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...
Today's letters to The Courier discuss child benefits, energy subsidies, council tax banding, armed forces pensions, the Dundee aid effort for Gaza, and the Conservatives. Limit handouts to irresponsibly large familiesSir, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt received hysterical abuse for daring to suggest that before producing vast broods, people might consider whether they can afford them. Yet to those not living on benefits, he was merely stating the obvious and most of us confine ourselves to two or three children because we cannot decently rear more. The fact that the entire welfare system is run on the basis that unlimited assistance is provided in accordance with the size of a recipient's family is clearly a moral hazard. The poor must be protected from the worst consequences of failure but that does not absolve them from accepting some responsibility for their lifestyle choices. The dependency culture will persist and worsen unless limits are set to the rewards for irresponsibility. (Dr) John Cameron.10 Howard Place,St Andrews.Subsidies push bills upSir, Your front-page article by Stefan Morkis on fuel poverty and rising energy prices (October 30) certainly hit a chord. The timing of the increases by Scottish and Southern Energy of 9.4% from December 1, is bordering on the criminal. But the real criminality lies with the politicians who voted for the 2008 Climate Change Act, committing the UK to cutting CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050. In turn, energy bills have been increased to subsidise the builders of useless windmills and hideous giant pylons despoiling Scotland's only remaining natural resource its landscape. Patrick Healy.4 Waterside View,Carnoustie.Double tax standardsSir, It is a bit rich for Labour MSP Marlyn Glen to complain about the basic unfairness of the council tax (October 29) when it was the Labour Party who increased everyone's bill by 60% when they were last in power in Scotland. Band D households in Westminster Council area in London, pay council tax of £690. By contrast, in Dundee, similar households are now forced to fork out double this figure. Ms Glen may think that is fair but I suspect many hard-working Dundonians would disagree. It is the SNP who have frozen the council tax in Scotland in every year they have been in Government and it is Labour who now threaten to end it and to hike it up, as if council tax was a personal fund for Labour politicians. If Ms Glenn is seriously concerned about the inherent unfairness of the council tax, she should be promising the people of Dundee and Scotland that she and her party will scrap it. Kevin Donnelly.36 Winnipeg Quay,Manchester.Troops do fund pensionsSir, I feel I must correct your correspondent Stuart Allan who stated that members of HM forces do not contribute towards their pensions. The Ministry of Defence was forced to admit in the 1980s that salaries of service personnel were abated by 30% to fund pensions. This is a substantial deduction from an employee base that were not allowed to complain publicly, even if they had known about the practice. I doubt if many civilian employers, even in the current climate, would dare to adopt such a secretive procedure against such a loyal workforce. C. R. Garland.102 Califer Road,Forres.Back to days of Tory cutsSir, Recently, while walking in the Perthshire hills, I viewed a formation of Tornados GR4s from RAF Lossiemouth skimming across the hilltops. But I have this sinking feeling that the decision to close that base and move its Tornados to RAF Marham has already been taken on political grounds. The Tories have so little support in Scotland but, by moving facilities down south, they can please voters in Middle England. It has not taken David Cameron long. Just a few months after becoming Prime Minister, he is starting to rip the heart out of Morayshire. Thomas Brown.6 Tulliebelton Road,Bankfoot.Aid reaches Gaza 'terrorists'Sir, I've read The Courier for more years than I care to remember. Your political viewpoint has not always agreed with mine and I took this to be normal in a free society, more a cause for contentment than complaint. But then you used the term "vital aid" more than once in your reports to describe the extraordinary supply of goods to Gaza which not only ignored the confrontational approach of the self-styled humanitarians and the fundamentals of the Arab/Israeli conflict but also ignored reports that gave the lie to the need for any such "vital aid". Indeed, in this context, the term "vital aid" promotes support for the terrorists of Hamas, who control Gaza. Andrew Lawson.9 MacLaren Gardens,Dundee.David Cameron snatches defeatSir, Only a politician could present abject failure as achievement. David Cameron would have us believe that limiting the EU budget increase to 2.9% is reason for congratulations. He seems not to realise that the EU is the sum of its parts, all of which are currently enduring severe cuts in public expenditure. Incredibly, part of the proposed larger increase is for doubling entertainment expenses, including champagne supplies. If Cameron had any backbone, he would not only refuse any increase in our contribution but directly implement a reduction by cutting our present level of payment. Robert Dow.Ormiston Road,Tranent. 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.
