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...
Wednesday's correspondents train their collective focus on salmon farming, the influence of the Old Firm on Scottish football, the reliability of nuclear power and Alex Salmond's place in Scottish history. China salmon deal threat to Scottish rivers Sir,-With reference to your article (January 13) about Scotland winning a farmed salmon deal with China, I feel that the downside to the subject should be brought into the equation. It has been thought for some time that farmed salmon are spreading various diseases to our natural, wild salmon. It is also well known that the money that the fishing for wild salmon generates is far greater than that generated by farmed salmon. When will the politicians waken up? Allan Murray.44 Napier Road,Glenrothes. Time for Old Firm to move Sir,-I did not know that Jim Crumley, Lord Reid and Neil Lennon were buddies. They must be, otherwise why would Messrs Reid and Lennon provide your columnist with so much ammunition to back his argument that Scottish football would be better off without the Old Firm? The Celtic pair are in critical mood about nearly everything in the game north of the Border mostly the referees. Says Lennon, 'This war won't stop until referees get it right'. War? It's football not military conflict where people shoot bullets at one another, lad. Get it right? Believe me it never has happened and never will happen because, like managers who put teams on the park that are not good enough to win every game, refs are human beings with all that means by way of occasional wrong choices. And what of Rangers? The rapidly diminishing number of people who follow football and pay for the privilege at the turnstiles are fed up hearing the hard-luck stories of the inability to sign new stars of the Laudrup, Butcher, Souness category. If they get real at Ibrox they will realise that this is all because over spending in the first place caused the problem. I admit to believing for many years that the Scottish game needed these Glasgow clubs. Now I am leaning heavily towards the Crumley view. The only problem is where our so-called big two would play. It would need a seismic shift in opinion for them to be accepted in England. Ian Wheeler.Springfield,Cupar. Heritage of indicator Sir,-I agree with your correspondent Ben Oliphant who stated that the Kinnoull Hill indicator is not 90 years old. The benefactor was Mr John Lennox Anderson of Langfauld, Glenfarg, a client of the law firm for which I worked. In 1946, he gifted the indicator and, at the same time, gifts of stained-glass windows were made to Kinnoull Parish Church and St John's Kirk. Beatrice A. Nairn.16 Muirton Bank,Perth. Clean and renewable Sir,-John Busby (January 17) notes that the French nuclear power industry is suffering a financial crisis. Thereafter, with his talk of subsidies and penalties, it is not at all clear on which side he is coming down nuclear or anti-nuclear. The point is that nuclear power may or may not be expensive but it is a reliable source of electricity whatever the season. It is also clean. I do not accept the anti-nuclear lobby's claims that nuclear waste cannot be disposed of safely. Scientists tell us that Aberdeen's granite buildings expose its citizens to more radiation than the latest nuclear power stations. On the other hand, renewable sources are prohibitively expensive and extremely unreliable. The object of all this frantic activity to produce electricity from wind, wave and other renewables is apparently to help the environment, reduce carbon emissions and save the world. By all means push ahead with all speed to produce all our power from renewables but why jeopardise tomorrow for some vague possibility in the future? We must first ensure that our industries keep functioning and that our homes, offices and streets are adequately supplied with electricity before committing too much of our resources to unproven sources of power. George K. McMillan.5 Mount Tabor Avenue,Perth. Salmond secures place in history Sir,-History with its flickering lamp, said Winston Churchill, ponders along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, revive its echoes and kindle with pale gleams the fortunes of time past. First Minister Alex Salmond was in a reflective rather than his normally strident mood on Desert Island Discs as you reported (January 17). He made some important points. For good, or ill, we have moved north of the border towards a Scottish Parliament, then a coalition of two main parties and then to a minority SNP administration. Whatever the outcome of the Holyrood election in May, the nationalists can take some comfort from a basic point 75 years ago, just after the party was established, they were considered as little more than an eccentric, motley group of individuals. Today, they are taken seriously at government level. That must be seen as a democratic advance. Some people argue that the SNP is too serious about devolution and that they should make clear that they stand for independence and go hell for leather to achieve it. That is wrong. People are entitled to know that it can run a government even with limited powers. On many occasions in the last four years it has overstretched itself and swayed between complacency and arrogance. For the most part, though, it has taken its responsibilities seriously. Voters now have more choice of government. In the spring, Mr Salmond may go on to another term as FM, or vanish to the backbenches but his place in Scottish history is assured. Bob Taylor.24 Shiel Court,Glenrothes.
