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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...


Sturgeon apologises after Chattanooga memo mix-up

May 22 2015

A Chattanooga woman received a crash course in British politics on Friday after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon accidentally tagged her in a Tweet about former Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael. Mr Carmichael admitted on Friday he authorised the leaking of a memoregarding a meeting between Ms Sturgeon and the French ambassador last month. Ms Sturgeon has now said Mr Carmichael, the Liberal Democrats' only remaining Scottish MP, should consider his position. However, the First Minister accidentally used the wrong Twitter handle for Mr Carmichael in a Tweet on Friday, sending dozens of supporters to the Twitter page of Tennessee public relations executive Amanda Carmichael instead. Ms Carmichael was inundated with Tweets from people urging Mr Carmichael to resign. She changed her Twitter biography to state that she was not Secretary of State of Scotland and even got an apology from the First Minister herself for any inconvenience she had caused. https://twitter.com/NicolaSturgeon/status/601805675300331520The apology was soon accepted by Ms Carmichael: https://twitter.com/acarmichael/status/601830754860048384 Ms Carmichaeleven sent a message to her namesake alerting him to the mix-up: https://twitter.com/acarmichael/status/601768033699364864 However, she is not the first person to be confused with a politican on Twitter. Last year a Canadian who shared a name with former Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy received abuse from dozens of so-called cybernats using the wrong address.


Alistair Carmichael ‘enormously’ regrets memo leak involvement

November 10 2015

Former Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael has told a court he "enormously" regrets his involvement in the leaking of a confidential memo. The Liberal Democrat MP made the statement as he gave evidence for a second day at a special Election Court sitting in Edinburgh. During the hearing, he also admitted he tried to mislead a Cabinet Office probe into the leak. But the Orkney and Shetland MP denied lying about his role in the release of the document to protect his reputation. Four of Mr Carmichael's constituents are behind a court bid to oust him from his seat - brought under Section 106 of the Representation of the People Act 1983, which forbids people from making false statements about the character and conduct of an election candidate. It comes after he admitted responsibility for the leaked memo written by a civil servant, which incorrectly claimed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the French ambassador that she would prefer to see David Cameron remain in Downing Street at May's general election. The MP initially denied having prior knowledge of the memo leak, but following a Cabinet Office inquiry he later admitted he had allowed his special adviser Euan Roddin to release details of the document, which appeared in the Daily Telegraph towards the start of the election campaign on April 3. Questioned by his own counsel Roddy Dunlop QC, Mr Carmichael, a married father-of-two, told the court it has been "a difficult few months" for him. "Do you regret getting involved in this in the first place?" asked the lawyer. "Enormously," Mr Carmichael replied. Earlier, the court heard Mr Carmichael's claim in an April Channel 4 interview that he had no prior knowledge of the leak was "false". Mr Carmichael told Jonathan Mitchell QC, acting for the four petitioners, that he had initially denied knowledge of the leak to protect Mr Roddin and the interests of his party. "We were still wanting to keep the focus on the story and not on the leak," he told the court. The MP agreed the focus would have moved to him if he had initially admitted knowledge of the memo leak. Mr Mitchell suggested that would have been "destructive" of his reputation, but Mr Carmichael insisted: "It was nothing about my reputation." The QC continued: "You're assuring the court this is nothing to do with protecting your reputation?" Mr Carmichael replied: "The question of my reputation was not the consideration that we had. This was about keeping the focus on the political story, the purpose of the leak in the first place." On Monday, Mr Carmichael told the court he was "less than fully truthful" with the Cabinet Office inquiry initially, which was launched shortly after the newspaper article was printed. Mr Mitchell today suggested the MP's approach to the probe was "calculated and intended to mislead". Mr Carmichael replied: "Yes, I would have to accept that."

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

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.


Row as Nicola Sturgeon claims UK Government has ‘bedroom tax’ veto

January 22 2015

Proposals to devolve more powers to Holyrood gives UK ministers an effective veto over Scottish Government welfare policy, including the ability to abolish the so-called “bedroom tax”, Nicola Sturgeon has claimed. A major political row broke out between the First Minister and the UK’s Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander over a clause in the legislation to enact the cross-party Smith Commission. On welfare, the document says Scottish ministers and the Secretary of State must consult the other party on any decisions. However, it adds the Scottish Secretary must give “his or her agreement as to when any change” comes into force. Mr Carmichael said the First Minister was “wrong” to say the clause meant there would be any veto and Mr Alexander insisted the Scottish Government would have the full welfare powers outlined by Lord Smith. However, Ms Sturgeon said there appeared to be a “significant watering down” of what was promised by the Smith Commission, which she was highly critical of despite the SNP signing up to it. She said: “For example, the proposals on welfare do not allow us to vary Universal Credit without the permission of the UK Government. That means under the current proposals we will not have the independence to take action to abolish the bedroom tax.” Mr Carmichael said anyone attempting to use the powers to “thwart” the effective working of the two governments “demonstrates a fundamental lack of respect for the democratically expressed wishes of the Scottish people from the referendum.” He added: “There is no veto. It’s a mature conversation between two governments. Federal governments across the world manage it all the time. “I’m sure it’s within our range of responsibilities. If you are to accept the (veto) analysis then you would have to accept that a veto would pull in the other direction as well and I just don’t see that as sensible or workable. “It’s not what is intended and it’s disappointing but not surprising that it is being suggested.”


