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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...

Scottish politics

Labour figures eyeing up independence are ‘living in fairyland’, says party veteran

August 23 2016

Labour grandee Tam Dalyell has said those in the party warming to Scottish independence on the back of the Brexit vote are “living in fairyland”. Former First Minister Henry McLeish and David Martin, who is Labour’s longest-serving MEP, are among the senior Labour figures who have said they could be converted to the independence cause. Official Scottish Labour policy is to oppose a second referendum on secession until at least 2021, but leader Kezia Dugdale has been accused by some quarters of softening her pro-Union stance. Delivering his assessment of those in the party shifting towards independence, Sir Tam told The Courier: “They are living in fairyland. I think they are wrong. “McLeish and others had better realise that there is no chance of an independent Scotland being admitted into the European Union. “No prime minister of Spain would allow it and nor would the Germans.” Mr McLeish, who led a Scottish Labour government in 2000/01, said earlier this year the party must abandon its strategy of “just saying no to independence” and advocated a “new alternative of real home rule”. Mr Martin, who is on Ms Sturgeon’s Standing Council on Europe, has said independence is “worth considering” if Scotland cannot retain access to the single market. Scottish Labour deputy leader Alex Rowley revealed last month that he would not oppose a second independence referendum, saying the Brexit vote had shifted the debate. His boss Ms Dugdale reprimanded on live radio yesterday saying it was “wrong” for Mr Rowley to take that stance against party policy. Sir Tam, who was an MP in Scotland for 43 years and a fervent Unionist, called on MPs from all parties to block Brexit. “I believe it is up to every member of Parliament to do the right thing and to vote against the triggering of Article 50,” he said. “I would hope the House of Commons blocks Brexit and I have very strong views on this.” He said the referendum result does not have to be enacted because “people were lied to and misled by (Boris) Johnson and others”. “You look at what Brexit would mean for places like Dundee, and the damage it could do to universities like Dundee, and I am very angry about it,” he added. Article 50 is the legal mechanism through which member states leave the EU. Political and constitutional experts disagree on whether Parliament has to vote on whether it is triggered.

UK politics

Ex-Labour FM calls for Kezia Dugdale to ‘unwind’ independence opposition

September 14 2016

Kezia Dugdale should row back on her opposition to independence and seize control of the debate by calling for a “radical alternative” to the constitutional status quo, say a former Labour first minister. Henry McLeish, who was first minister between 2000 and 2001, said the Scottish Labour leader should “unwind” her anti-independence stance and put forward a solution along the lines of home rule or federalism. In an interview with The Courier, the former Fife MP also called for Jeremy Corbyn to stand down to save the party from collapse and warned against treating the Brexit vote as a “binding outcome”. Mr McLeish, who has said he is open to Scottish independence, said: “It’s actually my view that the Labour party will hold the cards as to whether Scotland eventually becomes independent or stays in the Union, but the  Labour Party in Scotland have now got to - in a very bold way - say ‘we are entering this debate again’. “What they need to find is an alternative between status quo Unionism and on the other hand independence.” He added Ms Dugdale should “unwind” on her opposition to independence, saying she “need not position herself to be totally opposed to that”. But he said she has a “great opportunity” to take the fight to the SNP, who he said have succeeded in convincing people that independence is the “only show in town”, by proposing a “radical alternative”. Scottish Labour’s 2016 manifesto said they will oppose another independence referendum until at least 2021, a position Ms Dugdale has stood by since the Brexit vote. A Scottish Labour spokesman said: “Labour stands with the majority of Scots who want to stay in the UK and maintain our relationship with Europe. “But whilst the SNP and the Tories continue to obsess about the arguments of the past only Labour is talking about plans for Scotland’s future, like cutting the attainment gap, investing in our NHS, creating jobs and  banning fracking.” Mr McLeish also pleaded with warring factions of the UK party not to split if Mr Corbyn fights off challenger Owen Smith to retain his leadership. Making a fresh plea for Mr Corbyn to step down, he denounced the campaign group Momentum as a “cult”, who he said have taken the “ridiculous” position of backing the leader instead of the party. The Labour grandee added: “We are limping along just now and I’m afraid that there is no easy solution. “The only thing that has to happen is that Labour doesn’t split and that might mean a tawdry situation in Parliament with the Parliamentary Labour Party not listening to the leader and the leader not referring to the PLP.” Mr McLeish said there are precedents for holding another EU referendum on the outcome of Article 50 negotiations given the result was so tight and there was “no understanding” of what Brexit meant. “In Quebec they had a referendum and the Quebecois lost and had another one, the SNP look like they are going to have another referendum on Scottish independence some time,” he said. “In 1973 we voted to join the EU, in 2016 we decided to come out, and there are other examples throughout the world.” “And this is why we should not accept that this is a binding outcome because first of all it was a consultative referendum and secondly it was based on oBrexit, with no meaning on what it stood for.” Mr McLeish, who played for East Fife FC, proposed a “triple lock” against Brexit in which the UK parliament would have a vote on the terms of Article 50 and the repeal of the European Communities Act 1972, devolved nations are given a more “substantial say” and there would be another referendum on the outcome of negotiations.


