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Readers' letters

February 11: Is political obstinacy the barrier to taking a sensible line on power generation?

February 11 2012

Today's letters to The Courier. Sir, - I never thought I would find myself in the same camp as the awesome and awful Donald Trump, but he has got one thing right it is worrying that Scotland is depending more and more on tourism as the saviour of the economy. There is nothing wrong with tourism it has led to an enormous upsurge in the quality of restaurants, hotels, etc but it is manufacturing that is going to pay the bills, and that is going down rather than up. Westminster and Edinburgh plug green power for all it is worth, resulting in the ruination of many magnificent landscapes with pylons and windfarms in direct contrast to what is desired by the tourist industry. Many of your readers have put far better than I am able how inefficient wind power is. Much more worrying is how likely it is that we are going to run out of power altogether and become reliant on European neighbours, who have more sense than we do, for necessary imported power. Nobody in Britain is investing in new and proper power stations. We have under Scotland about a 500-year supply of coal. We also have the technology to extract cleanly electric power from this coal. Why are we not doing the sensible thing and creating thousands of jobs in extracting and using this coal and becoming a massive exporter of power? Political obstinacy? Flexible thinking, it seems, is highly regarded in every area, except where it involves a politician doing a u-turn. Robert Lightband.Clepington Court,Dundee. Rugby club finances are in robust health Sir, - I refer to the article published in The Courier on February 6, reporting Cupar Community Council's support of Howe of Fife RFC's efforts to explore the possibility of it creating clubhouse facilities at Duffus Park, Cupar. The club welcomes the community council's support of this venture. However, the comments in the article attributed to its chairman, Canon Pat McInally, as regards the club's financial integrity were wholly inaccurate. Howe of Fife RFC is not, and never has been "...just about bankrupt..." as Canon McInally was quoted as saying. To the contrary, the finances of the rugby club are in robust health with its clubhouse operation trading profitably. I am sure that neither Canon McInally, nor any of the members of the community council, would have intended to cast doubt on the club's financial well-being, but, that, unfortunately, is what the article has achieved. In these circumstances, it is important that the record be set straight in order to allay any unfounded concerns that may have been raised amongst both the club's membership and the general public. Over many years Howe of Fife RFC has built a deserved reputation as a force in developing youth rugby. The project currently under consideration is driven by the club's ambition to build on that reputation and, ultimately, if possible, to provide improved facilities for all its members, but, in particular, the youth of the club. David Harley.President,Howe of Fife RFC. Where is the evidence? Sir, - Isn't living in Scotland interesting? Despite 75% of the electorate declining to vote SNP last May and the referendum being at least two years away, Ian Angus claims in his letter (February 8) that Mr Salmond has a "mandate for independence"! As if that's not enough he has decided that those who choose not to vote in the referendum must be opposed to the union, so a vote of less than 50% for independence will give the "green light" to go ahead with negotiations. Where on earth does he get the evidence for these statements? Kenn McLeod.70 Ralston Drive,Kirkcaldy. Memories of Willie Logan Sir, - The article on the 50th anniversary of Loganair brought back memories of founder, Willie Logan. In the early 1960s my parents lived in Magdalen Yard Road, overlooking the Riverside Drive airstrip. Blazing oil drums lining the grass runway often announced the early morning arrival of Willie to inspect work on the Tay Road Bridge. I worked for a spell then at Caird's in Reform Street, and on occasions there would be a hammering on the door before opening time, as he came post-haste from Riverside looking for a quick haircut! John Crichton.6 Northampton Place,Forfar. The road is not to blame Sir, - I refer to an article you ran on the front page quite recently, Shock at speeders on the A9. As an ex-driving examiner and member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, I know the A9 having used it for years and have experienced some dreadful acts of overtaking at speeds over the limit. I certainly do not blame the road. All roads are safe without traffic. Neil G. Sinclair.St Martins, Balbeggie,Perthshire. Poor response Sir, - Further to your recent article, Windfarm response is positive, which referred to a proposal to erect a windfarm alongside the A822 tourist route between Crieff and Aberfeldy at a site above Connachan Farm, it may be illuminating to point out that the conclusions were based on only 50 responses a 1% return of the 5,000 survey questionnaires! A totally insignificant response. John Hughes.Crieff. 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. Letters should be accompanied by an address and a daytime telephone number.