Alistair Carmichael memo leak legal challenge branded ‘political show trial’

November 9 2015

A legal bid to unseat former Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael has been branded a "political show trial" in court by a Liberal Democrat MSP. Shetland MSP Tavish Scott said people feel the action is being funded by those, particularly nationalists, who "do not want opposition in this country". Mr Scott, a former leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, was giving evidence at a four-day Election Court hearing taking place at the Court of Session buildings in Edinburgh. Four of Mr Carmichael's constituents in his Orkney and Shetland seat are behind the bid to oust the MP after he admitted allowing the leak of a confidential memo which wrongly claimed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wanted David Cameron to remain in Downing Street at May's general election. Mr Scott was called by the group to give evidence in the case on the first day of the evidence sessions. During sometimes heated exchanges with their QC Jonathan Mitchell, Mr Scott told the court: "I think people don't like these proceedings. "They think it's a political show trial. They think it's a political event being funded by people, particularly nationalists, who do not want opposition in this country." The court has heard how in a Channel 4 interview earlier this year, Mr Carmichael initially denied having prior knowledge of the memo leak, which emerged around a month before voters went to the polls. But following a Cabinet Office inquiry, he admitted he had allowed his special adviser Euan Roddin to release details of the document, which appeared in the Daily Telegraph on April 3. The petitioners argue his actions call into question his integrity as an individual and his suitability to represent the constituency at Westminster. Mr Scott told the court he first became aware of the issue on the first Sunday after the election, May 10, when Mr Carmichael "explained what happened" and said there was a leak inquiry under way. The court heard how, in a local newspaper article dated May 27, Mr Scott, 49, was reported as giving his backing to the "embattled" Mr Carmichael. In it, he was reported as being "disappointed" by the actions of his party colleague and felt "let down". Mr Scott, the Scottish Lib Dem leader from 2008 to 2011, told the court: "The best idea is not to lie in politics." He also said he believes "no question" to this day that it suits the SNP to have the Conservatives in power at Westminster. The legal challenge - funded via a crowd-funding appeal - is being brought under Section 106 of the Representation of the People Act 1983. The case is the first election petition brought in Scotland for 50 years. Mr Carmichael is expected to give evidence in the case later.


Alistair Carmichael ‘mis-stated’ his awareness of Sturgeon memo

June 10 2015

Beleaguered Alistair Carmichael has insisted he did not lie but instead “mis-stated his awareness” of a leaked document which claimed Nicola Sturgeon preferred David Cameron as Prime Minister to Ed Miliband. The former Liberal Democrat Scottish Secretary gave up his severance pay after accepting responsibility for the memo the content of which was denied by Ms Sturgeon and the French Ambassador, who was also referenced in it being made public. A campaign to have him removed as the Orkney and Shetland MP resulted in an election petition, which cited a TV interview where he claimed the first he was aware of the memo was when he was told about it by a journalist. Mr Carmichael’s legal response said he “mis-stated his awareness”.

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

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. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk


Man threatened to throw partner out of Dundee hotel window

March 8 2016

A man who threatened to throw his partner out of a Dundee hotel window has been given the chance to find work abroad by a Dundee sheriff. William Carmichael, 51, admitted being involved in an altercation at the Holiday Inn Express on Dock Street on August 13. The court heard how he assaulted his partner by threatening to throw her out of a window and biting her on the lip to her injury. A member of staff at the hotel was also assaulted when Carmichael attempted to butt him during the incident. Carmichael admitted both charges, as well as behaving in a threatening and abusive manner by shouting, swearing and threatening to kill police officers during his arrest and transfer to police HQ. He was also appearing on a breach of bail for contacting his partner during the visit to Holiday Inn Express. Carmichael’s defence agent said: “She met him by arrangement but he was there in breach of his bail conditions. “There is some prospect of the relationship being continued. This was a complete one-off.” The court heard how Carmichael works as a plater and his defence agent said work in the UK has “dried up”. He told the court how Carmichael has been given the opportunity to carry out work in Holland but it was dependent on him being available for work to build up reliability. Sheriff Alastair Carmichael said he did not want to ruin Carmichael’s job opportunity as he had been out of work for some time. He said: “I will order a report to be completed eight weeks from now. “I will defer sentence for some time away from now for you and the social work department to get together so a report can be prepared.” Carmichael, 51, of Blackwood Avenue, Paisley, will return to court in May. The special condition preventing him from contacting his partner was also lifted by the court.

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

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