKenna asked for a packet of 20 cigarettes, to which the woman replied ''no'' and told him the police had been called, prompting him to run off. Sheriff Derek Pyle said the case was ''bizarre'' and sentenced McKenna to a community payback order of 200 hours with a supervision requirement.

Farming news

Aberdeen-Angus DNA test hailed by Victor Wallace

February 13 2015

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.


BT Caledonia League: Glenrothes recover to consolidate their lead

September 22 2014

Glenrothes pulled clear at the top of BT Caledonia Division 1 with a 37-27 win over Orkney in a hard fought encounter at Carleton Park. The Fifers started poorly and trailed 22-5 at the interval, with Shaun Gray claiming the Glenrothes points. However, a second half performance brimming with character yielded tries for Kenny Christie, Willie Maxwell, Michael Delorey and Gray. Coach Tom Hainey was pleased with the way his side had battled back and said: “We knew if we dug in for the first hour we could get at them in the last quarter. That’s how it worked out so I have to be pleased with that.” Strathmore took the honours in a high-scoring encounter at home to Morgan Academy. Fraser Mackay bagged a hat-trick and Fraser Cameron had two tries, while there was one each for Jordan Rae, Jamie Gardiner and Dave Vernon as Strathie emerged as 50-25 winners. Meanwhile, Hillfoots are still on the hunt for their first win after going down 22-10 away to Caithness with Mark Hunter touching down and Gregor Manson kicking the rest. Alloa maintained a flawless start to the Division 2 (Midlands) campaign with a 53-0 win at home to Madras Rugby. A double by Kris Aitken and one try apiece from Martin McKenzie and Matt Duncan, plus a Stevie Skelton conversion gave Alloa a 22-0 interval lead. A second try by McKenzie and scores from Matt Pope, Tam McGowan, Stevie Jack and Lee Cairney three of them converted completed the job. Carnoustie remain on the heels of Alloa after seeing off Kinross 48-5. Carnoustie’s eight tries were shared around Danny Van Wyk had a double while there was one apiece for Danie Van Niekerk, Anthony Franco, Chris Rankin, Ian Reid, Nathan Bowles, David Campbell and Owen Hughes. Harris Academy were bonus point winners away to Grangemouth Stags. Owen McDonald and Gareth Lipton each scored two tries in the 31-24 success and Niall Quinton joined them on the score sheet, with Stewart Walker adding three conversions. All of the points for Harris came in the first half with the Elliot Road men 31-12 up at the break and it took some stout defending by Harris to hold off a Stags fight back. Elsewhere, Stirling University posted a 25-22 win over Howe of Fife seconds and Panmure emerged as 29-19 winners from their basement battle at home to Blairgowrie. Meanwhile, Arbroath maintained their unbeaten start to the Division 3 Midlands (East) when they eased past Stobswell 43-15. Falkirk seconds were 63-21 winners away to Strathmore seconds, while Fife Southern got the better of Glenrothes seconds 54-5 and Dundee University Medics were equally impressive in seeing off Kirkcaldy seconds 37-17. Stirling County Bridgehaugh are the early pacesetters in Division 3 (West) after edging out Crieff & Strathearn 45-44 in a thrilling encounter at the Braidhaugh.


Kezia Dugdale vows to tax the rich

April 16 2016

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.