When Joe McFalls was growing up in Lochee, he foresaw a path that would lead to a career as a slater. The lad from Logie Street apparently had a head for heights and a willingness to work hard and would no doubt have succeeded had that profession been his future. Instead, he set out on a path that led him into war zones and then the highest levels of the American political and legal systems, rubbing shoulders with four US presidents and the country’s most senior judges. He flew on Air Force One, acting as an aide to JFK and Lyndon Johnson on the “Big Bird”, and accompanying the controversial defence secretary Robert McNamara and his staff when they flew into Vietnam. Mr McFalls also rubbed shoulders with then vice-presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, King Hussien of Jordan and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. He finally retired from the US Air Force after 27 years’ active duty to work as catering manager at the US Supreme Court in Washington DC. It is now two years since Mr McFalls died in his adopted country, but his wife Gloria will soon help him to return to his home city, bringing his ashes from their home in Florida to Dundee. Nephew Iain McFalls said it would be a poignant moment for everyone who knew Mr McFalls. “It’s a couple of years now since my uncle died in Florida and his wife Gloria wants to return his ashes to his home city. “He was a very proud Dundonian and a proud Scotsman and his ashes will be scattered on the River Tay, as he wishes, after a memorial mass at St Mary’s on September 18.” Among those present will be Mr McFall’s grand-nephews Ciaran McFalls and Euan McFalls who is, himself, a Flying Officer with the RAF at Lossiemouth. Drafted into the Royal Navy in 1943, Joe McFalls emigrated to the US in 1949, joining the USAF the following year and setting him on the path to an incredible career. Within 12 months he was running a crash rescue boat as part of clandestine operations behind the 38th Parallel, off the coast of Korea. When Palm Beach airforce base closed in 1957, he transferred to Washington National Airport HQ with Special Air Missions, home to Air Force One. For years he flew the length and breadth of the US and around the world as part of its crew with US presidents and to Vietnam with Robert McNamara. His retirement from the USAF brought only a change of workplace, not a change of pace, spending the next 11 years at the US Supreme Court before retiring for good in 1989. Outside of work, he was a key member of the Highlanders Pipe Band proud as ever of his Scottish roots.
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
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.
Memorials dedicated to airmen in the First and Second World Wars have been given heritage protection to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force.Some 14 war memorials, including one to the most decorated British pilot of the First World War and one to the first pilot to shoot down a German zeppelin airship, have been newly listed or had their protected status upgraded.Unusual aviation monuments with new listings include a memorial with a central figure of Zeus, god of thunder; a Calvary Cross with a figure of Christ crucified, and a memorial in the shape of an aircraft.The new and upgraded listings by the Culture Department on the advice of heritage agency Historic England marks a century since the formation of the RAF, the world’s first air force independent of army or navy control.The RAF was formed on April 1, 1918, following a merger of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service, which each had around 100 aircraft, balloons and airships at the beginning of the First World War in 1914.By the end of the four-year conflict, the first in which aviation played a major role, the RAF had 27,000 officers and 260,000 other personnel operating more than 22,000 aircraft, but had seen high casualty rates.The RAF played a key role in the Second World War, including fighting the German Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain which prompted the tribute by Winston Churchill that “never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few”.Heritage Minister Michael Ellis said: “From the pioneering pilots of the First World War, to the heroism of the Battle of Britain, the Royal Air Force has a proud and distinguished wartime history.“As we mark its centenary, it is right that we remember the stories of the brave pilots and staff who served in defence of Britain.“These listings commemorate this legacy and preserve these historic memorials for future generations.”Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England said: “The listing and upgrading of these war memorials dedicated to members of the air services helps to tell the story of Britain’s wartime aviation history and marks the centenary of the formation of the Royal Air Force.“They commemorate the bravery and sacrifice of Britain’s pilots of both the First and Second World Wars.”The memorials receiving new or upgraded listed status are:– McCudden War Memorial and Grave in Maidstone Road Cemetery, Chatham, Kent, which is dedicated to the four McCudden brothers, including James who shot down 57 enemy aircraft and became the most decorated British pilot of the First World War – listed at Grade II;– Leefe Robinson Memorial Obelisk, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, dedicated toCaptain Leefe Robinson, a Royal Flying Corps pilot, who achieved the first successful destruction of a Zeppelin over Britain – listed at Grade II;– Captain Eric Lubbock’s Memorial, High Elms Country Park, London Borough of Bromley, commissioned by his grieving mother, Lady Avebury, who asked that the memorial take the form of an aircraft – listed at Grade II;– Two memorials, to Captain Alexander Bruce Kynoch and Captain Henry Clifford Stroud, Dollymans Farm, Rawreth, Essex, who collided in bad weather trying to intercept a German bomber heading for London and crashed in adjacent fields where the memorials with propellers on the plinths stand – listed at Grade