UK & World

Plea postponed for man accused of PC Gordon Semple murder

June 29 2016

The plea has been postponed in the case of a man accused of strangling and dismembering a police officer he met on gay dating website Grindr. Italian Stefano Brizzi, 50, allegedly murdered 59-year-old PC Gordon Semple at his London flat some time between April 1 and April 7. Mr Semple was originally from Inverness in Scotland and had been with the Metropolitan Police for 30 years. He went missing on April 1 and his remains were discovered a week later after a neighbour alerted Scotland Yard to a "smell of death" coming from a property on the Peabody Estate in Southwark Street, south London. Recorder of London Nicholas Hilliard QC has already set a provisional date for Brizzi to face trial on October 18. The defendant appeared before the Old Bailey judge by video link from top-security Belmarsh prison. Wearing sunglasses and a white and beige tracksuit, he spoke only to confirm his name. Prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC asked for the plea hearing to be put back to September 9. Judge Hilliard agreed the new timetable and remanded Brizzi in custody until the next hearing.

Readers' letters

Complex problems of saving hen harriers

January 30 2016

Sir, - Nicolle Hamilton described Jim Crumley’s article (January 19) on grouse shooting as unbalanced and distorted. Strong words but are they justified? In his article, Jim made great play of the plight of hen harriers, implicating those who manage grouse moors. However, Jim knows it is not that simple. Hewill have read the recent article in Scottish Birds by Bob McMillan. Following a 12-year-long study on the Isle of Skye, Bob reported that of 88 nesting attempts by hen harriers, 47 failed, with predators the most likely cause. Monitoring nests with cameras revealed that red foxes were responsible for two thirds of the failures, killing chicks and fledged and adult birds. He will also have read the report in 2013 by David Baines and Michael Richardson on the first 10 years ofthe experiment onLangholm Moor. This showed that a grouse moor provides an excellent habitat for hen harriers as the game keepers controlledpredators such as red foxes and ensured there was abundant prey for the harriers. Following the protection of hen harriersin 1992, their numbers on Langholm Moor greatly increased. But by 2002 their numbers had againcollapsed following the removal of the keepers in 1999. This collapse was attributed to increased predation, particularly by red foxes and lack of prey resulting from the removal of the keepers. The keepers were removed because the increased numbers of harriers had limited the numbers of grouse for shooting. This is a complex, catch 22 situation. Jim knows all this but chooses to vilify many of those who live and work in the countryside. But dealing with the complex issues typical of the real world is not Jim’s remit. Keep it simple Jim; people are theproblem. David Trudgill. The Steading, Blairgowrie. Predationthreat to birds Sir, - I write in response to JimCrumlney’s column, Nature pays dearly for grouse shooters. Despite the trials of our lives including pressures on our sleeping patterns, few if any,people worry about being killed by another predatory species. However, for practically every other species, predation is a real and increasing threat. Growing evidence suggests that breeding populations of some ground-nesting birds, such as wading birds and gamebirds, are more likely to be limited by predation than other groups,perhaps because their nests or young are mostvulnerable to predation. This comes at a time when, with the exception of the kestrel, every other species of raptor populations has grown, in many cases exponentially, and that some form of control is required to limitfurther impact on rare and vulnerable species. The UK Government has recognised theproblem is not as one sided as bird charities would suggest and it has implemented a henharrier recovery plan in England. I could invite Mr Crumley to accompany me to visit a few of the areas he highlighted as being a problem to see the conservation effort and the tangible biodiversity from those he would castigate. But when did the truth ever get in the way of a good story? Jamie Stewart. Scottish Countryside Alliance, Director for Scotland. 