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
Today our correspondents suggest a name for a new bridge and discuss tax breaks for the computer game industry, green energy, religion and schools. Name new Perth bridge after famous angler Sir, One of your readers suggested that a bridge over the River Tay at Perth, intended for pedestrians and cyclists, was a waste of money. How very Scottish. The cost of £1.38 million appears a good investment given that Scotland is often seen as the sick man of Europe with high death rates from heart disease and strokes. Anything that enables us to improve our lifestyle by reducing the burden on our health services must be money well spent and the council should be applauded. As concerns a name for this landmark, might I suggest Ballantyne's Bridge after Miss Georgina Ballantyne, who will forever be linked with the river having caught a Tay salmon in 1922 weighing 64lbs - a UK record for a salmon landed by rod and line. Kenneth G. N. Stewart.Landalla,Florence Place,Perth. Throwing good money after bad Sir, I am not sure if Steve Bargeton was being tongue-in-cheek in his recent diary column (September 18) but his opinion on the computer games industry was neatly juxtaposed with an article on the opposite page about the collapse of Dundee firm Realtime Worlds. Your political editor says that providing £40 million of tax breaks per year to the sector would provide the public purse with a net gain of £400 million in tax receipts and create 3500 graduate-level jobs and presumably solve world poverty and reverse global warming at the same time. If only life was that simple. The figures provided sound like typical industry/ political spiel. Meanwhile, back in the real(time) world, your other article quoted an industry expert as saying that the firm's pivotal APB game attracted sales of only one ninth of that necessary for its survival. It seems unlikely that tax breaks would have somehow enhanced the game sufficiently to increase its sales nine-fold. As history has shown time and time again, throwing public funds at fundamentally uncompetitive products and businesses is just taxpayers' money down the drain. Of course, taxpayer-funded assistance and a favourable regulatory environment can help industry in appropriate circumstances but the Scottish political mindset seems dominated by the need to find a deserving home for as much public money as possible - and there's always a queue of willing recipients, whether in the private or public sector. And while the bills for the profligacy have to be paid eventually, both Labour and the SNP seem preoccupied with trying to deny their part in the spending spree, while the Tories and Lib Dems are being accused of threatening the economic recovery by being over-zealous in trying to turn off the tap. Stuart Winton.Hilltown,Dundee. Fantasy of green future Sir, The articles covering the views of the MSPs Jim Mather and Murdo Fraser on wind farms (September 20) are yet another reminder of the dangers of expanding onshore wind production in Scotland. Murdo Fraser is correct in pointing out the adverse effects on our landscape and hence tourism but the concept of visual amenity is subjective and personal. What is more objective and less arguable is the cost of installing the infrastructure and the vast amount of subsidies and incentives given to landowners and developers, relative to the amount of dependable electricity actually produced by wind turbines. Jim Mather and the Scottish Government have long known that wind farms are very poor sources of dependable power, frequently producing less than one per cent of UK supply. He and they also know that Scotland only produces around one-fifth of one per cent of the world's carbon emission "problem." As Energy Minister, Jim Mather owes us all an explanation of why he and his colleagues expect consumers to pay high prices to solve a "problem" that scarcely exists, using a system that scarcely works and at prices more and more people will scarcely be able to afford. It is time the fairy tale of wind power was ended. Ron Greer.Armoury House,Blair Atholl. Two-fronted attack on church Sir, Ian Wheeler asks if the threat of Islam is uniting Catholics and Protestants in the fight for survival (September 21). Let us hope so. Islam has powerful non-Muslim players in the field if you count the secular, the atheist and the left-liberal neo-Marxists, all with their own particular reasons for supporting Islam. The average British secularist disputes any religion but more so Christianity. The average militant atheist attacks the Christian God but, when challenged similarly to treat the Islamic God, refrains, claiming all religions are the same. The neo-Marxists are the most dangerous. Their liberal organisations support Islam in its anti-Christian and anti-capitalist stance which makes them useful in the fight to establish a "progressive" society. Andrew Lawson.9 MacLaren Gardens,Dundee. Educational poverty trap Sir, David Robertson's suggestions that the way to improve school performance in Dundee is to have more religion in them is simplistic and laughable. He erroneously states that schools in Scotland which are not Catholic are Christian. Presumably he means Protestant. I have never come across a school in Scotland which describes itself as Protestant. They are non-denominational. The solution to the gap between the children living in poverty and those who are not is a redistribution of wealth. We do not need to scare children into obedience by telling them untruths about eternity in hell. Alan Hinnrichs.2 Gillespie Terrace,Dundee. Get involved: to have your say on these or any other topics, email your letter to firstname.lastname@example.org or send to Letters Editor, The Courier, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL.
