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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...


‘Anti-Semitic’ Facebook post condemned by Scottish Council of Jewish Communities

May 2 2018

A leading Scottish Jewish group has condemned an anti-Semitic post shared by a Dundee councillor online. Coldside councillor George McIrvine is under investigation by the Labour party after he shared a post on Facebook that made reference to Rothschild's Bank in the wake of the UK's decision to take part in a bombing raid on Syria last month. Coldside Labour councillor George McIrvine was reported to party bosses for sharing a post on Facebook that made reference to Rothschild’s Bank following the decision to bomb Syria. Mr McIrvine removed the post and has vehemently denied any anti-Semitic intent. He claimed he intended the post to be viewed as a comment on banks in general rather than those owned by the Jewish Rothschild family. Mr McIrvine also said he was opposed to all forms of racism. The post he shared said: “There are only nine countries left in the world without a central Rothschild bank: Russia, China, Iceland, Cuba, Syria, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea and Hungary. “Isn’t it funny we are always at war with these countries.” The Rothschilds banking dynasty has been the subject of anti-Semitic conspiracy since Waterloo and has been accused of profiteering from war and even controlling global warming. Rothschild and Co is a multinational private investment and banking company. Central banks are run by national institutions that, while independent of government, are responsible for implementing government monetary policy. A spokesman for the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities said ignorance of the anti-Semitic nature of the post demonstrates how pervasive some anti-Semitic discourse has become. He said: "George McIrvine's comment about 'central Rothschild banks' is undoubtedly rooted in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and stereotypes but he may well be not be aware of that, in which case it just illustrates how widespread such offensive and ill-founded nonsense is, and how important it is to counter such ignorance with education." Howard Barclary, who reported Mr McIrvine to Labour party bosses, said: "The sharing of alleged anti-Semitic imagery implying a global Jewish conspiracy by an elected councillor has no place in Scottish political discourse. "I trust swift and decisive action will be undertaken." The Labour party has been accused for failing to tackle anti-Semitism among some of its members seriously. However, some party members  have been suspended for sharing anti-Semitic material.


Dundee City Council election results — Two each for SNP and Labour in Ward 4: Coldside

May 5 2017

New SNP councillor Anne Rendall said tackling inequality would be her priority after being elected in Coldside. She and Mark Flynn were both returned for the SNP alongside George McIrvine and Helen Wright for Labour. Ms Rendall said: "We have to make sure the waterfront delivers the jobs we said it would." Mr Flynn was elected at stage one after receiving 1,560 first preference votes. Baillie Helen Wright was elected after the 10th round of counting.   Result Asif Mohammed Independent 481 Flynn Mark Scottish National Party (SNP) 1560 Hall Kristopher James Scottish Liberal Democrats 101 Marshall Conor Andrew Scottish Green Party 232 McIntyre Christopher John Scottish Liberal Democrats 57 McIrvine George Scottish Labour Party 933 Rendall Anne Scottish National Party (SNP) 925 Scott Wayne Frank Dundee Against Cuts - TUSC 82 Shaw Duncan Scottish Conservative and Unionist 618 Wright Helen Scottish Labour Party 633

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.


Dundee Labour councillor investigated over ‘anti-Semitic’ Facebook posts

April 30 2018

Scottish Labour is investigating claims a Dundee councillor shared anti-Semitic material online. Coldside Labour councillor George McIrvine was reported to party bosses for sharing a post on Facebook that made reference to Rothschild's Bank following the decision to bomb Syria. Mr McIrvine removed the post and has vehemently denied any anti-Semitic intent. He said he had shared the post because it was a comment on banking in general, rather than banks owned by the Jewish Rothschild family. The post said: "There are only nine countries left in the world without a central Rothschild bank: Russia, China, Iceland, Cuba, Syria, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea and Hungary. "Isn't it funny we are always at war with these countries." One response to the April 15 post said: "The USA have never been at war with any of these countries either so I think your post is factually incorrect." Mr McIrvine replied: "Agree the bottom statement is pants, however the point being made is re the controls of banking." The post was seen by Howard Barclay, who said: "This is outrageous and action needs taken. "Dundee has a proud record of opposing anti-Semitism and racism of all sorts." Mr Barclay wrote to Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard about the post, urging him "to take immediate action to suspend and investigate Councillor George McIrvine from Dundee". Scottish Labour confirmed on Sunday an internal investigation is under way. A party spokesman said: "Labour has a zero-tolerance policy towards anti-Semitism, racism or discrimination of any kind. "This matter is being urgently investigated.” However, Mr McIrvine said he was opposed to all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism. He said: "The point I was making was about the banks' influence on the world. "There were no racist undertones to it. "To me, anti-Semitism is racism and my track record in the trade union movement fighting racism is second to none." Mr McIrvine said he had taken down his post following comments from other Facebook users and said he would be "more cautious" when sharing posts in future. The Labour party has been accused of not doing enough to tackle anti-Semitism among some of its members. A number of members have been suspended after allegations of anti-Semitism against them. Leader Jeremy Corbyn also became embroiled in the row after it emerged he had questioned why a mural critics claimed was anti-Semitic was removed from a wall in London. He was also a member of three Facebook groups where anti-Semitic material has been posted. On Sunday, shadow communities minister Andrew Gwynne said Labour had "not done nearly enough quickly enough" in tackling anti-Semitism. The Rothschilds banking dynasty has been the subject of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories for centuries. The family has been accused of everything from profiting from the bloodshed at Waterloo to masterminding wars and even global warming. Central banks, like the Bank of England in the  UK, are independent national institutions responsible for providing banking services and implementing government monetary policy rather than private banks.