16 Young Street, Edinburgh. Wildlife cleared from estates Sir, - George Murdoch (January 26) makes some interesting points about raptor crime, estates and conservation bodies. It would be a big step forward if all estates were transparent in a genuine way rather than the glossed-over attempt to portray themselves as the saviours of these Scottish moorlands. Some are keen topromote the view that all manner of wildlife is flourishing under their guardianship. Sadly, some estates have cleared their land of all Scottish red deer and Scottish mountain hares purely because they carry ticks, which if picked up by grouse can affect their well-being. This hardly helps the biodiversity of these places and is an affront to our natural heritage. Sadder still is the fact that hen harriers have not nested in Angus for 10 years. Robert Anderson. Kirkton, Arbroath. Ladies made homeless Sir, - Twenty years ago a group of ladies formed a craft group at the Damacre Centre in Brechin. Since then we have met every Fridaymorning to enjoy two hours of companionship and crafting. Now Angus Council has told us we can no longer use the centre but have to move to the new high school. However, until the old school is pulled down in 2017, there will be no parking or a bus service. Many of us are in our 80s so how are we expected to get there? The Damacre Centre is only two minutes’ walk from a good bus service. We have offered to pay more to stay at thecentre, at least until 2017, but have been turned down. So thanks to thecouncil and the SNP’s mania for centralisation, 24 elderly ladies are deprived of their Friday morning get-togethers and another building is added to the long list of buildings which blight Brechin. Mrs M. Armstrong. 83 High Street, Edzell. Litter blight in Kinross Sir, - As I was working in Kinross on January 21, I decided to visit the local Sainsbury’s supermaket for a bit of lunch. On travelling back from the store, I was shocked by the amount of litter on the pavement at Springfield Road. Further up Springfield Road I witnessed a group of school pupils who had been at the supermarket, leaving plastic foodcontainers, cans, leftover bread and so on, littering the pavement. It waslittle wonder the pupils were being followed by a flock of seagulls. This is the worst case of littering I have ever witnessed. Do these pupils not have anyconcern about the litter they leave behind and the cost to council forclearing up this mess? Ian Robertson. Hillview, Station Road, Crook of Devon. EU has Britain in tax trap Sir, - The disgraceful deal between Google and HM Revenue andCustoms is a simplecase of soft-targettaxation. Individuals and small businesses are pursued like war criminals, while for many multinationals, paying tax in Britain is an optional extra. It is not just in taxation that the authoritiesfollow this unfair approach of picking on the weak and ignoring the powerful. The police have long practised soft-target policing. It is easy to pursue motorists for speeding and fools on socialmedia; policing thehardened criminals in the country is quite another matter. For policing, what is chiefly needed is a change of heart, but for taxation that will not be enough. Multinationals know that there is nothing that we can do to make them pay in Britain on their British profits so long as we are in the European Union. To its credit, the coffee chain Starbucks haschosen in the last couple of years to start to pay its fair share. The other multinationals just laugh at us. Prime Minister David Cameron’s renegotiation should have included a change to EU rules on free movement of capital to ensure that profits are taxed where they are earned. Of course, he didnot because therenegotiation is simply cosmetic. A future in whichmultinationals pay their fair share of tax is yet another reason for usto vote to leave theEuropean Union. Otto Inglis. Ansonhill, Crossgates. SNP champions Tory austerity Sir, - I thank Councillor Kevin Cordell forhis generous comments (January 27) about my role as councillor for the West End on Dundee City Council. However, in relation to the impending huge budget cuts to Scottish local government,Councillor Cordellconfuses facts asopinion. I made no comment on whether or notthe block grant settlement from Westminster is generous or not this year but it is a fact that it has been increased by £0.5 billion a 1.7% increase. The SNP Scottish Government, despite this 1.7% increase from Westminster, has decided to slash local government budgets across Scotland by 3.5%, a massive cut in local services of £350m, across Scottish localgovernment. If anyone is the bag carrier for Tory austerity, Councillor Cordell has only to look to his own SNP Government. Cllr Fraser Macpherson. Councillor for the West End, Dundee City Council.