A worried friend phoned on Sunday after seeing the YouGov survey that gave the Yes campaign its first ever lead in the opinion polls. Are we really doomed, she asked, before taking to the streets to canvass wavering voters. If only the bad news had marshalled all the people who went into meltdown that day, Better Together would be inundated with offers of help in the final stages of the referendum. But it wasn’t just unionists here who were upset by that one poll, which saw a narrow lead for Yes of 51% to No’s 49%. The stock market wobbled and the pound slumped. Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, said we were sleepwalking to tragedy, George Osborne, the Chancellor, promised the immediate delivery of devo max in the event of a No vote, and David Cameron was said to be discussing the situation with the Queen, who was said to be very concerned. Of course, events have already overtaken the YouGov bombshell, not least for Her Majesty, who must have known the Cambridges were expecting again even as she reflected on the problematic affairs of state with her Prime Minister. Never mind the political arguments, a Royal baby may provide just the bounce the No camp need. We only have to look back to 2012 and the surge of flag-waving patriotic fervour that greeted the diamond jubilee to see how the monarchy remains an emotive force, north and south of the border. But was Britain ever really on the brink? There have been new polls, and there will be more before next Thursday, and though the race is close, there is no need to panic, unless you are a separatist. This view is based on several, unscientific, criteria. The first is the bookies, who may not be as forensic as the pollsters but have more at stake. They have taken nearly £4 million in bets between them on the referendum and on Sunday they did shorten the odds on a nationalist win. However, they still have a No vote as the most likely result; Betfair’s IndyRef market had given the unionists a more than 70% chance of winning, even after the shock poll, and political betting expert Mike Smithson said the YouGov figures should be treated with caution until supported by other polls. Another reason for optimism is that a large number of votes are already in the bag. As much as a fifth of the electorate have cast their postal votes, and when these went out, No was ahead in the campaign by 22 points. Any momentum claimed by the nationalists now is too little and too late to have an impact. But my conviction that all will be alright is based largely on the presumption, severely tested in recent weeks, that a majority of Scots would not be daft enough to risk everything on a Yes vote. There may be a lot of gamblers in Scotland (see above), but how many people would bet their livelihoods on Alex Salmond’s flimsy promises? The uncertainty in the markets at the moment will be nothing compared to the consequences of secession. The SNP has conceded that taxes will rise, but with the prospect of a new Scottish currency floating freely, interest rates will increase, too, and homeowners will be faced with soaring mortgage repayments. There has already been a rush to remove money from pension funds based in Scotland and many banks have said they would re-evaluate their business here in the event of independence. Where this would leave first-time buyers is anyone’s guess. Alex Salmond’s answer to serious enquiries about the economy is to either brush them aside, or shout down the person who asked the question. Or he wheels out one of the few big businessmen who have come out in favour of independence, such as Jim McColl, of Clyde Blowers. Mr McColl agrees with Mr Salmond that things will be just the same as they are now following a Yes vote, and so they may be for him, in his tax haven in Monaco. But they won’t be for ordinary Scots and to pretend otherwise, as the nationalists are doing, is nothing short of cruel.