UK & World

Call for investigation into how country’s extra police officers are being used

November 11 2011

The union leader for Tayside Police's civilian staff has branded the SNP's pledge of 1,000 extra officers a ''hollow promise''. Labour Party member George McIrvine was speaking after the party called on the SNP to investigate if the extra police are being taken off the beat to perform support duties. Deputy leader Johann Lamont warned that support staff numbers fell by 428, which she said undermines public safety. She called for a review of jobs to identify where officers are being deployed amid concerns they are being shifted to take on civilian roles. She asked Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill: ''There are 1,000 extra police officers are they all on the beat? ''Have you clarified that that's what they're doing? And are we making the most logical, rational decisions about our service?'' Mr MacAskill said he cannot interfere with operational matters, which are overseen by chief constables answerable to police boards. He added: ''There is no room for complacency about the need for more improvement, but we are working hard to keep communities safe and to build on the progress that we've made since 2007.'' Conservative MSP John Lamont highlighted his party's support for the Scottish Government policy of putting 1,000 extra police on the street, but he said there was now a ''serious risk of this becoming a PR exercise rather than a real visible change in police presence.'' He continued: ''The fall in support staff has led some people to believe the hole will now need to be plugged by frontline police officers.'' After the debate, Mr McIrvine welcomed the issue being discussed at Holyrood. But he added: ''It is disappointing that the justice secretary ignored the point completely, along with other SNP MSPs, who also missed the point entirely on the plight of police staff job security and attack on terms and conditions. ''We should not be taking police officers off frontline duties to fill redundant posts. The need to revisit the manifesto pledge is of paramount importance.'' Mr McIrvine added that 90 posts in Tayside have not been filled in the past year with further cuts expected.


Warning police staff may strike over cuts to allowances

August 17 2011

Hundreds of police staff in Tayside could strike over threats to cut their allowances. George McIrvine, who represents police support staff for trade union Unison, said there is an "appetite for industrial action" among shift workers set to lose up to £5000 a year under proposals from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla). A closed-doors meeting with the Tayside Police Joint Board will take place on Monday to decide whether the cuts are to be imposed, with Mr McIrvine saying members would "definitely" be balloted if that goes ahead. That could see 500 walk out as Mr McIrvine estimated up to 80% of the civilian staff, such as control room and custody court workers, are union members. He said: "Members are coming into us in droves and there is an appetite for industrial action with the way things are just now. "People are up for a fight as they are potentially losing thousands of pounds. Shift allowances would cost 15% on average of a worker's salary. "Cosla are just at the capers. I can't see them imposing it but if they do we will definitely go to members and ballot for industrial action." Cosla says the existing system is unsustainable across Scotland and, without the pay cuts, redundancies would be the only option. In a letter to Unison, Cosla's Tom Young said: "If we do not modernise and rationalise shift allowances it is likely future cost pressures will have a detrimental impact on the workforce, resulting in job losses." However, Mr McIrvine said that what is on offer needs to be looked at again with unions and that he is prepared to sit down with officials from the body of council representatives. "I can get our point across and say we have got to get back around the negotiating table with Cosla," he said. Vice-convener of the Tayside Police Joint Board, Councillor Archie MacLellan, said no decision had been taken locally on whether to impose the cuts and Monday's meeting was a chance for negotiation. "The cuts will be discussed on Monday but there is no certainty that will be the line taken." The difficulty we are facing is the possibility of redundancy if we go with other methods. We can't rule out other avenues we have to make cuts somewhere. "There will be a debate amongst the police board members but the position is by no means certain and it is not the only option being looked at." Fellow vice-convener George Regan said: "We are obviously concerned about all cuts in the police. I can understand the concerns but we are in the early stages regarding implementation."


Catch of the Tay novice angler lands 38lb salmon

April 29 2011

Blessed with beginner's luck, angler Andrew McAdam this week caught a massive 38lb salmon on the Tay on his first attempt at salmon fishing. "It was an incredible day for Andrew," said Rob Mitchell of the Tay Foundation. "Not only did he land the fish of a lifetime during a salmon fishing debut to remember but he also caught a 14-pounder. "In fact, these two fish were hooked in three casts." The fish was hooked on a floating red devon by Mr McAdam, from Boness, on Wednesday. He was fishing with ghillie Steven McIrvine on the Glendelvine water at Murthly the same area where Georgina Ballantine's famous UK record 64lb fish was landed in 1922. This week's mighty fish was measured prior to its release and came in at a length of 117cm with a girth of 62.5cm. Mr McIrvine had never seen anything like it in his decade as a ghillie on the beat. "It was certainly the biggest fish I have seen landed in the last 10 years," he said. "It must be the biggest spring fish on the Tay for a number of years." Mr McAdam's fish is the latest in a number of large fish-weighing from 25lb to 35lb which have been landed in the last few weeks, according to Mr Mitchell. "It's fantastic news for the river as a whole, as these multi-sea winter fish just keep on coming this season," he said.

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

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