Farming news

Killin Show brightens wet and cold day

August 19 2014

The guys and gals up Killin way are made of hardy stuff. Their attitude to a cold and wet show morning on Saturday was simply to ignore the weather and get on with it. The fancy dress and vintage tractor parade through the village led by the Comrie Pipe Band is a traditional way of opening the Killin Show. By the time the participants had reached the Breadalbane Park every one of them, including a well-costumed Wild West team, was truly ‘drookit’ but the enthusiasm remained. At least their perseverance was partly rewarded later in the day when the drizzle slackened and the sun shone from time to time. The livestock judging was similarly unaffected by the weather. Cattle judge Neil McCorkindale, Scammadale, Oban, said he had a good top end to sort out in his search for a champion. Eventually the tap on the rump went to a mid-March-born heifer calf shown by Hamish McDiarmid of McDiarmid Bros, Ben Lawers, north Tayside. This well-grown calf, which will likely be sold in Forfar next spring, is by the Limousin sire Oldhouse Dougal and out of a home-bred Limousin cross cow. The reserve was an April-born bullock calf from Robert Waugh, Croftintygan, north Tayside. Again this was Limousin sired, this time by a Homebyres-bred bull and out of a home-bred Limousin cross cow which was first in its class on Saturday. Mr McCorkindale said: “The champion is a stylish well-turned out calf. The reserve is a bullock calf with a lot of potential.” The overall show champion of champions at Killin on Saturday was from the cross sheep section. A and J Anderson, Tullochcan, Ardeonaig, took the honours with an almost pure Texel gimmer well-shown by Donna McKenzie. This one is by Cowal Shrek and out of a home-bred Texel cross ewe. Tullochcan runs 200 Texel cross ewes and 1,200 Blackfaces. Cross sheep judge Roddy Thomson, of Pitnacree, Strathtay, said: “This is a very correct gimmer smart and strong.” His fellow champion of champions judges Mr McCorkindale and Blackface judge Ewan Bennie, of Merkins, Alexandria, obviously agreed as there was no need for an umpire. Reserve in the cross sheep was a Texel cross ewe lamb from Peter McDiarmid, Shenlarich, north Tayside. The largest judging task of the day fell to Mr Bennie with, as is usual for Killin, very large classes of Blackfaces all from the confined area of Killin and its surrounding parishes. His champion was a ewe lamb from Colin Little, Glen Ample, Lochearnhead. Born at the end of April the lamb is by a £3,500 Nunnerie sire which was last year’s Killin champion of champions and out of a ewe by a £1,600 Pole sire. The reserve, which according to Mr Bennie was “not far behind” was a shearling ram from Iain McLarty, Glen Tarken, Loch Earn. Intended for use at home rather than for sale this one is by a £2,100 Ben Lomond and out of ewe by a £2,000 Auldhouseburn. Cattle results were as follow. Bullock calf by Limousin (2013 born): McDiarmid Bros, Ben Lawers. Heifer calf by Limousin (2013 born): Ben Lawers. Bullock calf by Limousin (2014 born): Croftintygan. Heifer calf by Limousin (2014 born: Ben Lawers. Bullock calf any other sire: Peter Reilly, Tullochmhor, Balquhidder. Heifer with calf at foot: Ben Lawers. Cow with calf at foot: Croftintygan. Sheep results were as follow. Cross Pair of cross lambs out of a Blackface ewe: Tullochmor. Pair of cross lambs out of a cross ewe: Shenlarich. Ewe: Shenlarich.Gimmer: Tullochcan. Ewe lamb: Shenlarich. Mule ewe lamb: Tullochmor. Tup: Succoth. Blackface Shepherd’s class: Shenlarich. Naturally shown ewe and lambs: Mrs Taylor, Braes of Ardeonaig. Ram three years and over: Glen Tarken. Ram two years and over: Glen Ample. Shearling ram: Glen Tarken. Ewe three years and over: Glen Ample. Ewe two years and over: Glen Tarken. Gimmer: Meggernie Estate, Glen Lyon. Ram lamb: Glen Tarken. Ewe lamb: Glen Ample. Pair of wether lambs: K Taylor, Dall, Ardeonaig. Young handler: under-11 Iona Little; 11-18 Lewis McKenzie. Female group of three: Glen Ample. Male group of three: Glen Tarken. Best wooled sheep: Tullochmhor. Fleeces Blackface mattress: Tullochmhor (reserve champion). Blackface fine: Braes of Ardeonaig (champion). Natural colour: Braes of Ardeonaig. Fine medium: Succoth.