Man murdered brother in “wicked” crime that also left Fife woman with life-threatening burns

July 21 2017

A man has admitted murdering his brother and attempting to murder his brother’s girlfriend in a New Year’s Day house fire. Blair Logan poured petrol on his younger brother Cameron, 23, and the bed he was sharing with Rebecca Williams as they slept at their family home in Milngavie, East Dunbartonshire, in the early hours of January 1 this year. Ms Williams was rescued from the fire and treated in hospital, while Logan’s parents were treated for smoke inhalation. Logan, 27, pleaded guilty to a charge of murder and attempted murder at the High Court in Glasgow on Friday. He had been arrested two weeks after the fire amid a major Police Scotland investigation. The family dog, Gomez, was also killed in the fire. Defence lawyer Shelagh McCall QC said Logan showed “wicked recklessness” but did not intend to kill his brother. He was said to have “felt physically sick at the whole thing”. Logan has been subject to two psychiatric reports which concluded there was not sufficient evidence for a plea of diminished responsibility. Ms McCall said there were “unusual traits” in Logan’s personality and that he had a lack of understanding of the impact of his actions on other people. Lady Scott asked for a social worker report and set a sentencing date for August 11 at the High Court in Livingston.

Scottish politics

Former Labour first minister says ‘no disguising how difficult’ local elections will be for the party

February 24 2017

A former Scottish Labour leader has warned the party is facing a fresh electoral blow when voters return to the ballot box this year. As the party gathers for its conference in Perth, Henry McLeish said its performance in the council elections in May is shaping up to be “very different” to the relative success of 2012. But the ex-first minister said Kezia Dugdale’s party could yet emerge from a “calamitous” period in its history to do well. Mr McLeish said winning Glasgow and Fife five years ago was a major boost to Labour, but he added: “This time the outcome could be very different. “The SNP are polling well. The Tories are likely to do better on the back of good results in the Holyrood elections. “Both the Liberal Democrats and the Greens could pick up seats. UKIP could certainly do better.” Mr McLeish, a former Fife councillor, said there is “no disguising how difficult these elections will be” for Labour, but said there is an opportunity given the “gloss is wearing off the SNP”. He added that Labour has a proud record of “civic achievements, political reforms and progressive improvements”, which is in “sharp contrast” to the inexperience of many SNP councils. The conference kicks off today at Perth Concert Hall with a debate on Ms Dugdale’s proposal for a “new Act of Union”, which would see the UK adopt a federal constitutional structure. Ms Dugdale is speaking on Saturday after an address by London Mayor Sadiq Khan. Jeremy Corbyn, the UK Labour leader, is to deliver his speech on Sunday. On the eve of the conference, Ms Dugdale said she would “without question” stay on as leader of the party until at least 2021 after admitting the local elections would be difficult for Labour. In an at times testy interview with STV, she repeatedly refused to say whether she thinks Westminster MPs should block an independence referendum, despite senior Tories in Scotland saying there should be no veto. Ahead of Friday’s debate on the constitution, she said the case for independence is even weaker now than it was two years ago. “Scotland’s too divided. We can bring our country together with a new solution around the constitution, one that appeals to people who voted both Yes and No,” she said. “This is why on the first morning of our conference I am asking my party to back my proposals for a federal solution for the whole of the UK.” See today's The Courier to read Mr McLeish's article on Labour's prospects in full.


Michael rises to top of food chain

May 8 2013

A young Whitfield lad’s chance summer job at a much-loved Dundee fish shop has ended up with his name above the door more than three decades later. Michael Gazeley is now the proud owner of the former McLeish Brothers and G&A Spink store on Castle Street, as well as its sister shop in Broughty Ferry. Michael, 53, had just left Stobswell Secondary School in the summer of 1976 and was considering a career in catering when he was asked to fill in at the shop, then owned by Stewart and Sandy McLeish. He said: “My mother used to work in the arcade in Castle Street and then she worked for Stewart McLeish in their shop there. “Somebody had cut their finger and I was asked to come in for two weeks. I was there for about a month and then I was invited back and that’s been me ever since.” Michael filleted fish at the company’s King Street and Trades Lane premises, starting every day at 6am. He said: “After two days you never smell a thing. Everybody smells you, but you don’t smell a thing. “The best teacher anyone could ever have was Stewart McLeish. He taught me everything I know. I got a grounding in every aspect of the business. “Eventually, I was asked to run the Broughty Ferry fish shop in Brook Street, which I did for 10 years.” The shops changed from McLeish Brothers to McLeish, which folded in 2009, before being resurrected as G&A Spink. Earlier this year, Michael, who was the Castle Street shop manager, was offered the option of taking over the business and decided to go for it, renaming the shops Gazeley’s Delicatessen Ltd last month. His daughter Lori, 21, also works for the family firm. He said: “I’ve always treated the business as if it was my own. I’ve always given 110%, that’s just who I am. It’s the way I was brought up. “The customers have been very supportive and I have known so many of them for so many years. They really have been fantastic about it and really pleased for me.”


