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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...

Perth & Kinross

Perth pupils told to raise almost £2,000 for school crest following legal dispute

May 17 2018

Pupils have been told to start raising nearly £2,000 after parents voted to keep the school badge at the centre of a heraldry dispute with the country’s Lord Lyon. Children at Craigie Primary School in Perth had discovered they were breaking an ancient law on heraldic design and faced an £1,800 bill as a result. Parents were surveyed and asked if they wanted to avoid the bill by changing the design of the school crest for future use on uniforms. They voted overwhelmingly in favour of keeping the current controversial design and now pupils have been told they have to raise the cash themselves. Head teacher Lesley Gibson told parents more than 70% had voted to keep the heraldic design and said: “Our legal team have been fully involved in supporting us through discussions with Lord Lyon’s office. "We are pleased to let you know that we can still use any item that already has the logo on it – e.g. sweatshirts, book bags, headed notepaper etc – we just cannot order new items displaying the logo, until the registration fee is paid. “In order to raise the money, we will plan fundraising events over the next few months.” The 200 pupils at the school are immediately being asked to donate two pounds to take part in a “dress down” or “dress royally” event tomorrow. It is understood that the disputed crest has been worn by pupils at the school since the 1950s. Craigie Primary has contravened the Lord Lyon King of Arms Act 1672, by failing to register its badge, which is classed as a coat of arms. Under the Act, any organisation with a badge classed as “a heraldic device with an outline” must register its shield of arms with the Public Register of Arms and Bearings in Scotland, for a fee. A shield with a school’s initials would not be considered heraldic, but if it contained, for example, a lion rampant it would require approval. A spokeswoman for the Court of the Lord Lyon said: “Every school badge has to be registered if it is heraldic. “If they are not registered the school or organisation must cease using them.”

Farming news

Bid to change sheep EID rules rejected

April 16 2014

Scottish Liberal Democrat MEP George Lyon has expressed disappointment with a vote in the European Parliament which rejected an attempt to change the electronic identification (EID) rules for sheep. Proposed changes to the rules included in a final compromise amendment drawn up by the Rapporteur Liberal MEP Marit Paulson would have seen sheep exempted from electronic tagging rules until they were leaving the holding. The amendment failed after the two biggest political groups in the European Parliament voted against it. Mr Lyon said Scottish sheep farmers will be deeply disappointed that the EID amendments to change the rules on electronic sheep tags were defeated in the vote. Mr Lyon said: “This amendment would have put tagging rules back to the top of the agenda and increased pressure on the Commission to accept changes. “It is a missed opportunity to help farmers, and we are now left once again having to go back to the drawing board. “This issue must be a priority for the new Parliament and, if re-elected, I will continue to pursue the changes we need for Scotland and the UK.”

Perth & Kinross

VAT plea for Tayside Mountain Rescue

April 18 2014

Tayside Mountain Rescue could save up to £10,000 a year if a bid to make such teams exempt from paying VAT is successful. Currently rescuers have to pay the 20% tax on the cost of everything from ropes to purpose-built vehicles, though they do receive a VAT exemption on medical supplies and life-saving drugs. Liberal Democrat MEP Gordon Lyon, however, wants them to be fully exempt, in line with other emergency services. He has already held talks with the EU tax commissioner, Algirdas emeta on the issue and is urging Scots to back the campaign as an EU consultation on public interest exemptions enters its final few days. Stuart Johnston, leader of the Tayside Mountain Rescue Team, applauded Mr Lyon’s campaign. He said: “The VAT exemption for mountain rescue has been an ongoing complication with the Government at Westminster for the past eight to 10 years. “Government agencies who provide emergency services are VAT-exempt in the main but mountain rescue appear to be one of the few who are not, particularly on their equipment, which is the biggest cost we have on a yearly basis. “We spend anywhere between £40,000 and £50,000 per annum to support the service in Tayside. “About 8% of our income comes from the Scottish Government and the rest is from charity donations from the public,” he went on. “We would save, on average, 20% of our overall yearly expenditure if we were VAT exempt. “To us that would mean being able to provide much more training, particularly medical training, and be able to comfortably afford equipment such as ropes and medical supplies. “I join other teams across Scotland in supporting George Lyon’s comment regarding VAT and it would be a marvellous boost to Scottish mountain rescue if exemption were to be applied.” Mr Lyon pointed out that mountain and lowland rescue teams across the country were a valuable resource. “In 2011 alone, a total of 573 incidentswere responded to by Scottish mountain rescue teams, and these numbers are increasing every year,” he said. “Mountain and lowland rescue teams are effectively frontline emergency services in many parts of Scotland. “These volunteers put their lives on the line and deserve our full support. “The consultation in Brussels is closing soon and this is our last chance to make the case for a change to the rules at the EU,” he continued. “It is important that we send a strong message that axing the VAT is the right thing to do.” Jonathan Hart, chairman of the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland, added: “Mountain rescue in Scotland is carried out by world-class volunteers delivering a service free of charge to people in need of aid in the mountains of Scotland. “We are not a political organisation and support any move toward reducing costs or increasing income for Scottish mountain rescue teams.”