Readers' letters

Irony of the Typhoon display at Leuchars

September 13 2013

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.

Scottish League 1

Brechin 1 Stranraer 3: City blow a chance to move up

February 24 2014

Brechin blew a chance to move closer to the League One play-off positions, when a first-half hat-trick from Martin Grehan saw them crash 3-1 at home to Stranraer. The sides cancelled each other out in the opening quarter of the game, and it was Stranraer that took the lead on 26 minutes, hitting on the break with Grehan tapping home from a Mark Docherty pass. On 34 minutes Paul McLean was booked for bringing down Andy Stirling on a run into the box and Grehan scored from the spot. David McKenna then missed a sitter when he failed to connect with a Sean Winter pass in front of goal. Stranraer made it 3-0 on 40 minutes when Grant Gallagher headed down for Grehan to blast home. Brechin got a goal back on 59 minutes when Robert Thomson slipped the ball through for Andy Jackson. Hopes of a fightback were dashed on 66 minutes when McLean collected a second booking for another foul on Stirling. A Bobby Barr drive that was pushed away by David Mitchell was the closest Brechin came to scoring again. At the other end Smith had to make an outstanding double save from McKenna and Grehan. Brechin boss Ray McKinnon said: “We were abysmal in the first half, the worst we have played all season. “To lose three goals on the counter-attack was suicidal.” He added: “We needed to score the next goal at the start of the second half and did so, but decision-making hurt us again when Paul McLean got sent off, which ended our chances of coming back.” McKinnon took no consolation from the fact Brechin did not lose any ground on fourth-placed Ayr. “In the last two weeks we have had great opportunities to claw our way into the play-off spots but have lost twice. We must work hard and try to address this next week.”


Dundee band’s cine film mystery solved following appeal in The Courier

May 24 2018

The mystery behind a cine film that is being used by a Dundee band to promote a track from their forthcoming new album has been solved thanks to a recent appeal for information in The Courier. Spare Snare re-edited the 8mm film featuring Dundee and the Tay Road Bridge in 1966, Craigtoun Park near St Andrews and Southend-on-Sea, to fit the melancholy track Grow from the new album Sounds which is due for release on Chute Records in July. Now a relative of one of the families featured in the footage has come forward with details after Spare Snare lead singer Jan Burnett sought The Courier’s help. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q8NcO6qd_A Retired local government worker Linda Gellatly, 62, saw the recent article in The Courier and recognised two of those in the film as her late aunt Frances and uncle Doug – and then realised she was in the film herself. She said: “I only know the people having a party at the end of the film. I do not recognise anyone else. “The party is held in my aunt Betty and uncle Alex's house in Harestane Road Dundee. “I stayed next door with my mum and dad, Rita and Bob Brown and my gran Maggie Barnes stayed up the road. “Frances and Doug stayed around the corner in Newton Road. “The Barnes family were Maggie Barnes, her son Doug and daughters Betty and Rita. “My cousin Margaret (Frances and Doug's daughter) is also in the film. “My gran's cousin Willie McKenzie is also there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZhUnBzTS_4 “I'm the youngest in the film. I think I may be around 10/11 so that film would be around 1965/66.” Spare Snare musician Adam Lockhart, who runs the Media Preservation Lab at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee explained that the films (super 8 and standard 8) were handed into the art college a number of years ago by persons unknown. They had been lying around in the photography department for a long time, until a student became interested in them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyZbb2r1ok4 The student came to him to ask if he could use the films for an art project, so Adam had them all digitally scanned. In the end the student didn’t use them so he decided to make the Spare Snare video with them. He added: “The reels were marked as being owned by a William (Willie) MacKenzie, who was a friend of Linda Gellatly’s family. He appears in the party scene at the end. “Linda said that he never married, so perhaps he didn’t have anyone to leave the films to, so when he died someone maybe handed the films into DJCAD?”

Readers' letters

Wind industry Jim got it exactly right

January 27 2014

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.