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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…


Dundonians offer hundreds of ideas for a city of culture

August 12 2013

A website asking people what they would like to see in Dundee in 2017 is quickly gathering pace. We Dundee was set up to support the city’s bid to be shortlisted for the City of Culture award by collecting people’s thoughts on what surprises them about Dundee. At the start of last week the site relaunched, asking backers to complete the phrase “In 2017 (the year of City of Culture) I would love to see…..” And, with more than 400 entries so far organisers have not been disappointed. Lyall Bruce, one of the team behind the site, said: “It’s been really good, really heartening. “Again we’re really super-excited about how well the public have taken to it, contributing their thoughts about the City of Culture.” This time round the team provided loose categories for the people to base their wishlist around and Lyall said there have been many wishing to do more with the Tay. The suggestions vary from the simple to the more obscure. Lyall said: “Some people have very easy to implement ideas whereas others would require new structures to be built.” Lyall said the very title of City of Culture brings a sort of kudos to attract money into the city. “There’s also some humorous contributions, like a 25-hour bakery. That’s the Dundee humour coming through.” Entries have been flooding into We Dundee. One participant wrote: “In 2017 I would love to see the remaining pontoons of the old Tay Bridge reconnected with light and laser, as an art installation central to a water-based pageant reflecting why Dundee is where it is, what it has achieved and what it will achieve, combining interactive theatre, music, community involvement, industry, technology, education and good will. “A range of events city-wide and further, into North Fife, Angus and Perthshire that promotes this region with Dundee UK City of Culture as its hub looking outward to the wider world with open arms.” Another backer wrote: “I would like to see the creation of a world-class therapeutic garden for people of all abilities, similar to that at Chicago. “This would create a new business and meaningful jobs, and permit individuals to gain tangible skills and qualifications. “It would offer on- and off-site educational and skill sessions, and have the ability to provide a large number of organised volunteering opportunities for individuals with differing levels. “It would also provide a world-class garden and tourism magnet, which would be a unique attraction.” The wishes can be viewed at www.wedundee.com.

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


Balmossie fire station SNP row led to ‘bank rolled’ claim

October 12 2010

The extent of bad feeling within the SNP over the future of a Dundee fire station was such that the convener of Tayside Fire and Rescue Board implied that a senior party colleague had been “bank rolled” into his stance on the matter by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU). The allegations made by Ken Lyall against Dundee East MP Stewart Hosie have come to light as fears have surfaced that Balmossie fire station on the outskirts of the city could be facing closure within the next two years. Email correspondence from January 7 between Mr Lyall and Ken Guild, leader of Dundee City Council, details Mr Lyall’s belief that Mr Hosie campaigned on Balmossie because he was “afraid” of losing his seat in this year’s general election. Mr Lyall wrote, “I know he (Mr Hosie) has been bank rolled in the past by the FBU and wonder if this is the case now?” As previously reported in The Courier, Mr Guild had contacted Mr Lyall earlier that day to state he was “very disappointed at the timing of this controversial proposal in a key sector of a marginal seat in the run up to an election.” In turn, Mr Lyall said he would not be “bullied” on the matter and that he felt he had given his “all for this party and in return only been kicked in the face.” Mr Hosie refuted the allegations on Monday and said he had received no donations from the FBU at the time the exchange took place. He added that he had accepted £500 from the union towards his successful campaign but this had been declared in his electoral expense return at the end of the election. But he maintained his decision to oppose a consultation that would see full night cover at Balmossie the quietest whole-time station in Tayside removed to allow a dayshift at busier Forfar was taken solely with the safety of his constituents in mind. Mr Lyall had championed the proposals on advice from chief fire officer Stephen Hunter, sparking a row which saw him temporarily suspended from the SNP. Mr Hosie said, “As far as I’m aware the FBU gave donations to a number of candidates from a number of parties and this certainly had no relation whatsoever to my Balmossie decision. “It doesn’t affect my stance on Balmossie and any decision I took was based on the interests of the constituents I serve.” FBU Scottish secretary John Duffy confirmed Mr Hosie had received the £500 in the spring but had never been given any donations prior to this. He added that Angus SNP MP Mike Weir had been given a similar sum and Dundee West Labour MP Jim McGovern had also received union funding. Mr Lyall told The Courier on Monday that he didn’t “know for certain” what financial support Mr Hosie had received from the FBU. He said, “The FBU has probably given a lot of candidates donations. That’s what unions do. I don’t want to be any more specific than that.”


