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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

£300 million Frank’s Law costs “very significant”

November 21 2015

Fife Council’s Lib Dem group leader has said he can’t see how Frank’s Law can be fully delivered in the current financial climate. Tay Bridgehead councillor Tim Brett said the predicted £300 million a year price tag is “very significant” and additional funding would have to be provided. He said it was with a heavy heart he admits it will be extremely difficult to implement Frank’s Law in Scotland unless full additional funding is provided. Health Secretary Shona Robison cited the £300m figure from work carried out by her officials and Stirling University’s Professor David Bell. Mr Brett said: “It can be very difficult to know when a person may die and therefore the current arrangements to say that people can receive free home care in their last six months of life is difficult if not impossible to implement.” He continued: “The other bigger issue for all of us is that while we would like to see Frank’s Law introduced, the fact remains that nearly all local authorities across Scotland are struggling to meet the needs of their populations at the present time.” Amanda’s husband Frank, former Dundee United and Manchester United star, was diagnosed with dementia at 59 and died shortly after his 65th birthday. The Kopel family paid thousands of pounds in care costs until just weeks before his death. The Courier has backed Amanda’s campaign, as have a number of footballing stars. Health Secretary Shona Robison said a decision on Frank’s Law could be made by the time parliament breaks up in March. Frank’s Law candidate Pat Kelly previously said the estimated £300m price tag should not be the project’s death knell. He said one person’s dignity “has no price tag” and that 1p on income tax could raise £330m. In response to Mr Brett’s comments, Mr Kelly added: “The Barnett consequentials means that £800 million will come to Scotland by Westminster, so perhaps some of that money can be ring-fenced for Frank’s Law. “That with the 1p in income tax shows there’s money there.”

Dundee

Confusion reigns after Creative Scotland says artist’s Glasgow Effect funding plan goes against the rules

January 7 2016

The future of a Dundee University lecturer’s controversial taxpayer-funded art project is unclear following confusion over the cash hand-out. Ellie Harrison has been granted £15,000 by Creative Scotland to live and remain in Glasgow for a year, examining the effects this would have on her artistic career and well-being. The 36-year-old claimed she would donate her grant to Dundee University in exchange for a year’s paid leave to allow her to complete the project. Ms Harrison said the money would go toward hiring a lecturer to replace her, while she would continue to receive her salary of £25,484.01. Dundee University initially said they had accepted the proposal, but Creative Scotland has since confirmed such an outcome would go against the rules of the Open Project Funding. The university is in talks with Ms Harrison and it is unclear whether the lecturer will be given paid leave, or what the £15,000 will be spent on. A Creative Scotland spokeswoman told The Courier that, contrary to Ms Harrison’s claims, the grant was intended to be used by the artist and would not be paid to Duncan of Jordanstone. “Creative Scotland can confirm that the £15,000 funding that was awarded to Ellie Harrison for the project, originally titled Think Global, Act Local!, through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund was to support the artist in her work on this project and the development of her creative practice,” she said. “The funds will not be paid to Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design to cover the costs of her teaching post.” Ms Harrison has faced a furious backlash since details of the project the name of which she later changed to the Glasgow Effect became public. The artist has been accused of “exploiting poverty” and “mocking the city”, due to the title, which refers to the poor health and low life expectancy of residents of Glasgow. Critics have also claimed that Ms Harrison is using public funds to “have a sabbatical” and that “no actual artwork will be created” as part of the project. Ms Harrison has posted a copy of her application to Creative Scotland on the project’s blog in a bid to justify the £15,000 grant. A Dundee University spokesman said: “Our agreement with Ms Harrison to free her time for the project has been predicated on costs being provided to cover her teaching time at the university. “We are now in discussions with Ms Harrison in an effort to find a resolution.” Despite repeated attempts by The Courier to contact Ms Harrison by phone, email and in person, she could not be reached.Answers came there noneThe cacophonous fury surrounding Ellie Harrison’s ‘durational performance’ is in stark contrast to the leafy crescent in one of the plushest areas of Glasgow’s West End the ‘action research project’ will call home for the next year, writes Graeme Ogston. She may be keen to embrace the community but one local opportunity the artist wasn’t up for was speaking to The Courier. We hoped to quiz Ms Harrison about the reaction to staying put in the city you call home and getting paid for the pleasure. There was a promising start as a ring at the buzzer of the first-floor townhouse flat was met with a “hello”. However, after I introduced myself there was no further response. To be fair, accusations from local residents of a ‘poverty safari’ are probably wide of the mark. If Harrison’s Glasgow Effect was being conducted from Cranhill or Shettleston, where not being able to travel outside the city is just a fact of life for many, I might agree. Many Tayside and Fife artists also don’t have the luxury of the “demand-to-travel placed upon the ‘successful’ artist/academic” referred to in the project’s grand mission statement. But judging by the heated local reaction, not leaving Glasgow might actually be something of a challenge for Ms Harrison after all.