Readers' letters

So many near misses approaching bridge

April 15 2013

Sir, I sincerely hope that when the roadworks are complete at Dundee’s waterfront there is a totally separate lane leading on to the Tay Road Bridge. Last Monday I was heading home to Tayport along Riverside Drive only to be stopped at the Tesco entrance at exactly 5pm. I was in the correct lane unlike so many who chanced their luck in the left-hand lane, only to later indicate and push their car into the right-hand lane. So many near misses. Because of this it took me and everyone else in the correct lane 28 minutes to reach the Tay Road Bridge access. No mention was made of this on the Radio Tay jambuster line. When I eventually got home I searched my phone book and checked online for their number to alert them to the congestion. Couldn’t find it anywhere. Why not display it on the billboards? Goodness knows there are plenty of them en route! So, come on, traffic controllers and pushy drivers get your act together! Anne H F Lowe. 13 Nelson Street, Tayport. Biomass makes no sense Sir, Recent Courier reports relating to the proposed biomass plant in Dundee have focused on the health impact associated with emissions of nitrogen dioxide but what is never mentioned is the increase in local carbon dioxide emissions. No new coal-fired generation facility would be allowed in Scotland without carbon emission mitigation and yet people seem to be sleep walking into supporting a so-called biomass (wood burning) facility which also emits significant quantities of carbon dioxide. Both coal and wood-burning involve the oxidation of carbon to form carbon dioxide. In fact, a wood-burning generator emits almost 25% more carbon dioxide per kWh of electricity generated than a coal-fired generator would. In effect, Dundee would be importing carbon emissions from the countries from which the wood will be sourced. This makes no sense when we are ravaging our countryside with ever more wind turbines in an effort to reduce Scotland’s carbon emissions. Dr G M Lindsay. Whinfield Gardens, Kinross. Figures are dwarfed Sir, I wish to congratulate Steve Flynn on his excellent letter (Courier, April 11) on the inequalities of present government legislation. While most people do not wish to see illegal benefit claims made, these are dwarfed by tax dodging from the well-off and by reduced taxes, again, to people who are much more than comfortably off. Another group of people Mr Flynn does not mention are the directors of banks who, through inefficiency and cavalier decisions have cost the taxpayer billions of pounds yet, many are still being paid large bonuses and pensions. I am sure that the amounts of illegal benefit claims pale into insignificance when compared to these latter items. John Baston. 9a Seabourne Gardens, Broughty Ferry. It is a time to show respect Sir, Why should anyone want to organise a street party to celebrate the demise of a former prime minister? The only appropriate time to organise such a gathering was surely when that person left office(in the case of Mrs Thatcher, over 22 years ago). But dancing on the grave, so to speak, of the former leader is not just distasteful it is perverse. It doesn’t matter whether it is in the Durham coalfields, the republican streets of Belfast and Londonderry, or the centre of Glasgow or Brixton. Events like these don’t just diminish our reputation for tolerance, they undermine the whole texture of political debate and democracy. Respect for your opponents in time of personal difficulty and death is simple good manners and humanity. Nobody contests that Mrs Thatcher was a controversial figure. But the plain fact is that her attitudes and beliefs (honestly held and worthy of respect at a time of her passing), were subject to the test of the ballot box. For good or ill she was successful on three occasions. In the end it was her own MPs and Cabinet who prompted her resignation in November 1990. Bob Taylor.24 Shiel Court,Glenrothes.Remarks show a lack of classSir, I write with reference to your article featuring Labour councillor Tom Adams and entitled, A dram to toast the lady’s demise.I found the tone of the article to be in incredibly poor taste and I am very uncomfortable with the pleasure Mr Adams appears to derive from the death of an 87-year-old frail lady with Alzheimer’s. Mr Adams, of course, makes no mention of the fact that Harold Wilson closed three times as many coal mines as Margaret Thatcher ever did. Nor does he appear to apportion any responsibility for his plight as a young man to the militant NUM leader Arthur Scargill. Most of those in his party seem to accept that Mr Scargill and his fellow militants played a major role in the failure of the mining industry. That aside, his comments, coming from an elected member of Fife Council regarding Mrs Thatcher’s death are disgraceful and show a distinct lack of class. Allan D S Smith. 10 Balgonie Place, Markinch.