Sir, Your report in Monday’s Courier on the petition being presented to the Scottish Parliament making it illegal for any angler in Scotland to kill any salmon in the course of the angling season makes for a very one-sided argument on the conservation of the species. There are beats on salmon rivers in Scotland that cost four-figure prices to fish. Is this gathering of “experts” really so sure that “the vast majority”of salmon anglers support a ban on killing an odd salmon in any that they are lucky enough to land, especially as the netting interests on the rivers and coastline, who have the rights to net wild salmon, do so with gay abandon? There is also a lobby in “the expert world” against salmon hatcheries (a way of augmenting stock for many years on the River Tay and others) now being ridiculed by ghillies etc on the self-same rivers. Then, of course, there are the salmon farms, especially on the west coast, that have been blamed from the outset for high mortality in wild salmon numbers and which the Scottish Government seems to have absolutely no intention of bringing to heel and that has led to the Icelandic and Faroese netsmen planning to defy their own voluntary ban and start intensive netting again in their home waters. The “expert ghillies etc” should think again and start a serious fight with government circles on the real causes of declining runs and stop biting the hand that feeds them. Ian Allan. Marchside Court, Sauchie. Why was it not thought of . . . ? Sir, Sometimes it takes a non-expert to see something the experts may have overlooked. J R Smith’s idea of fitting radio flotation units to aircraft so that they can be located in the event of a ditching in the sea is one such instance. Why has nobody thought of this before? The technology already exists and has been standard fitting on submarines for many years. In the event of an underwater emergency a “subsunk” buoy can be released which is tethered by long line to the distressed submarine. On reaching the surface a radio antenna is deployed and an automatic distress signal is broadcast with instant reception by a marine rescue co-ordinating centre. Strobe lights and reflective surfaces also assist in location by search crews. These units can be quite bulky which is not a difficulty on a submarine, but in this age of microminiaturisation and satellite communications they have become much smaller and it is now mandatory for all ships to be fitted with float free locator beacons in case of sinking. These are not large units and could easily be accommodated on aircraft with a tether line similar to that on the subsunk buoy. Locator beacon technology is now so advanced that small personal locator beacons are routinely carried by ships’ crew and oil rig personnel working in hazardous locations. I have no doubt that a small, light unit could be manufactured for mandatory fitment on all aircraft. If MH370 had been fitted with one of these, the search would have been more than a month ago and there is a possibility that lives may have been saved. Captain Ian F McRae. 17 Broomwell Gardens, Monikie. They should be charged Sir, As my two grandsons have recently passed their driving tests and they told me about lots of rules of the road I had never heard of, I bought myself a copy of The Highway Code. I noticed that one rule remains unchanged, however, number 64 : “You must not cycle on a pavement. (Laws HA 1835 sect. 72 and RSA 1984, sect. 129)”. Why, then, am I constantly confronted with adult cyclists cycling on pavements in the centre of Perth? Why do the police not stop and charge them? Will they act only after some octogenarian such as myself is knocked down and injured, perhaps fatally, by these law-defying cyclists? George K McMillan. 5 Mount Tabor Avenue, Perth. Issue needs to be addressed Sir, When are the Scottish Government ever going to deal with the travelling people? They state that as long as travelling people exercise their traditions responsibly, they are to be allowed to continue their current way of life. The point is, they are not acting responsibly, but the Government is not prepared to take action against them. This failure is also allowing the travelling people to neglect to send their children to school, which in itself is an arrestable offence under the Education (Scotland) Act. This continuing failure to act will only exacerbate the situation. I note that the local MSP for Glenrothes area has not stuck her head above the parapet with regard to this matter. Allan Murray. 