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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...

Readers' letters

September 10: Government should be servant not master

September 10 2010

Today's correspondents focus their attention on the balance of power, praise for Dundee Flower and Food Festival, the tax system, Scotland's relationship with alcohol, graffiti in Crieff, and the state of football. Government should be servant not master Sir,-Having gone to our local council office to pay our council tax, I found a notice on the door announcing that payments can now be made only on Monday and Friday. I would have thought that in these difficult times Perth and Kinross Council would be pleased to receive money at any time, rather than making it less convenient. Inquiries about who or when this decision was made invoked a stream of "it wisnae me." Someone had to instigate the change -- but why? I know there are now alternative methods of paying the council tax but for my own reasons I have always elected to go to the office personally. Yet again, government has become our master rather than our servant. Alasdair Charleson.7 Fonab Crescent,Pitlochry. Festival a credit to city Sir,-Dundee Fund-raising branch of Guide Dogs for the Blind Association congratulate Dundee City Council for once again organising Dundee Flower and Food Festival in such a professional manner and for the courtesy and helpfulness of their many staff on duty over the three days. We at the guide dog stance met many people from all over the country, some even from abroad, and all were enjoying themselves enormously. I hope this very popular event can continue for the foreseeable future. Ally Taylor.Tigh an Tober,Templehall,Longforgan. Workers saddled with tax blame Sir,-My wealthy friends live in dread of falling foul of the Inland Revenue but, as the former recipient of a lowly clergyman's salary, I had a benign relationship with my tax man. I, therefore, have sympathy with HMRC staff attempting to cope with the chaos caused by Gordon Brown's Byzantine tax changes especially now their own numbers are being cut. Serious problems involving the entire coding system were discovered when incoming Treasury ministers asked the revenue to check its PAYE numbers. The coalition would prefer to write off the debts but this may not happen in view of the dire state of public finances resulting from the last government's insane profligacy. So ordinary officials will take the blame while the real culprits, who created this disaster and the world's most complex tax system, are off writing their self-serving memoirs. (Dr) John Cameron.10 Howard Place,St Andrews. Poisonous relationship Sir,-I was struck by two contrasting reports in your edition of September 3. The front page was dominated by the government proposal to fix a minimum price for alcohol in an attempt to reduce the problem of alcohol abuse and, on page 16, there was an attractive picture of combine harvester cutting barley destined for the brewing industry. This juxtaposition highlights the inherent problem facing the Scottish Parliament. On the one hand, we have an escalating problem of alcohol abuse and, on the other, a huge alcohol-related industry which employs many thousands of Scots. Any serious reduction in alcohol consumption as is hoped must invariably lead to heavy job losses in the alcohol industry. The problems of alcohol abuse, however, cannot be addressed by legislation on price and legality. In some ways, these are cop-outs for our political leaders. Increasing the minimum price appears sensible but it may have unforeseen effects. It could reduce competition and increase profits particularly at the lower end of the market and lead to a further proliferation of licensed outlets. Therein lies one of the problems. There are few places in our towns today where anyone can go for refreshment or to meet friends, that are not licensed, and those that do exist mostly close in the early evening. This leaves our youngsters with nowhere to go but the parks or bus shelters where the temptations of alcohol, drugs and sex are hard to resist. I would suggest that instead of concentrating on trying to stop people from doing things, we should be addressing the reasons why they do them. These, of course, are varied and complicated but one simple approach would be to encourage the establishment of non-licensed clubs and coffee bars, by offering such establishments reduced rents and rates and encouraging them to stay open later. We might also set precedents by banning alcohol from all local authority premises such as halls and theatres and, of course, the council chambers and the Scottish Parliament building. Bob Drysdale.Millfield,Star,Glenrothes. Community action needed Sir,-I was in Crieff this week and was horrified to see the bright pink graffiti and obscene drawings on the pavement in the main street. But it begs the question why did not one or more of the traders erase it immediately? Come on Crieff, clean up your act. David McMillan.17 Skelton Road,Methven. Has football bubble burst? Sir,-Just where is football headed? We have off-field indiscretions by players. Wages for men who entertain for a few hours a week have reached obscene proportions and the four home countries are minnows internationally. How long will those who follow the game by stumping up money at the turnstiles put up with all this? Though television tries hard not to show shots of unoccupied seats in stadium after stadium, it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to avoid doing so. Ian Wheeler.Springfield,Cupar. Get involved: to have your say on these or any other topics, email your letter to letters@thecourier.co.uk or send to Letters Editor, The Courier, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL.