Motoring news

High-tech lightweight new Q5

October 5 2016

Since its launch back in 2009 the Q5 has become Audi’s most popular SUV, with more than a million sold. Now an all-new second generation model has been revealed at the Paris Motor Show and will go on sale in the UK early next year. The new car is approximately 90kg lighter than the model it replaces, but is also bigger inside and out. The new car also gets Audi’s fantastic Virtual Cockpit display in place of more conventional dials. Five engine options will be available at launch – a petrol and four diesels. The petrol has 248bhp and four-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre diesel can be had with 148, 161 or 187bhp and two or four-wheel drive. Higher up the range is a 3.0 litre V6 diesel with 282bhp. An SQ5 with 340bhp and an RS Q5 with more than 500bhp will join the range later on. The updated Q5 takes design inspiration from the Q3 and Q7, with a large, angular, chrome grille at the front flanked by LED headlights. It’s not a radical redesign. The car’s overall silhouette is the same, but has stronger shoulder lines, larger wheel arches and a lower roofline. As standard, the Q5 will ride on 17in alloy wheels, although wheels as big as 21in will be available as optional extras. On the gadgetry side of things, the Q5 has an in-car wifi hotspot system that gives you permanent web access on the go, supported by a sim card charged at a flat rate for data, and free for the first three years. An optional tablet can be fitted to act as a rear entertainment screen, and massage seats are offered for the first time. The sat-nav system now has a ‘Personal Route Assistance’ that learns your most regularly driven routes, tally that information with where you park it in the evening, and pre-programme the sat-nav to the destination it thinks you’re most likely to want next. The new Q5 will be built at an all-new factory in Mexico, with first deliveries in January 2017, and the base starting price in Germany for the 2.0-litre TDI is the equivalent of £38,000 – although final UK spec and prices will be announced closer to the launch.

Angus & The Mearns

Argentine family ‘deeply grateful’ after Arbroath marine sends Battle of Two Sisters relic back where it belongs

October 30 2015

The identity tag of a fallen Argentine soldier that lay in a former Angus Marine’s drawer for 33 years has been returned to his family. Graham Ellis, from Kirkton of Auchterhouse, removed the tag from the body of Assistant Sergeant Ramon Gumersindo Acosta on the battlefield in the Falkland Islands in 1982. Acosta was killed by a mortar blast following the Battle of Two Sisters, which took place over two days in June as British forces advanced toward Port Stanley. A 20-year-old member of Arbroath-based 45 Commando at the time, Mr Ellis and his unit were ordered to remove the tags from the dead bodies for identification by the Red Cross. Mr Ellis placed the tag in his pocket and only discovered it on his return to Britain. It remained in a drawer until a comrade of Mr Acosta’s saw an article on this website about Mr Ellis’s attempts to return it to the fallen soldier’s family. It was sent back to Argentina and is now with his daughter, with plans for a formal presentation by the Argentine government to take place in the near future. Mr Ellis said he was “very pleased”, while a former comrade of Mr Acosta said the family were “deeply grateful” to Mr Ellis and The Courier. Acosta was a national hero and a street bears his name in his native town of Jess Mara. He had written a letter to his five-year-old son, Diego, eight days before he died. It read: “I write from my position to tell you that two days ago we were in a helicopter which was bombed, the helicopter fell and caught fire, killing several colleagues of mine but I was saved and am now awaiting the final attack. “I saved three comrades from the flames. I tell you so you know you have a father you can be proud of and want you to keep this letter as a document if I do not return: and if I go back tomorrow, when we’re together I will read it at home.”

UK & World

Are Oasis reforming for Manchester tribute gig?