Angus & The Mearns

Nurse suspended for having relationship with ‘vulnerable’ patient

March 1 2016

An Angus nurse has been suspended by her professional body over improper relations with a “vulnerable” patient. Angela Harrison was a case worker at NHS Tayside’s Gowanlea community mental health team (CMHT) service on Seaton Road, Arbroath, when she began a relationship with the male in 2013. An internal investigation was carried out in October that year when a co-worker relayed evidence of Ms Harrison’s relationship with Patient A. This found the pair had met socially but did not find the relationship was sexual, although Ms Harrison conceded it was inappropriate. She was issued a first written warning. A complaint by the male’s mother was subsequently made to the team manager in February 2014, over misconduct in the period alleged. Ms Harrison faced three misconduct charges in front of a Nursing and Midwifery Council panel in Edinburgh, which has released its findings. She faced a charge of engaging in an inappropriate relationship with Patient A between June and December 2013, failing to disclose the extent of the relationship on October 30 2013, and lying about the relationship. Ms Harrison was present and unrepresented, and admitted all charges with the qualification that the sexual relationship had not started until Patient A was discharged from care in July 2013. But the panel agreed with NMC representative Samantha Forsyth’s submission that Ms Harrison’s “inappropriate relationship with Patient A had started prior to him being discharged from your care and there was a clear imbalance of power in the relationship.” It adds: “Ms Forsyth further submitted that as a result of your relationship with him he was no longer engaging with mental health services. “The panel accepted your evidence that you have, to a considerable extent, reflected on your misconduct and learned a valuable lesson. “In your evidence, you appeared to demonstrate genuine remorse for your acts and omissions, including your dishonest behaviour, and the panel understood that you had been able to put in practice what you have learned from your past mistakes by appropriately managing a situation when you became concerned that other members of staff may be crossing proper professional boundaries.” The panel heard Ms Harrison had been dismissed by the NHS and is working for Balhousie Care Group. She was given a suspension order for three months and an interim suspension order for 18 months.

Business news

Costa serves as economic barometer

September 11 2013

Maybe it is hardly surprising if consumers don’t want to spend sunny days holed up in dimly-lit coffee shops, supping extra-hot lattes. Opportunities for the kind of summer basking we were all able to enjoy this year come round all too infrequently, so who can blame Costa’s customers if they decided to head to the beach? But it is tempting to think firms can overstate the impact of the climate on their trading performance. Companies blame poor figures on bad weather one quarter and good weather the next, when the reality is that business continues whether your customers need an umbrella or not. The far more interesting factor revealed by hotel and restaurant group Whitbread’s summer results is the suggestion that the provincial chattering classes could be cutting back. CEO Andy Harrison said he thinks improvements in consumer sentiment and increases in spending are limited to London, with the picture outside the M25 much flatter. “Wages are rising slower than inflation, particularly energy bills,” he says. “Outside of London the consumer has less money to spend.” Costa has been a coffee and cake juggernaut for years, expanding voraciously and hoovering up sales increases like they’re going out of fashion. Hundreds more new outlets and sophisticated vending machines are planned, across the UK and internationally, during the current year. Mr Harrison might seek to halt doom-merchants in their tracks by emphasising that one quarter of reduced underlying sales growth does not a slowdown make, but he does have a point. The cost of living continues to rise, while wages remain depressed. It is easy to see how cutting back on the £2.50 coffees or accompanying pastries might help bring household budgets back into line. If the summer slowdown does prove to be more than sunshine-related, Costa and its ambitious growth targets will have to confront it. But, in thinking about all of this, what struck me most of all was Mr Harrison’s privileged position as something of an economic barometer. He has innumerable outlets across the UK and worldwide, and any movement in Costa’s like-for-like sales can only be directly related to its customers’ discretionary spend. It comes down to whether there’s enough left for a coffee after the weekly supermarket big shop. Last week in this space I bemoaned the slew of business surveys distinguishing the start of a new month. Though many are highly-regarded and provide a firm historical basis for their claims, they all have an element of finger-in-the-wind thanks in no small part to their small sample sizes and abstract measures of confidence or productivity. They have been almost exclusively positive of late, revealing increased orders, more jobs, more customers. Today, the Scottish Retail Consortium hails an “August sales boost” amid greater optimism for the economy. There’s no way of truly knowing if that pattern is because people genuinely feel better off, because they believe the line about the economy having “turned the corner”, or if they are sick of austerity and going back to their credit cards and overdrafts to fund stress-relieving treats. Some fairground sideshows would have you believe they can read the future in tea leaves. It strikes me that you may be able to read more about consumers’ present fortunes in the coffee beans. * The bank that likes to say Yes struggled with a big no-no as it made its reappearance after 17 years on Monday. Almost inevitable IT glitches plagued TSB’s return, with many locked out of their accounts. The split was always going to be tricky. Bank systems have moved on immeasurably since TSB was last a familiar brand on our high streets in the mid-1990s, and unpicking it from Lloyds was bound to lead to confusion and complications for those who have accounts with one or the other, or both. TSB’s bosses and media managers had been keen to promote the new kid on the block as “fundamentally different” from its competitors, without the worst excesses of so-called “casino banking”, and in the best traditions of the Trustee Savings Bank movement established by the Rev Henry Duncan in Ruthwell, Dumfriesshire, more than 200 years ago. That could yet prove to be the case, but putting up a few new signs and setting up a fresh website are only the very first steps. TSB will need to time to develop its own ways of working, its product offering and its identity. And, while still owned by Lloyds Banking Group for the moment, it looks set to be floated within a matter of months. It’s a shame the returning brand was afflicted with the technical gremlins of its forebears, but here’s hoping it can become a true player in the retail market once teething troubles are out of the way.