Ryder Cup: Danny Willett’s brother’s article puts Europe on the defensive

September 29 2016

You can pick your friends, but not your family. Team Europe are desperately distancing themselves from an incendiary article penned by Danny Willett’s brother which described American golf fans as “cretins”. Published in National Club Golfer magazine, the article by Pete Willett – whose tweets around the time of his younger brother’s Masters victory brought some admiration and attention on social media – says that the European team need to “silence the pudgy, basement-dwelling, irritants stuffed on cookie dough and pissy beer”. He goes on to describe them as “fat, stupid, greedy, classless” and underline “the need to silence these cretins quickly”. Willett senior’s writings are clearly designed to be humorous, but the article doesn’t so much overstep the mark but leap it in one bound. European captain Darren Clarke is far from amused and said Willett was chewing out his brother. “It’s not what Danny thinks, it’s not what I think, and it’s not what Team Europe stands for,” said Clarke. “Danny’s bitterly disappointed and he will express his displeasure to his brother about it. “The fans could not have been nicer to us this week and hopefully that continues. The article was beyond our control, and it’s Danny’s brother’s opinion, not Danny’s or ours.” Willett senior didn’t seem to take his brother’s disappointment too seriously, however, later tweeting “sorry to any American followers but I mean every word”. US captain Davis Love III said he was aware of the article, but didn’t plan to even read it. “I took (New England Patriots) Coach Bill Belichick’s advice; ignore the noise,” he said. “If I read it, I’m going to get mad. So I just ignore it.” The American skipper wants a loud and partisan crowd at Hazeltine, but not one that oversteps the mark. “They’re golf-starved up here, and these people are so nice,” he said. “Fans at a home event, here and in Europe, just get into it and a big part of home advantage is the fans. “But we have to keep them going. It got quiet at Medinah on the Sunday, didn’t it? That was scary. We have to make birdies, we have to win holes.”

Perth & Kinross

Nurse’s suspension lifted by NMC

October 21 2013

A suspended nurse has been allowed back on the wards after a Nursing and Midwifery Council hearing was told she had a “difficult working relationship” with her previous employer. Helen McLeish was suspended after leaving a post as a registered nurse at Moncreiffe Care Home in Perth for a job as a bank nurse at Kippen House Care Home in Dunning. She was suspended on September 24 this year to allow an investigating committee to look into allegations related to her competence. It is alleged that on February 27 2013, when a resident fell and sustained a skin tear, Ms McLeish cut up small pieces of non-sterile tape and applied them to the open wound, in contravention of the home’s tissue viability policy. Additionally, it is claimed that she failed to complete the incident report properly and did not record the fall in the patient’s notes. There is a further allegation of dishonestly stating that the deputy manager had told her to use the tape. Further allegations state that Ms McLeish took twice as long as necessary to complete a medication round, incorrectly left a patient’s pain relief medication patch on overnight, and made a number of medication administration recording errors in March 2013 and May 2013. She is also accused of giving incorrect information to a GP about a patient’s care, which led to the GP incorrectly attempting to discharge the patient. It is also alleged that in April 2013 she arranged for a chiropodist to see a resident with dementia without obtaining prior consent from the resident’s family. Solicitor Elena McLachlan, acting for Ms McLeish, presented the NMC with letters of support from registered nurses working alongside Ms McLeish in her new job. She said Ms McLeish had been nursing for seven years without incident and said she accepted the incident with the tape was a “mistake”. She added that, since moving jobs, Ms McLeish has undertaken additional training. The NMC panel decided to replace the interim suspension with an interim conditions of practice order. The investigating committee will continue to look into the allegations against Ms McLeish.