June 1 2017

Rumours are circulating that Britpop legends Oasis are re-forming for a benefit gig in their home city of Manchester this weekend. The speculation was kick-started by a member of The Black Eyed Peas, who tagged the group in a post about Ariana Grande's One Love Manchester show on Sunday. The concert was organised in the wake of the Manchester Arena terror attack last week, which left 22 dead and a further 64 injured. Free tickets have been offered for Grande fans who attended the concert which was targeted by an alleged suicide bomber. Katy Perry, Take That, Justin Bieber, Coldplay, Pharrell Williams, Miley Cyrus and Usher will all play alongside the US pop star at the concert. Taboo Nawasha, a member of the Black Eyed Peas, tweeted about the gig; tagging all the musicians and bands that will play at the Old Trafford Cricket Grounds. Oasis were included in the original tweet, which was quickly deleted. https://twitter.com/TabBep/status/869907050691608579 https://twitter.com/TabBep/status/869906670436007937?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fmetro.co.uk%2F2017%2F05%2F31%2Fwhen-and-how-to-watch-ariana-grandes-one-love-manchester-concert-6675547%2F https://twitter.com/TabBep/status/869907050691608579 Nawasha then posted that he had made a mistake and put the mention of the rock group down to "human error". Classic Oasis single Don't Look Back in Anger rose up the charts last week after the people of Manchester adopted it in the wake of the terror attack. Oasis are among Manchester’s most famous and cherished musical exports, though the band split up in 2009. They are one of the most symbolic groups of the 1990s and the Britpop era. The band was fronted by brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher, who have been at loggerheads since the split. https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/uk-world/434338/video-beautiful-moment-people-manchester-turn-silent-tribute-oasis-dont-look-back-anger-articleisfree/ However commenting on the rumours on Radio 1, Liam said though he is "up for it" - it wouldn't be possible due to his solo commitments in Germany this weekend.  

Design

Delving into Dundee’s archives

March 11 2017

Art and design lie at the heart of the creative industries in Dundee, industries which have often been inspired by the leisure pursuits and interests of Dundee’s population. These interconnections are clearly shown in the Archives of the University of Dundee; art and design is woven through many of the collections. This article features a few items which highlight the diversity of design related material held in the Archives. Dundee Art Society started out as the Graphic Arts Association in 1890, changing its name in 1904.  From the outset the group welcomed both professional and amateur artists as well as art patrons and lovers. As the Art College in Dundee grew, many of the staff joined the Society and used its platform to exhibit their art and network with other artists. The striking design for the cover of the centennial exhibition catalogue produced in 1990 echoes to the artistic trends of the early twentieth century. The longevity of the society reflects the continuing desire of artists within the community to join together, curate exhibitions and share their passion for art. Many of these artists had connections with the Dundee Institute of Art and Technology which was dissolved in 1975 to create Dundee College of Technology and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. The Art College remained independent until 1994 when it became a full part of the University of Dundee. All of these bodies are represented in the exhibition material, posters, photographs and student guides in the Archives.  Furthermore, alumnus of the College have contributed to our on-going Oral History Project. Former textile students, Pauline Hann and Sheila Mortlock, were interviewed to capture the personal stories of their time at the College, their career paths and interests. Hann and Mortlock were founding members of Embryo – Dundee Creative Embroiderers, formed in 1980, which developed from the frustration felt by numerous students at the lack of opportunities to exhibit contemporary embroidery within Scotland. The remit of the group was to promote the highest standards of workmanship, achieving this by restricting membership to graduates and undergraduates of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. Embryo actively promoted their work through various exhibitions not only in Scotland but across the UK, eventually joining forces with two other textile groups to form Edge – Textile Artists Scotland. Edge is still going strong and attracting new members from a broader background albeit with a recognised education in textiles. The Archive’s Embryo collection includes exhibition publicity material, photographs and correspondence. Textile samples can be found in other collections, such as The Wilson Bros Ltd collection who were taken over by Pringle of Inverness. The pattern books of the woollen and cloth products they manufactured from 1927 to 1967 are fascinating. They show the changing trends in pattern and colour combinations and how design comes in and out of fashion over the decades. Other samples in the Archives show how design blended with the mass production of durable textiles as seen in the printed designs on linen which form part of the D. J. MacDonald collection. Using only two colours, the rising sun motif for the MacDonald company is bold and graphic whereas the design for Louise, seller of lingerie and hosiery has a more delicate touch with the female form and the name of the brand printed in signature style picked out in red. Jute and linen bags adorned with colourful printed designs are still popular today. Textile design in the city is thriving. Local fashion designer, Hayley Scanlan, studied textile design at DJCAD. Her oral history recording in the Archives tells of her desire to remain rooted in the city despite her burgeoning international career. Proud of her Dundonian heritage, Hayley’s designs are influenced by the changing city and she will soon open her first shop a stones throw from DJCAD where her talents were honed. Records held in the Archive are accessible to everyone. For further information about the Archives and its collections see www.dundee.ac.uk/archives   Sharon Kelly is assistant archivist at Dundee University's Archives Services 