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

UK & World

Social workers involved in St Helena child abuse inquiry take legal action

March 23 2018

Two social workers who say an inquiry report into allegations of child abuse on the British overseas territory of St Helena destroyed their professional reputations have taken legal action.Claire Gannon and Martin Warsama, who worked on St Helena and made cover-up allegations, have sued the Foreign Office and the senior barrister who led the inquiry.They say they “stand by the accuracy and honesty of their disclosures” and say conclusions were reached on the basis of an inquiry which was procedurally unfair.Lawyers representing ministers and inquiry chairman Sasha Wass QC dispute their claim and say the litigation should not proceed.A judge was on Friday considering issues in the case at a High Court hearing in London.Barrister Neil Sheldon, who is leading a legal team representing Foreign Office ministers, asked the judge, Master Victoria McCloud, to halt the litigation and dismiss the claim launched by Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama.The inquiry had been set up by ministers following corruption and cover-up allegations which had been raised in newspaper articles and leaked documents and made by Ms Gannon and Martin Warsama.An inquiry report published in December 2015 concluded that: St Helena did not “attract sex tourism”; said allegations that the island in the South Atlantic was a “paedophiles’ paradise” were not true; reported “no corruption at all”; and found no evidence of any attempt by the Foreign Office, the Department for International Development, the St Helena government or police to cover up child abuse.The report said: “We stress that there was no ‘cover-up’ as alleged by Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama, rather an ignorance of proper safeguarding procedure.”Nicholas Bowen QC, who represents Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama, told the judge the conclusions of the Wass Inquiry “destroyed” the professional reputations of his clients.He said the inquiry process was “procedurally” unfair and said Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama were entitled to “just satisfaction” for their loss.Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama say their claim should not be dismissed but say evidence should be analysed at a trial.

UK & World

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.

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

Angus & The Mearns

Angus councillor inspired by great-granny’s essay on the suffragists

February 9 2018

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.


St Andrews Old Course Hotel staff assaulted

January 4 2018

A man punched the manager of a world-renowned golf hotel after drinking too much on a New Year's excursion with his wife. Niven Semple was arrested in the early hours of Wednesday morning after a fracas at the Old Course Hotel in St Andrews. Semple appeared from custody at Dundee Sheriff Court to plead guilty to two charges, despite telling Sheriff Alastair Carmichael he had “no recollection” of the events which had unfolded. Semple and his wife had checked into the hotel on Tuesday, the court heard, and had been drinking in the Old Course bar when the incident began. Depute fiscal Trina Sinclair said: “The accused and his wife checked in at the Old Course hotel on January 2. “During Tuesday evening, the witnesses were working in the bar. The accused was causing issues and was told he would not be served any more alcohol. “He agreed to settle the bill but continued to cause issues. After that the bar staff asked to leave and he was told he could return to his hotel room or leave the building. “Mr Milne, the night manager, then asked for the police to be contacted. The accused started to prod Mr Milne on the chest then punched him in the face. “The accused put his fist against the table. Police arrived at about 12.55am. “He was verbally abusive to the officers, shouting ‘f**k you’. He was arrested and continued to shout and swear and banged on the door of his cell. “The accused was cautioned and charged and replied saying ‘I can’t remember that, you were being physically abusive to me.” Mr Milne, the night manager at the Old Course Hotel, sustained a cut to his lip as a result of the assault. Defence solicitor Kevin Hampton said of Semple: “He has no recollection of events at all. “He has no previous convictions but does have a problem with alcohol. “He is a working man and a married man with no dependents and has not come before the attention of the court before. “He is concerned for his wife and is ashamed of his behaviour.” Semple, of Brucefield Avenue, Dunfermline, pled guilty to repeatedly striking William Milne on the body and repeatedly punching him on the face to his injury at the Old Course Hotel on January 3. The 42-year-old further admitted behaving in a threatening and abusive manner on the same date at both the hotel and police headquarters in Dundee by shouting, swearing, banging a glass table, using offensive language and acting aggressively. Sheriff Carmichael fined him £1,300, £500 of which will be paid as compensation to Mr Milne.

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.


Man jailed for ‘vile’ abuse of bus passengers

November 27 2015

A 23-year-old man who caused a disturbance on a bus in Dunfermline and threatened other passengers has been jailed. Andrew Cunningham was travelling from Glenrothes to Glasgow but was told to leave the bus in Dunfermline after causing trouble throughout the journey. Cunningham, of Toryglen Road, Rutherglen, was jailed for eight months at Dunfermline Sheriff Court. He admitted that on October 29 at Halbeath Road, Dunfermline, on a bus travelling between Glenrothes and Dunfermline, he behaved in a threatening or abusive manner by shouting, swearing, causing alarm and annoyance to passengers, threatening them with violence and shouted and swore at the bus driver. Depute fiscal Louise Ward said that at 6.40pm Cunningham boarded a bus at Glenrothes and was under the influence of alcohol. Defence solicitor Roshni Johshi admitted her client had “an unenviable record” and was currently on a community payback order. She said: “He acknowledges this was no way to behave, particularly on a bus.” Sheriff Craig McSherry said the abuse had been vile.