‘Dancing’ attacker had to be restrained with CS spray

March 15 2013

A 32-year-old man who threatened a terrified woman in her car before punching a betting shop worker had to be sprayed with tear gas by police, a court has heard. Andrew Tosh danced around a police officer who tried to restrain him after fleeing the bookmakers, just minutes after subjecting the car driver to the ordeal in the city’s Hilltown. Dundee Sheriff Court heard council employee Jacqueline Spence (53) had been driving in the Hilltown and had stopped at lights when she was aware of her passenger door being opened. She had looked round and saw Tosh sitting in the car pointing his fingers at her in the shape of a gun. Fiscal depute Nicola Gillespie told the court: “The accused then said: ‘This is a hold-up, take me to somewhere beginning with T’. His voice was slurred and the complainer thought he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. “The driver was terrified and told the accused to get out.” Tosh had refused and repeated his demand, causing an “alarmed” Ms Spence to start sounding her car’s horn to attract the attention of other motorists. Tosh then left the car and started walking towards the traffic behind him. A panicked Ms Spence shouted to other drivers to lock their doors, at which point Tosh turned round and swore at her. He then returned to Ms Spence’s car and kicked the driver window and wing mirror. Tosh was then seen 10 minutes later at a nearby bookmakers, where he took pens and betting slips and put them on the ground. He was asked to leave by staff member Stephanie Mitchell, but walked towards her with a pen in his hand, leading her and a colleague to think he was going to stab her. Ms Gillespie said: “The accused then punched her on the shoulder and she ran behind the counter and broke down in tears while asking her colleague to push the panic button.” The court heard police arrived and Constable David Sinclair approached Tosh. He swung at the officer and missed before starting to dance around PC Sinclair, laughing. PC Sinclair held up CS spray and told Tosh to move back, but he tried to punch the officer. PC Sinclair sprayed Tosh in the face with the CS gas. Tosh had hit the officer in the face and thrown a mobile phone at him before he was restrained. Andrew Lyall, defending, said his client was “aghast” but could not remember the incident in the car or betting shop. Mr Lyall said: “He is conscious that he has caused distress.” Tosh, of Stirling Street, admitted entering a car driven by Ms Spence and demanding she drive him to an unknown location, refusing to leave when requested, shout and swear at her and repeatedly kick the vehicle on Hilltown on March 6. He also admitted assaulting Stephanie Mitchell by punching her on the body at Ladbrokes, Strathmartine Road, on the same date. He further admitted assaulting PC Sinclair, then in the execution of his duty, by repeatedly attempting to strike him on the body and thereafter on the face and threw a mobile phone at him, all to his injury. Tosh also pleaded guilty to struggling violently with PC Sinclair, Constable Garry Miller and Constable Jennifer Gray. Moving for bail, Mr Lyall said that Tosh was willing to undergo a 24-hour curfew at his mother’s house. Sheriff Richard Davidson remanded Tosh in custody until March 21 to obtain a psychiatric report. He said: “This case has caused me some concern. I appreciate the offer Mrs Tosh has made, but I am faced with a bizarre set of events and I can’t help but be concerned for public safety.”

UK & World

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.