Scotland

Glasgow Effect project wants to ‘provoke a response’ and one artist’s response is it’s ‘a lot of waffle’

February 4 2016

Dundee University lecturer Ellie Harrison whose controversial art project has divided the nation has said the aim of her stay-at-home venture is to “provoke a response”. Ms Harrison’s ‘Glasgow Effect’ work will see her remain in Glasgow for a year in a move which she hopes will allow her to gauge the impact remaining in one place for 12 months can have on a person’s mental and physical wellbeing. The left-wing artist regularly presents herself as being anti-capitalist, but nowhere has opinion been split more than in the city where she already lives and where her project will take place. Often seen as a working class socialist city, ordinary Glaswegians have not always reacted favourably to aspects of the lecturer’s venture. Residents have taken to social media to condemn her for launching a “poverty safari” and for belittling the city with her chosen title, The Glasgow Effect a phrase often used to describe the negative impact living in Glasgow can have on a person’s health. The Courier attended a sold-out event hosted by Ms Harrison in Glasgow’s south side on Wednesday night to see what she and the people of Glasgow really thought of her £15,000 project. When approached by The Courier ahead of the discussion Ms Harrison reiterated the relevance of her work. She said: “People can get angry about it or they can support it, it’s up to them. I’m looking forward to tonight, but we’ll just need to see what happens. “I don’t think it’s as easy as being against the project or being for it, it’s open to interpretation. It’s about provoking a response.” Others, however, were not so quick to back The Glasgow Effect. An Edinburgh-based artist who attended the discussion at Glasgow’s Glad Cafe insisted she was none the wiser as to understanding the inspiration behind the project and claimed Ms Harrison had not said anything of genuine substance during the two-hour meeting. The artist, who asked not to be named, said: “I found it all very unsatisfactory. The room was fairly full and most were in favour of the project, but anyone who wasn’t was shot down. “I tried to find out about the situation surrounding the funding, but I wasn’t given an answer. There was a lot of waffle, but no real explanation as to what the project actually was. “I can understand the idea of wanting to create something like The Turriff Effect, where there may be a real social impact on the artist, but I’m still not convinced by the credentials of Ms Harrison’s work.” Others we spoke to in Glasgow were similarly sceptical. Brian Donachy, 42, said: “I think it’s an utter waste of resources. If someone wants to experience a year in Glasgow then they should get a job and pay for it themselves.” And 28-year-old Joe Logue told us: “If her goal is a rounded appreciation of the best and the worst it would be commendable, but as it stands she is on holiday in a city brimming with culture. “It’s just a one-year vacation.” Creative Scotland has publicly endorsed the artist, insisting it has made its funding criteria clear.