44 Napier Road, Glenrothes. The rail work is vital, but . . . Sir, I agree with Jane-Ann Liston’s letter in Friday’s Courier. Network Rail, in conjunction with the train operators, have to plan engineering, track maintenance and signalling work with the relevant contractors several months in advance so that everyone appears at the right time. Timing is absolutely crucial, to get the work carried out and restore the lines for the first train of the day. A mighty task if they are affected by adverse weather conditions. As she rightly says, though, why does that football match have to be played in Glasgow? John McDonald. 14 Rosebery Court, Kirkcaldy. Annoyed by “no” letters Sir, In Monday’s Courier you published four letters in support of the “No” side in the referendum (and none in support of independence). One, by David Illingworth, was good humoured, giving Yes supporters like me a welcome smile. The other three, however, were annoying. Mr Farmer is concerned that a “yes” vote will give an unfortunate bequest to our grandchildren. He emphasises defence without mentioning the most horrific bequest that a “no” vote will guarantee: the basing well into the future of weapons of mass destruction 27 miles from the centre of Glasgow. Mr Parkin merely repeats the mantra of the negative No Campaign, that an independent Scotland would be, alone of all the small successful north west European countries, “skint.” The letter from Mr Martin, accorded prime position in your Letters page, can only be described as laughable. He expresses justified annoyance at traffic delays but then places the blame on Alex Salmond and his colleagues, maintaining that “they are incapable of managing . . . the roads network”. Apparently in England there are never any traffic hold-ups thanks to the expert road management skills of David Cameron and his colleagues in Westminster. However, I seem to recall that the Somerset flood defences do not seem to be included in Mr Cameron’s civil engineering area of expertise. Iain Hall. 1 Georgina Place, Scone. Country is run for the benefit of the majority Sir, In 1953, before Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon were born and before oil and gas were found in our water, I became a home ruler, having studied the subject for the Clapham,(south London) branch of the Labour Party. Since then Enoch Powell told Scottish Tories that this country is run for the benefit of the majority the English and if this doesn’t suit the Scots then that is hard Cheddar. I appreciate that this humiliating position is quite acceptable to many Scots. Not me. I am voting “yes”. Gerry McGuigan. 24 Forebank Road, Dundee. It’s really quite easy to decide Sir, There seems to be a lot of people who can’t decide which way to vote come the referendum in September. Personally, the method I used was pretty simple. Get a photograph of David Cameron, look at it closely, then ask yourself this question: “Would you buy a second-hand car from this man?” It’s a no-brainer. T Tolland. East Park Cottage, Braidestone, Meigle. Who and where are they polling? Sir, One thing strikes me about the increasing regularity of polls on independence: who are they polling? Nobody has asked me, my family or anyone they know. None of my work colleagues in Aberdeen have been polled, nor their families, nor anyone they know. Where are they polling? The central belt and Edinburgh? Are the pollsters, in fact, polling the same people over and over again? Just a thought. Alan Shepherd. Manor Street, Forfar. The man who divided Scotland Sir, It is generally accepted that Scotland would be able to exist as an independent country, although it would appear that taxes would have to be increased to enable all of Alex Salmond’s promises to be fulfilled. But this is not the point. A “yes” vote would mean the dismantling of the UK. Whatever the decision of the people living in Scotland, Mr Salmond will go down in history as the man who divided Scotland. The SNP are selfish, smug, and arrogant in their condemnation of potential “no” voters as “fearties” and not true patriotic Scots. The “no”voters will be voting with their heads, with Scotland’s well-being in their hearts. If the people living in Scotland, many of them not Scottish-born, do not feel British, then they will no doubt vote “yes” and the rest will just have to make the best of it, though deprived of their original and proper UK citizenship. David Williams. 5 Walnut Grove, Perth.