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

Readers' letters

READERS’ LETTERS: Don’t rip the heart out of rural communities

May 8 2018

Sir, – Our Angus councillors are to be congratulated for rejecting the ill-founded and deeply unpopular decision by officials to close Stracathro School. The proposed closure was not based on financial concerns we were told, but on the disadvantages the pupils suffer by going to Stracathro. Judging by the 100% support for keeping the school open by present and past parents, and by the excellent record of former pupils, this reason seems flimsy. To have closed the school would have ripped out the heart of a strong rural community. This was never considered by the decision makers, and it reinforces the perception that there is a clear preference for centralisation among many employed by Angus Council. This can be shown by the irrational reorganisation of the recycling provisions in Angus and by the presumption against housing, even affordable, in rural areas. More than a quarter of the residents in Angus live in the countryside (40% if small rural towns are included), and it is time their interests are also recognised. Rural areas in Angus face unprecedented threats (and opportunities) through Brexit and we all need to work together to ensure that rural communities are not disadvantaged. We must encourage development, and ensure there is a sufficiency of affordable houses to achieve this. There has to be a change of attitude by officials, and the end to irrational decisions such as closing thriving country schools. Hughie Campbell Adamson. Millden of Stracathro, Brechin.   Hard facts of austerity Angus Sir, – I have observed with some despair the recent decisions of Angus Council to restrict the opening hours of the tips and to propose imposing parking charges. Both courses of action are counter productive. Making it less convenient for people to use recycling centres may result in more fly tipping in our countryside. The proposed parking charges may impact further on the viability of local shops that are already struggling. However, I do understand that local councillors face difficult decisions trying to balance what they cut with ways to increase income. These decisions are in the context of 10 years of cuts from Westminster. The austerity policies of the UK Government have also brought increased child poverty, stagnant wages, standstill productivity and increased government borrowing and the more Westminster sticks to these policies the more our standard of living is eroded. The overwhelming opinion of economists is that “austerity” as a policy does not work – it stifles growth, increases inequality and results in stagnation, at best, depression at worst. The more these policies continue, the more we will face cuts in local services. Austerity means the only arguments to be made locally among the political parties are over what bits to cut and what charges to increase – parking charges here and cut backs in recycling services there. It is of no credit to our MP, who criticises councillors about decisions on cuts to local services when she is part of the governing party that has imposed austerity on the many while giving tax cuts to the rich. “Austerity” as a policy is only supported by one political party in Britain. So the solution to this politics of despair is deceptively simple – don’t vote Tory. Brian Batson. Lour Road, Forfar.   Who needs the Lyon’s den? Sir, – I read the article on Craigie Primary School which will have to pay an outdated quango £1,800 to retain its school badge, which has been in place since 1952. What a nonsense to apply a 300-year-old act of a defunct Parliament. Do we really need such an office, whose only practical function is to look after the Queen’s official duties in Scotland, which I am sure could be handled by many others? What does it cost per annum to keep this outdated facility operational? What does Joseph Morrow (Lord Lyon) get paid for his office? The parent who suggested letting the children design their own badge makes a lot of sense – as does the idea of telling the Lord Lyon to look for income elsewhere. George Sangster. Logie, Montrose.   