Website asks Dundonians to tell of their dreams for 2017

August 7 2013

We Dundee, the website which helped people power support Dundee’s UK City of Culture 2017 bid, has been relaunched. In the run-up to Dundee being shortlisted for the prestigious award, We Dundee displayed the answers of 2,331 people to the question “What surprises you about the city?” Now organisers have relaunched We Dundee and this time they want backers to complete the phrase “In 2017 I would love to see…” The team has already collected some ideas from an event at the Blue Skies festival. “When you launch something like this, you’re never sure what you’re going to get,” organiser Lyall Bruce said. “Some people have really simple ambitions and some you’re never going to get. I like the one about having a festival of flags across the city.” When We Dundee last asked the public to say what they think about their home town, organisers had set themselves a target of 2,017 and were overwhelmed by the response. Lyall said: “We were surprised by how much positivity there was. When you give people space it’s really encouraging to see how many positive things they say.” Stewart Murdoch, who is leading the Dundee campaign, added: “The feedback we received from the We Dundee site was one of the key reasons the city’s bid has been shortlisted. The depth and range of contribution from so many members of the public was astonishing and genuinely impressed the competition’s judges. “I’m sure this next phase will be just as effective and I really look forward to seeing the imaginative ideas and suggestions that come in.” We Dundee now wants to get as many ideas as possible by the end of the month to work into the City of Culture final stage bid document. However, they hope the site will run beyond the bid. “The We Dundee site isn’t exclusively for the City of Culture bid,” Lyall said. “We came up with the whole idea of the site to gain some encouragement from people in the city and give them a voice.” Anyone wishing to contribute can do so by visiting the website.

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

Perth & Kinross

Ken Lyall’s resignation from Perth and Kinross Council confirmed

July 12 2011

A Highland Perthshire councillor who said he was standing down due to his disillusionment with politics has formally tendered his resignation. Long-serving SNP councillor Ken Lyall’s decision to seek a new life with his family in Australia means that there will be a by-election. Confirming that his decision was now official, a council spokesman said, “Councillor Ken Lyall today tendered his resignation as a member of Perth and Kinross Council, with effect from August 1. “Councillor Lyall’s resignation means that a by-election will now be required for Ward 4, Highland. Arrangements for the by-election will be announced in due course.” Mr Lyall has served on Perth and Kinross Council for 12 years and was chairman of Tayside Fire and Rescue Board and vice-chairman of the council’s development control committee. The 46-year-old councillor recently decided to seek a new life in Tasmania along with wife Kath and children Caitlin (12) and Megan (10). As we reported, Mr Lyall said he had found it increasingly difficult to “toe the line” demanded by party politics. Mr Lyall fell foul of the party hierarchy when he supported Chief Fire Officer Stephen Hunter in his quest to close Balmossie fire station, at a time when it was felt it could have an impact on the SNP’s electoral hopes. He praised local supporters in the Aberfeldy area, saying, “It has been a real privilege to be a councillor. The community has been brilliant they have been wonderful.”