Former FM says Labour should ease opposition to indyref2 amid credibility crisis

May 20 2017

Labour’s manifesto counts for very little because voters do not see the party as credible, according to former Labour first minister Henry McLeish. The former Scottish Labour leader also called on Kezia Dugdale to soften her opposition to a second independence referendum. Mr McLeish, who led the country in 2000-01, said the UK party’s manifesto had its merits but is undermined by the party’s reputation. “All the innovative policies in a manifesto count for very little if the public viewing them do not think the Labour Party is credible,” he said. Referring to concern over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership skills, Mr McLeish added: “For UK Labour, in an increasingly presidential style of politics, to what extent is credibility wrapped up in the leadership of the Labour Party?” Mr McLeish said that Labour must accept that a second independence referendum is inevitable, adding the party’s resistance gives the perception they are in league with the Tories. The ex-Fife MP’s intervention comes in a week in which Ms Dugdale, the Scottish Labour leader, convinced Mr Corbyn to take a tough approach against Indyref2 in the Labour manifesto. Mr Corbyn’s election prospectus, which was published on Tuesday, promised that Labour would “campaign tirelessly” against an “unwanted and unnecessary” referendum on independence, which the party warned would lead to “turbo-charged austerity”. Mr McLeish said: “The party must re-engage with the constitutional question by easing its opposition to a second referendum. “It is going to happen sometime, although certainly not any time soon. “Trying to avoid it identifies the party with the Tories and will not defeat independence or make it go away. “Instead the party could hold out the prospect of an alternative way forward – a federated structure for the UK.” Ms Dugdale has advocated federalism as a possible solution to Scotland’s constitutional stalemate. The Labour manifesto has pledged to set up a constitutional convention, which would consider creating a more federalised country. A Scottish Labour source said: “Henry McLeish is entitled to his personal views. "But he is out of touch with the Labour Party in 2017, and out of touch with the majority of people in Scotland. “Those who claim to share Labour values should never give up on fighting for social justice. “That’s why opposition to a referendum that could result in so much hardship for the very poorest families in Scotland is at the heart of our modern movement for the many, not the few. “A vote for Labour on June 8 will tell Nicola Sturgeon to get back to the day job and drop her plans for a divisive second independence referendum.” See Saturday's paper edition of The Courier to read Mr McLeish's column in full.


Case against Labour MP accused of kicking Yes campaigner collapses

August 3 2015

The case against an MP accused of kicking a Yes campaigner on the day of the Scottish independence referendum has collapsed because the word Glasgow was not included in court papers outlining the charge. Labour MP Marie Rimmer had been accused of assaulting Patricia McLeish at the entrance to Shettleston community centre, Amulree Street, then being used as a polling station, and kicking her on the body. The 68-year-old former council leader from St Helens, Merseyside, denied the charge and appeared at Glasgow Sheriff Court today for the trial. The case started briefly before being halted when the prosecutor noticed that the word Glasgow was not included on the document known as a complaint outlining the charge. Depute Fiscal Adele MacDonald said that her research on the internet showed that there was only one Shettleston in Scotland, and that is the area in the east end of Glasgow. However, Liam Ewing, defending Ms Rimmer, asked Sheriff Brian Adair to dismiss the complaint. He said: "The locus of a complaint is one of the fundamentals of a summary complaint." After a 40-minute adjournment, Sheriff Adair ruled that the case was dismissed due to the lack of location in the charge. He said: "I determine that the complaint is fundamentally nil and is dismissed." He told Ms Rimmer: "You're free to go." The initial charge read: "On September 18 2014 at the entrance to Shettleston community centre, Amulree Sttreet, then being used as a polling station you did assault Patricia McLeish and did kick her on the body." Earlier the court heard from first witness Ms McLeish, 51, a local government officer, who described how Ms Rimmer allegedly approached her while she was handing out Yes campaign leaflets outside Shettleston community centre. She told the court that Ms Rimmer, who was wearing a red and yellow t-shirt and appeared to be from the Better Together campaign, twice came up very close into her face. On the second occasion, she said Ms Rimmer came into her face in a "right intimidating manner" and asked "are you a shop steward?" Ms Rimmer then allegedly asked where Miss McLeish worked and said that she herself was leader of Saint Helen's Council, the court heard. At the time Ms Rimmer was a Labour candidate and is now MP for St Helens South and Whiston. Miss McLeish said: "At that I disbelieved it because I thought the manner she had approached me and her tone of voice was not akin to something like a leader of a council." She alleged that later Ms Rimmer came up and kicked her. The witness told the court: "She came into my face again, right up and invaded my personal space, really close, something that normally doesn't happen. Then she kicked me on the left shin." Asked whether it could have been an accident, she replied: "Definitely not because she smirked after it happened and the manner leading up to the event, it was not an accident." She said she then reported the incident to the presiding officer. Mr Ewing did not have the opportunity to cross-examine Miss McLeish as the case then collapsed. A Crown Office spokesman said they plan to re-raise the case against Ms Rimmer. The spokesman said: “We note the decision of the court to dismiss the case. “We intend re-raising the case tomorrow.”