Dundee stars deserve acclaim Sir, – I read the recent article on the Discovery Walk of Fame, and would like to nominate two Dundonians worthy of plaques in the walk. The plaques have to be merited regardless of sex, and my two nominees are both gentlemen in every sense of the word. George Kidd was a gentleman of the wrestling world and winner of many international titles; and boxer Dick McTaggart was a very highly-regarded Olympian, having won gold in the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. It would be lovely to honour two locals in this wonderful walk, and I hope consideration will be given to their admission into the Walk of Fame, Dundee. Norma Duncan. Well Street, Monifieth.   Referendum remains a goal Sir, – My wife and I took part in the “All under one banner” march in Glasgow on Saturday. It was one of the biggest political demonstrations in Scotland’s history: 91,000 people (the initial police assessment of the numbers) of all parties and none, Scots of all nationalities, marching for the right to run our own country. And they say there is no demand for another referendum. Les Mackay. Carmichael Gardens, Dundee.   Independence numbers game Sir, – As thousands march in favour of separatism in Glasgow, Nicola Sturgeon will nonetheless be painfully aware opinion polls are consistently against her teenage independence dreams. However enthusiastic Ms Sturgeon’s devoted band of dyed-in-the-wool supporters may be, in the event of another independence referendum, let’s all remember it would be one person, one vote. Martin Redfern. Woodcroft Road, Edinburgh.   Waiting for an opening Sir, – Lesley Laird complains that I haven’t raised her attendance as a councillor “in an open forum”. The only “open” events where I come across Mrs Laird these days are council meetings with fixed agendas and rules. It would be inappropriate to raise the subject there. After the recent meeting in Inverkeithing there was a non-public workshop for councillors. I stayed and took part; Mrs Laird left. The only other times we see her are at the informal, non-public ward meetings that the councillors have every six weeks. In Ward 6, these are on Fridays to fit her parliamentary week. We had one on Friday and I was looking forward to asking Mrs Laird how she fits the duties of a councillor into an MP’s spare time. Unfortunately, she didn’t show up. Perhaps I’ll get a chance next month. Cllr Dave Dempsey. Carlingnose Park, North Queensferry.   Remembering not just the Few Sir, – Thomas Brown’s fine letter (May 5) about his encounter with a Lancaster bomber at Strathallan airfield would have struck a chord with many. Andrew Mitchell, my mother’s first husband, lost his life along with thousands of others in Bomber Command, while serving as a mid-upper gunner in a Lancaster. She’d watch his Lancaster take off on each raid and when elderly and in tears she would sometimes sing “When you come home once more...” We should always remember The Few, but we should also remember our Many. Strathallan, I am sure, served well in that regard. Leslie Isles Milligan. Myrtlehall Gardens, Dundee.   Entertainment wins the day Sir, – I was disappointed to read Steve Scott’s negative and parochial comments re the European Tour Golf Sixes on the basis that no home grown or women’s team reached the semi-finals. It was great entertainment irrespective of who was playing. All of the teams displayed fine sportsmanship aligned to a very high standard of play and Ireland ran out worthy winners. Ian Stewart. 12 Boyack Crescent, Monifieth.

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.

Scotland

Glasgow bin lorry crash inquiry hears driver’s GP ‘lacked due diligence’