Did anyone really think it would be collegial? Jackie Baillie, grinning like an assassin looking to spear her adversary, rose to begin the 215th official opportunity to politically batter Alex Salmond at Holyrood. She asked the First Minister to describe himself in one word. Simple reply: “No”. The now disturbingly smiley stand-in Labour questioner the 10th to fill the role during Salmond’s time in charge didn’t let that response put her off. She trotted out “bumble”: “sensitive”: “modest”: “meek” and “bashful”, sprinkling of irony included. Not “proud”, though. That would be bad. The attack was coming. NHS, justice, and education records were rolled out before it was decided the soon-to-be ex-First Minister was on the rack. “Given their record of failure, which members of the First Minister’s Cabinet would he recommend should keep their jobs when his deputy takes over?” Boom! Except it turns out Labour has called for each of the government’s top team to quit, apart from the one person who is about to step down. “Does that not represent the Labour Party’s unerring ability to miss the target on each and every occasion?” Salmond skewered one final time. Ruth Davidson was much more serious. She had been on the Scottish Government’s website and said its own indicators showed Salmond’s record “falls well short of his own claims”. “Oh no it doesn’t,” was the reply, leaving the Tories to point to a list of expenses. Poor Willie Rennie, just back from injury, tried to keep the peace, albeit with a cheeky “can I just check he is definitely going”? There was almost a love-in. Salmond joked Nicola Sturgeon wanted the answer and jocular heckles came from the SNP benches. Alas, quickly it melted into a dig at the Lib Dem leader and UK coalition government. Fittingly, the whole session ended with an attack on the Conservative Party and a cry of “if only we had more power”. Alex Salmond summed up in half an hour? This was the session to watch.
Sir, “Well there we have it” the opening falsehood by Jennifer Dempsie (August 28). Alex Salmond “demolished” the central plank of the No Campaign when Alistair Darling stated that a new Scotland could use the pound. It is vital that the voting public realise what that fully means before September 18. The SNP’s plan A was for monetary union with the UK using the pound under financial conditions set by the Bank of England. That was judged as dangerous for the rUK by the Governor of the Bank of England and ruled out by all three UK political parties. Mr Salmond’s preferred plan A would need a Westminster majority and is clearly a political non-starter for rUK and the Bank of England will not be a financial guarantor of future Scottish debts. This is not a new admission that Scotland could adopt the pound. That is also true of the Euro or any international currency as other nations have already done. That option has been open to the SNP for months but never confirmed as plan B by Mr Salmond. Now he extends his web of deception by claiming to have multiple plan Bs. His plan B main problem is that a new Scottish Bank must hold UK pound for pound against every new issue by Scotland. Scotland would not control UK interest rates or other EU or foreign lending rates which risk higher loan charges for a new and unproven Scottish Bank. The only new claim in debate two was that Mr Salmond now holds three plan Bs but he still won’t name his international alternative currency. We, the Scottish voters, so close to polling, know no more from our FM than before both debates took place. For the SNP or Jennifer Dempsie to claim otherwise is another piece of deception by the SNP. Angus Brown. The Orchard, Longforgan. Was Jennifer misled too? Sir, On the same day as Sandy Green’s letter in which he says that Mr Salmond was playing the Scottish people for fools in the TV debate, with regard to the pound, Jennifer Dempsie writes an article making the same misinterpretation of the facts as the First Minister. There is no dispute that the Scots can use the pound, as Alistair Darling agreed. What the Conservatives, Labour and the Lib Dems have said, however, is that the pound in a formal currency union, backed by the Bank of England is not negotiable. An obvious difference, but Mr Salmond chose to ignore Mr Darling’s explanation by shouting him down. Smart but deceitful! I’m sure that Jennifer is an honest columnist and does not intend to mislead her readers. Perhaps she also was misled by the First Minister, as was the vocal Yes section of the audience. Gerry Duffy. 11 Larch Avenue, Glenrothes. Brings things into focus... Sir, Who could be surprised at the disgraceful treatment shelled out to Jim Murphy this week by the separatist Yes supporters. This sort of organised, mob-handed, denial of free speech has now become par for the course. It brought shame on those who organised it and certainly on their cause. However, it does bring “the elephant in the room” into focus the hard won defence of our personal freedoms, much more important than finance or anything else. In the unlikely event of a separatist victory, of course we must accept the will of the majority, but in the light of those recent events what’s to become of those who wish to return to Britishness and work towards that end? Is there likely to be any legislation making this a treasonable or criminal offence? The past performances of our present Justice minister hardly inspires! We should be told. Jas Davie. 33 Aberdour Place, Barnhill. A pointer to our future? Sir, Does June Reid seriously believe that thousands of her fellow citizens who have considered the arguments for and against independence and decided to vote “no” are “spineless nellies”? What does that tell us about Scotland’s future in the event of a “Yes” majority? She might care to remember that in the last Scottish election the SNP got in with 31% of the vote. That means 69% of us got a government that we didn’t vote for. That’s democracy, I’m afraid. Mr Roche should be patiently reminded that “fabulous” means “flights of fancy” while Mr Hinnrichs, who rubbishes what he sees as Mr Darling’s inability to “guarantee” anything, doesn’t seem to treat Mr Salmond’s impossible “guarantees” with the same contempt. Should we really be being asked to buy a pig in a poke? Kenn McLeod. 70 Ralston Drive, Kirkcaldy. Pension from British Crown Sir, I was pleased to note in today’s report that the Scottish Government will continue to pay my service pension in the event of a “yes” vote. However, I earned my pension serving the British Crown, and I would expect the British Crown to continue to pay my pension, just as they do for any other foreign national who qualifies. Laurie Richards. 100 Crail Road, Cellardyke.