Readers' letters

Abandon plan to merge police forces

June 27 2017

Sir, – I see from your report (June 23) that the First Minister seems determined to press ahead with the plan to have Police Scotland absorb the Scottish operations of British Transport Police despite almost everyone who has anything to do with policing the railway being against the idea. As usual, Nicola Sturgeon has trotted out the “access to specialist officers” line as a reason for continuing with what is nothing more than a good old-fashioned power grab. There is no sound operational reason for this change. It is only happening to satisfy a political whim, perhaps the need of the Scottish Government to remove the word British from the title. What has been entirely disregarded in the process is that policing the railway is an entirely different task from mainstream policing. It is a dangerous environment and there are myriad regulations peculiar to policing the railway that BTP officers are familiar with but which Police Scotland officers will have to be trained in at no little expense. This is every bit as bad an idea as Police Scotland has proved to be and it should be abandoned. George Thomson. 44 Viewforth Place, Pittenweem.   Put families at centre of law Sir, – A bizarre ruling by the English High Court – the equivalent of our Court of Session – that two grandparents must never be told that their daughter has had twins should give us in Scotland cause for concern. The same ideological approach, which denies the existence of the family, underlies the law and social policy here and led, for example, to the named person scheme. In this case, it is apparently a breach of the mother’s human rights to even tell her parents or sister of the children’s existence. This shows quite how callous and unjust modern human rights law can be, and quite how far it has drifted away from both human nature and common sense. The mother of the twins has reportedly refused to divulge the contact details of her own parents. I find it surprising that the judge does not order her to do so, and if she refuses, remand her for contempt of court. If she was refusing to divulge the details of a mere bank account, no judge would think twice about issuing an order. The proverb that blood is thicker than water reflects experience, scientific research in evolutionary biology and common sense. It is high time it became a fundamental principle in family law. Otto Inglis. 6 Inveralmond Grove, Edinburgh.   Children failed by Westminster Sir, – Steven Lyall (June 22) makes a number of points regarding the general election. His conclusion is the SNP’s results were due to their record on education. However, education in Scotland is the responsibility of Holyrood. With three quarters of their tenure remaining, the First Minister and her government can only be rightfully judged at the end of this parliamentary term. However, I sympathise with Mr Lyall’s confusion. The election campaign conducted by the unionist parties was one of mendacious and misleading content. The Conservatives in particular, happy to engage in a deliberate act of confusion regarding reserved and devolved responsibilities, left themselves free to treat the Westminster election in Scotland as though the SNP were the sitting government, thereby avoiding any real scrutiny of their own record. Mr Lyall is correct that poverty is a major hindrance to closing the attainment gap. He is also correct in his assertion that the extremely limited control we have over our economy leaves Holyrood vulnerable to British Government policies, with yet another generation of Scottish school children being failed by the London establishment. Ken Clark. 335 King Street, Broughty Ferry.   Time for a UK republic? Sir, – Now that Prince Harry has revealed, presumably on the basis of inside information, that not one of the royal family wants to be king or queen, would this not be a good time to relieve their burden and begin the process of becoming a republic? Les Mackay. 5 Carmichael Gardens, Dundee.   Britain relies on migrant workers Sir, – It was with great frustration and irritation that I read the letter from your correspondent Jim Shaw (June 22) regarding his assertions and opinion about the logistical pressures on public services in London due to the amount of immigration to London and the rest of the UK. Migration is an exceptionally positive and necessary component of our economy and these same public services that he feels are under so much threat from immigration, would not be in a position to operate without a labour force from outwith the United Kingdom. The paradoxes are blinding. Craig McGeoghie. 10 Newhall Gardens, Dundee.   Too stupid to govern? Sir, – Scottish farmers are up in arms about late payment of EU subsidies. The Scottish Government has accepted culpability and has provided loans short term as they try to sort matters out. The farmers are hugely reliant on these EU subsidies. Many of them have just voted to come out of the EU. Am I missing something? It is all a bit like our fishermen running to the Tories that sold them out in the first place. Maybe we are the only country too stupid to run our own affairs after all. Dave McEwan Hill. Dalinlongart, Sandbank, Argyll.   New tax will not boost tourism Sir, – Alex Orr’s claim (June 23) that the replacement of the current air passenger duty by the Scottish Government’s lower air departure tax will lead to an increase of “nearly one million passengers every year” is questionable. He should consider the fact that the word “departure” features prominently in the name of the new tax indicating that it would apply only to those passengers departing Scotland. How this will increase arrivals and tourism in Scotland is a mystery. GM Lindsay. Whinfield Gardens, Kinross.   EU setting terms of departure Sir, – Delay with the Brexit process, and a likely unsatisfactory outcome, is because our politicians and civil servants have known nothing else but EU documentation, process, and method, and are being led by those at the moment. Our exit from the EU is being conducted on EU terms, as outlined in Article 50, one of the documents created at the time of the Lisbon Treaty of 2009. Without any original thinking from our side, we will have to leave on EU terms. Is that actually what we voted for? Malcolm Parkin. Gamekeepers Road. Kinnesswood.