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...
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.
Ticket sales for a Perthshire music festival that is the brainchild of Dougie MacLean have reached record levels. Perthshire Amber features Scottish artists Jimmie MacGregor, Phil Cunningham, Kris Drever and the Jenna Reid Trio, playing alongside local legend MacLean and international artists. Sales are already up 20% on last year, with interest from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Denmark and Switzerland as well as the USA and Australia. Director Jenny MacLean said, "We have been overwhelmed by the response to this year's festival this is definitely a record year so far. "From the feedback we have had, people have been really impressed with the line-up and the new festival website and there is a lot of enthusiasm for the big concerts at Perth Concert Hall." Perthshire Amber is now in its seventh year. Last year it contributed over £500,000 to the local economy and drew 7000 visitors from 20 countries. The 10-day festival starts on October 28.
Scottish Labour would make taxing the rich a key priority in the next parliament, leader Kezia Dugdale has said. Ms Dugdale will focus on her party's plan to use new powers over income tax coming to Holyrood to introduce a 50p rate for top earners during a campaign visit to Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire. She will highlight analysis by think tank IPPR Scotland showing that Labour's tax plans, which also include a 1p increase to the basic rate of income tax, would raise £900 million more than the SNP by 2020/21. The Labour leader said the extra funds would be channelled towards two other key priorities for her party - investing more in education and stopping cuts to public services. Ms Dugdale will campaign with Rutherglen candidate James Kelly and local activists as they launch a new leaflet in partnership with trade unions. Speaking before the visit, she said: "Today I am outlining the three priorities that must define the next Scottish Parliament, and will guide the next Labour Scottish Government. "Those priorities are simple: Tax the rich, invest in education to grow the economy and stop the cuts to public services. "Labour will use the powers to ask the top 1% to pay the most and stop the Scottish Parliament acting as a conveyor belt for Tory austerity. "That's the positive message activists and trade unionists will be making on high streets and doorsteps all across Scotland this weekend. "Labour will set a 50p top rate of tax for those earning over £150,000 a year so we can stop the cuts and invest in education." Meanwhile Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie will join volunteers campaigning in Bridge of Allan, Stirling, and meet voters following his party's manifesto launch on Friday. The Lib Dems' flagship policy, a "penny for education" involves adding 1p to income tax for those earning more than £21,500 to raise around £500 million each year for education. Mr Rennie said: "The Scottish Liberal Democrats' manifesto is a bold and positive programme for the next five years to make Scotland the best again. "Feedback from the doorsteps is that our uplifting message for a transformational investment in education, leading the charge on boosting mental health services, guaranteeing our civil liberties and protecting the environment is translating into votes. "More Liberal Democrats will deliver positive, liberal change. We're back to our best. Now it's Scotland's turn." Elsewhere on the election trail, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson will visit the south of Scotland to highlight her party's proposals to boost business in the area. She will focus on a manifesto pledge to set up a South of Scotland Enterprise, similar to Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), to grow the economy.
Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.
Nicola Sturgeon has been voted in as the First Minister of Scotland by MSPs at the Scottish Parliament. The SNP leader will lead a minority government after her party won 63 of 129 seats in the Holyrood election on May 5, two short of an overall majority. Ms Sturgeon will now be formally appointed by the Queen after her nomination by MSPs. She became Scotland's first female first minister in 2014, succeeding Alex Salmond, who stood down following the No vote in the Scottish independence referendum. Ms Sturgeon won the vote for nomination as First Minister with 63 votes from a total of 127. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvX74ET72r4 A further five votes were cast for Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, who also put himself forward for nomination, while there were 59 abstentions. Ms Sturgeon said: "Parliament first elected me to this position back in 2014and I have worked hard to repay that support. "Eighteen months on I am a little bit older and a lot wiser. "The experience of being First Minister has made me more acutely aware of the challenges that our nation faces, but also even more aware of our vast potential. "The challenge for me and for all of us is to harness that potential for the people of our country and those of us lucky enough to live here." Mr Rennie revealed that his 12-year-old son was "unimpressed" at his bid to stand against Ms Sturgeon for First Minister. He explained that he was "inspired by a woman nationalist leader who stood up against the odds", alluding to Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood's attempt to build an alliance with the Conservatives and Ukip to oust Labour from the Welsh Government - which was finally abandoned today after a week long deadlock. He said: "Unlike Leanne Wood, I will not be relying on Ukip votes today." Mr Rennie said he stood to make the point "that we are all minorities here" and remind Ms Sturgeon that she will have to build alliances to get her policies through. He called on the SNP to support the Lib Dem's plan to put a penny on income tax to fund £500 million investment in education. "The SNP may have to rely on the Conservatives for a majority from time-to-time," he said. "We should use the next five years to make Scottish education the best in the world again." He added: "We need to have a change of heart from the SNP on the use of tax powers so we can make that big investment, or will they look to the Conservatives to help block that investment."
Middle class Scots should carry the burden of “inevitable” tax rises, a former SNP minister has said. Kenny MacAskill, who served as justice secretary, said better-off sections of society do well out of free prescriptions and free university tuition in Scotland and should be prepared to pay more. Nicola Sturgeon has opened the door to higher household bills by calling for a debate on income tax amid a squeeze on public service spending. Mr MacAskill, who described rises as “inevitable”, said “punitive taxes on the rich” could lead to a loss in revenue. “It seems that she (Ms Sturgeon) is setting the scene for middle earners to pay more. That’s understandable and right,” he wrote in The Scotsman. “The Scottish middle class can’t expect the universal services they mainly benefit from without paying for them. In all likelihood it will be a rerun of Alex Salmond’s call in 1999 for a penny for Scotland.” The Scottish Parliament has been in charge of setting income tax rates and bands since April this year. The SNP chose to mirror the UK’s income tax policy in the budget, although they decided not to implement a tax cut to higher and top rate earners. Ms Sturgeon has signalled increases are on the way after she condemned the impact of Tory austerity on funding for Scotland’s public services. Scottish Conservative shadow economy secretary Dean Lockhart said: “Kenny MacAskill’s the latest high-profile SNP figure to hint at tax increases for Scots. “That would reinforce our position as the highest-taxed part of the UK. “That’s not what hardworking Scots deserve. “The SNP has this the wrong way round – it should be developing a strategy to grow the tax base and create jobs, not hitting people in the pocket.” This week the Scottish Greens, who helped the minority SNP administration pass last year’s budget, pushed the Nationalists by publishing their tax demands. They would cut bills for workers on less than £26,500, but increase them for those earning more, including a 60p top rate. Alex Cole-Hamilton, the Lib Dem MSP, said it is “time the SNP got off the fence” and delivered “modest increases to properly fund services”.
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.
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.
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.