Angus & The Mearns

Man launched brutal attack after row over victim’s wife

March 19 2015

A Brechin man who battered a Pole in a local public park will be sentenced for the brutal attack next month. Trevor Harrison came across his victim drinking vodka in open ground near Nursery Lane last June but an argument over an accusation that the 31-year-old had slept with his victim’s wife escalated into violence. Appearing before Sheriff Pino Di Emidio at Forfar, Harrison, of Argyle Street in Brechin, admitted an indictment alleging the June 6 assault on Krzystof Cherubin, in which he repeatedly punched and kicked him on the face and body to his severe injury. Depute fiscal Joanne Smith told the court Harrison’s victim was a 32-year-old Pole who had been in Scotland for three years at the time of the incident but was not known to the accused. At about midday, the victim had left his home to go to Brechin town centre, where he bought two bottles of vodka and some lager. Mr Cherubin had stopped in the park area and drunk one bottle of vodka when Harrison passed by and he tried to engage the accused in conversation but he was unable to understand him. The fiscal said a heated discussion then erupted regarding the complainer’s wife and the belief that the accused may have slept with her, which Harrison denied. “Matters escalated, whereby the complainer and the accused struggled with each other and ended up on the ground,” said the fiscal. Harrison then repeatedly punched and kicked his victim on the head and body. Witnesses saw the incident and heard the complainer screaming. When one told Harrison to stop the assault, he replied using offensive language. The victim’s face was covered in blood and he was eventually helped home by a witness, the court heard. Mr Cherubin went to Brechin Infirmary, where it was discovered he had suffered bruising to his arms, shoulders and lower back, broken teeth and broken ribs. The court was told that Harrison has previous convictions for assault to injury, disorder and the misuse of drugs act. His record includes a High Court conviction for assault, for which he was ordered to carry out community service, and a sheriff court sentence of three months’ imprisonment, also for assault. At the time of this latest offence, he was subject to a community payback order, the fiscal added. Defence solicitor Brian Bell said that in light of the accused’s age and previous record, it was not a legal requirement for background reports to be prepared before sentencing but he invited Sheriff Pino Di Emidio to obtain a criminal justice social work assessment. The sheriff noted that Harrison had a “significant previous record” and deferred sentence until April 16 for reports. Harrison’s bail was continued.

Angus & The Mearns

Angus pensioner all smiles after grabbing Prince Harry pic at royal party

June 14 2016

An Angus pensioner had a weekend to remember after getting a selfie with Prince Harry. Self-proclaimed royalist Margaret Harrison, 84, from Arbroath, couldn’t believe her luck when she attended the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations. Joyce Riddell from Montrose, who is Mrs Harrison’s daughter and her granddaughter Stacey also joined them to make it a truly family affair.

Angus & The Mearns

Angus marine jailed for attacking wife to appeal sentence

April 18 2013

An Angus royal marine jailed on Tuesday for a vicious attack on his wife could be released as early as next week. Sergeant Wayne Harrison, of 45 Commando, is to appeal against a 15-month sentence handed down at Arbroath Sheriff Court. The move has angered women’s support groups in light of the ferocity of the assault which saw the 33-year-old bite, slap and choke unconscious his wife Lynne at RM Condor, Arbroath. Defence solicitor Ian Flynn confirmed papers would be lodged on the serviceman’s behalf at the High Court of Judiciary by Thursday afternoon. An application will be made for interim liberation, meaning Harrison could be released on bail pending any hearing. Chris Green, executive director of domestic abuse charity White Ribbon UK, said: “This sends the wrong message to men who may be likely to use violence. It doesn’t act as a deterrent. White Ribbon is about preventing violence from happening. “We look to engage with men and talk to them about their feelings of masculinity. There is plenty of evidence to say that people who have been trained to be violent are more likely to use their violence effectively.” Mrs Harrison and her parents travelled from their home in Chirton, North Shields, to be in court for the verdict. Mr Flynn said the family’s support for Harrison sets the case apart from other domestic incidents. “The appeal process is quite common,” he said. The appeal will go in either Thursday or Friday and there will be a hearing, probably next week. “Any appeal has to be made within 14 days of the sentence and will be held at the High Court of Judiciary in Edinburgh.” Mr Flynn said that Harrison was “doing fine” after Tuesday’s court appearance, which saw his wife hurl abuse at Sheriff Peter Paterson before fleeing the building in tears. Mrs Harrison’s parents were in the public gallery during sentencing. If his appeal fails, Harrison, who was hailed a hero on his return from Afghanistan in 2009, is likely to be discharged from the elite force. The High Court has the power to modify Harrison’s sentence or order a full appeal hearing. A sifting process is expected to begin next week starting with one judge who can either make an alternative verdict, stick with the original sentence or call for a further hearing with three judges. The Ministry of Defence failed to respond to a request for comment.

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

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