Angus & The Mearns

Tory MSP says Alex Salmond ‘commandeered’ Arbroath Abbey for ‘party political stunt’

September 1 2014

The First Minister’s visit to Arbroath Abbey during the last Cabinet meeting before the referendum has been described as a “party political stunt”. Alex Salmond held interviews and posed for photographs within the landmark’s walls during a crunch meeting on August 18. Scottish Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone has written to owner Historic Scotland, seeking clarity on its rules over allowing politics within the walls of its properties. The heritage body said Mr Salmond’s photo shoot was “in line with guidelines” and similar to previous visits by Scottish ministers on government business. But Mr Johnstone believes the visit was engineered to benefit from the stirring backdrop of Arbroath’s 12th Century abbey, ahead of the all-important day when Scotland goes to the polls on September 18. He said: “It seems to me this was very much a party political stunt by the First Minister, rather than a government announcement or event, and consequently, such a politically sensitive historic site should not have been commandeered for this purpose. “Sadly, this is not the first time he has sought to use Arbroath Abbey as a political crutch but it should be the last. “Historic Scotland have always been justifiably cautious about the use of Arbroath Abbey for any kind of event, and I have to wonder why they allowed this to proceed.” A Historic Scotland spokesman said: “The First Minister visited Arbroath Abbey last week on government business during the Cabinet’s visit to Arbroath. “As a property in the care of Scottish ministers, the abbey, along with other Historic Scotland properties, are on occasion used for government announcements or events.” Another of its properties, Edinburgh Castle, was used by Scottish ministers Keith Brown and Jim Mather to launch the Armed Forces Commitment paper and the Year of Food and Drink respectively. And Mr Salmond was at the castle to announce funding for the Ryder Cup in 2012. Historic Scotland bosses had previously insisted politicians could only hold events outside the abbey on public land. Mr Johnstone added: “That’s completely understandable, given the nature and sensitivity of the site in relation to Scottish politics.”

Perth & Kinross

Perthshire produce sure to gain chorus of approval at Rewind Festival

July 9 2011

Perthshire's chefs, farmers and food producers have joined forces to ensure visitors to this month's Rewind Festival at Scone Palace will get a real taste of quality local produce. Jim Fairlie at Logiealmond, Jamesfield Organic Centre and Thomas Thomson (Blairgowrie) Ltd will be among the producers joining Perthshire Farmers and Producers to serve an expected crowd of 15,000. The group was set up by Mr Fairlie and his wife Anne McGhee two years ago to tap into the market for quality Perthshire produce at events across the area. Mr Fairlie said, "Having attended a number of events in the area over recent years, Anne and I noticed that there was a real gap in the market for catering which offered fresh, local produce to visitor. "All too often, the food on offer was of poor quality and based on produce brought in from outside Perthshire. "We were frankly astonished that so many event organisers were not making the most of the rich larder available right here on our doorstep." He added, "It's a win-win situation, really. Visitors to events go away more satisfied and at the same time we're able to provide a platform for local farmers and producers to showcase their products to a much wider audience." They have already achieved significant success, attending T in the Park for the first time last year, followed by the Etape Caledonia in Highland Perthshire. This year, in addition to Rewind, they are returning to T in the Park and attending the Rally of Scotland at Scone Palace in October. In preparation for Rewind, the couple are hard at work with chef Graeme Pallister, of 63 Tay Street in Perth, to develop an innovative menu for visitors to the three-day festival. Scone Palace administrator Elspeth Bruce said, "Research has shown that for many visitors culinary tourism is an integral part of their travel experience and that there is increasing demand from visitors to sample distinctive local food and to taste traditional cooking. "We are therefore really delighted that Perthshire produce will be showcased in such a great way at Rewind and that produce grown and reared on our own estate will feature so prominently on the menu."

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