Dundee developers have come up with new virtual reality games in just 24 hours as part of a competition. A games jam took place from 4pm on Thursday until 4pm on Friday at Tag Games, resulting in games prototypes with names like Spider Spider, Mouse of Horrors and Terminal Station. The developers also created their own answer to the famous Boaty McBoatface, with a game titled Vanny McVanFace. Virtual reality, a form of technology that simulates a player's presence in a replica of a real environment, is said to be the future of games with some VR versions already present in many living rooms. Tag's marketing executive Gavin Moffat said: "At the games jam, staff split into four teams of four people - a designer, an artist and programmers. "They then had 24 hours to design a game prototype. "You would struggle to design a full game in that time, although it could be done if you're extremely good and the game is simple. "But with a prototype, you could then spend months perfecting and polishing it into a full game. "Some really great ideas can come out of these jam - you have to be creative and work fast. It was a great event. "This time the theme was virtual reality. Virtual reality headsets are already being used but it's difficult to say whether they'll become the default in gaming. "It could be the case that it's popular for a few years and then people get bored of it, or it could remain popular. "However, it certainly has great potential." Over the past 20 years Dundee has become an international hub for games developers with the world's biggest-selling video game - Grand Theft Auto - starting life in the city. Games jam are popular events where games developers get together to brainstorm ideas and create new prototypes within a short space of time.
A controversial Scottish Government decision to extend salmon netting in the South Esk area has been reversed. However Scotland’s largest salmon netting company, which has been at the centre of the issue, said it has “no issues” and “fully accepts” the U-turn. In August, ministers granted Usan Salmon Fisheries Ltd a three-year licence to net salmon at its coastal stations south of Montrose for two weeks in September. This has now been revoked. One of the firm’s directors, George Pullar, told The Courier: “We fully accept the decision of the Scottish Government to revoke the licence on the basis that the research was no longer required as part of the South Esk Project. “We understood that the nature of the licence was that it could be revoked at any time and, therefore, have no issues with the decision.” The extension was to compensate the fishery for disruption caused by Marine Scotland Science’s access “to fish and genetic samples during the commercial fishery season” for tagging research. As the netting season ends on August 31 the government’s decision came in for criticism from anglers and from some conservation bodies. The Esk District Salmon Fisheries Board sought a judicial review of the decision to grant the licence, due to be heard this month. Former board chairman Hughie Campbell Adamson was head of the body when the review was sought. He said: “The Scottish Government’s capitulation, together with its undertaking to pay the board’s costs, vindicates entirely the EDSFB’s decision to go for judicial review. “I hope that we can all now move on and never again allow politics and prejudice to jeopardise wild salmon conservation. “The latter must take priority whether it is in the context of salmon netting on the east coast or the unsustainable increase in salmon farming on the west coast. “I would especially like to thank the Salmon and Trout Association (Scotland) and the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board for their invaluable support.” The River South Esk is a Special Area of Conservation for Atlantic salmon. Conservationists argue the district’s netting operations are closely linked to salmon numbers, not only in the South and North Esks but also in the Tay. Esk Rivers and Fisheries Trust chairman Tom Sampson said: “The Government’s reversal of its decision is indeed welcome. “No increased exploitation of salmon, in the context of today’s limited marine survival levels, can be justified.”