August 11 2015

A GP who certified bin lorry crash driver Harry Clarke as fit to drive "lacked due diligence" in his diagnosis, an inquiry has heard. Dr Ronald Neville, a GP who produces expert reports on drivers' fitness to get behind the wheel, said doctors had missed an opportunity to review Mr Clarke's fitness before he apparently blacked out at the wheel of the bin lorry that killed six people in George Square, Glasgow, on December 22. The fatal accident inquiry at Glasgow Sheriff Court heard suggestions that Mr Clarke "hoodwinked" GPs over his fitness to drive, but that a closer examination of his story could have provided an opportunity for him to be "rumbled". The inquiry has already heard that Mr Clarke had a previous blackout while driving a bus in 2010, but he provided conflicting accounts over the location of the incident. Dr Kenneth Lyons, medical adviser to Mr Clarke's former employer First Bus, provided the driver's GP Dr John Langan with a letter stating the previous blackout happened at the wheel of a stationary bus. But Mr Clarke later told Dr Langan it happened in a canteen while he was waiting for lunch. Dr Neville said the distinction was important, as a blackout at the wheel of a bus should have been reported to the DVLA. He said: "My view of Dr Langan's report was that it lacked due diligence. "It failed to pick up on an important issue, which is the discrepancy between where the event occurred." He said Dr Langan should also have provided Dr Lyons with a more detailed note of Mr Clarke's medical history. "All in all, I felt the letter from Dr Langan lacked a lot and had a crucial omission," he said. "There wasn't the detail, there wasn't the thoroughness you would expect from a well trained professional. "The detail of whether he was sitting or standing should also have been included." Dr Neville said the discrepancy between the two accounts would have "jumped out" at him. However, he acknowledged there is no "rule book" outlining the exact form of words or details that a GP should provide to an employer in such cases, but said there is an "unofficial template" of the kind of information that should be required. Solicitor General Lesley Thomson QC said: "Can I suggest that a way forward would be an official template?" Dr Neville replied: "I think that would be an excellent idea." He said GPs already fill out a range of mandatory forms on a daily basis, in cases such as adoption, joining the military or applying for a firearm. Ms Thomson also asked Dr Neville if there was anything Dr Lyons should have done to verify Mr Clarke's fitness to drive. Dr Neville said: "Yes, he should have had the relevant notes in front of him and noticed the discrepancy. "He had a range of options. One simple one would have been to lift the telephone and ask Dr Langan: 'What's the story, we've got one version and we've got another version?' "Dr Lyons also had the option to independently verify where the event occurred, as he would have had access to occupational health information or he could have spoken to the inspector. "I don't know the details, but he would have been able to independently verify the information and challenge Dr Lyons." Ronald Conway, representing the family of crash victim Stephenie Tait, said: "One could take the view that Mr Clarke has successfully managed to hoodwink his GPs." Dr Neville replied: "I have been very careful with my words. I have not met Mr Clarke and I do not want to comment on his honesty or integrity." Mr Conway suggested it was fair to say Mr Clarke had "misled them". Dr Neville replied: "One could infer that." Mr Conway said: "And if an inquiry had taken place he would have been rumbled?" Dr Neville said "rumbled" is not a form of words he would use, but later conceded that the failure to spot the discrepancy was a "missed opportunity". He said: "The lack of due diligence could have led to an opportunity to pursue matters further." Jacqueline Morton, 51, and Ms Tait, 29, both from Glasgow, and Gillian Ewing, 52, from Edinburgh, were killed as the lorry travelled out of control along Queen Street and towards George Square before crashing in to the side of the Millennium Hotel. Erin McQuade, 18, and her grandparents Jack Sweeney, 68, and Lorraine Sweeney, 69, from Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, also died from multiple injuries after being hit by the truck.

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

Obituaries

Former Sunnyside Hospital physician Dr William Lyon

December 8 2015

A man who served as the physician superintendent of Sunnyside Royal Hospital in Montrose for 15 years has died, aged 94. Dr William Malcolm Murray Lyon was educated at George Watson’s College in Edinburgh and graduated from Edinburgh University. After service in the Royal Army Medical Corps in East Africa Command, Dr Lyon returned to the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh where he met his future wife Vera. He became a member of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in 1948. In 1953 he was appointed Deputy Physician Superintendent of the then Dundee Royal Mental Hospital and assistant physician at Maryfield Hospital. He gained a doctor of podiatric medicine in 1955. During this time, Dr Lyon was also a tutor in clinical psychiatry at St Andrews University. Five years in Dundee were followed by a move to Northumberland where he was consultant psychiatrist and deputy medical superintendent at St Mary’s Hospital in Stannington near Morpeth. Returning to Scotland in 1964, Dr Lyon’s final position was as physician superintendent at Sunnyside Royal Hospital, Montrose. He was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in 1968 and retired in 1979. Away from work he was a self taught sailor and was a member of the small Sailing Club on the Montrose Basin. Following retirement he returned to live in Edinburgh. He is survived by children David, Rowena and Patricia, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

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