II;– Catterick Camp and Aerodrome War Memorial, High Street, Catterick, Richmond, North Yorkshire, a Calvary Cross featuring Christ being crucified honours the officers and men from both the army camp to the west of the village and the RFC Catterick airfield to the south – listed at Grade II;– St Matthews Oxhey War Memorial, St Matthew’s Church, Oxhey, Hertfordshire, which includes the name of Reginald Alexander John Warneford who was noted for his skill and aggression in the air – listed at Grade II;– Memorial Obelisk for Captain Hamilton and Lieutenant Wyness Stuart, Willian, Hertfordshire, two officers of the Royal Flying Corps who died on September 6, 1912 when they crashed during an exercise – listed at Grade II;– Egton Bridge Cross, North Yorkshire, commemorating the death of Probationary Flying Officer Francis Titcomb from the Royal Naval Air Service, who on 15 April 1917 took off from Redcar Aerodrome for his first solo training flight and crashed after becoming disorientated over the Yorkshire moors – listed at Grade II;– RAF Wickenby 12 and 626 Squadron War Memorial, Wickenby Airport, Lincolnshire, a Second World War memorial commemorating the 1,080 aircrew of 12 and 626 Bomber Command squadrons who lost their lives in bombing raids on Germany and during the liberation of occupied Europe, and includes a bronze figure based on Icarus – listed at Grade II;– Aviator’s Memorial, Eastchurch, Kent, with a central figure of Zeus, the god of thunder, and marks the outstanding impact of the Royal Aero Club, based at Eastchurch and Leysdown Flying Grounds, on the development of aviation in Britain – upgraded to Grade II*;– St Saviour’s War Memorial, Southwark, London, by sculptor Philip Lindsey Clark who was badly wounded in the First World War and intended the memorial to ‘express the same dogged determination and unconquerable spirit displayed by all branches of our forces on land, on the seas, and in the air’ – upgraded to Grade II*;– Bootle War Memorial, Kings Gardens, Bootle, Merseyside, which is comprised of symbolic life-size bronze figures with a mother and child representing the motherland and future generations of the then British Empire, guarded by the three great fighting forces, army, navy and air force – upgraded to Grade II*;– Royal Air Force Memorial, Victoria Embankment, London, the national memorial to the RAF, featuring the enormous gilded bronze eagle with wings outstretched that is the symbol of the RAF and its motto: Per ardua ad astra – through adversity to the stars – upgraded to Grade II*.
Sir, As the RAF Ensign was lowered at the sunset ceremony at the last RAF Leuchars Airshow, well- informed observers and commentators would have seen the irony in one of the displays during the flying programme, namely the Quick Reaction Alert scramble of two Typhoons. With the planned move of air assets some 150 miles north to Lossiemouth, it is in danger of being renamed Delayed Reaction Alert or Diminished Reaction Alert as even travelling at a supersonic 660mph at, say, 35,000 feet, it is going to take the aircraft approximately 14 minutes to fly from Lossiemouth to Leuchars. RAF Leuchars QRA aircraft have been protecting British airspace for over six decades, with no complaints as to their ability to do so, and as a 9/11 style attack is probably the most likely threat to our airspace these days, it is very strange that these same aircraft will be asked to patrol our skies from Lossiemouth to protect us from rogue civilian aircraft that will be flying in air corridors over Britain, 95% of which are south of the Glasgow/Edinburgh corridor. It would appear that the politicians know they have got it wrong, but none are prepared to reverse the decision. The army are destined to come in 2015, even though rumour has it they don’t want to, as it is completely unsuitable for their needs the runway and its services are being retained for emergency diversions. The £240 million price tag for this folly seems steep, but when compared to the £1.5 billion which has reportedly been wasted by the MoD over the last two years, it doesn’t seem so bad. The taxpayer also gets to see £10.2 million wasted every year in increased training costs for the Typhoons, as they fly all the way back to Fife to practise in well-established training grounds just east of Dundee. The prime directive of government is to protect its citizens. Good defence is not determined by luck but by strategy, something the Government decided to leave out of their SDSR. Mark Sharp. 41 Norman View, Leuchars. Jenny’s got it wrong Sir, Jenny Hjul’s article (yesterday’s Courier) takes up the cudgels on behalf of “female exploitation” in lads’ mags. Jenny has got this one wrong, however. In cases of exploitation it is usually the end user, or purchaser, who is being “exploited” and these magazines are no different. The ladies whose images make up the content are being handsomely paid for being photographed, with their full consent, and the magazines’ proprietors are raking in the cash. Nobody is being exploited at that end of the trade, but it is the blokes who part with their cash to buy the mags who are being exploited. No, Jenny, it’s not male exploitation of women, but quite the reverse. It’s female exploitation of men for profit. It’s being going on since the beginning of time and trying to sound trendy by reversing the roles ain’t going to stop it. Vive le difference! (Captain) Ian F McRae. 17 Broomwell Gardens, Monikie. No Scottish jobs created Sir, The brief article re Seimens turbines arriving in Dundee docks should be of interest to readers. The SNP have consistently declared these monstrosities, which are destroying our beautiful landscape, create jobs. The reality is they are manufactured abroad, connected using foreign cables and do not create any Scottish jobs, courtesy of EU procurement rules. We all know the enthusiasm Mr Salmond has for the EU, so he is right in one respect. They do create jobs. For the Germans. However, they cost us all huge amounts in massive subsidies in our electricity bills. If, God forbid, we secure independence, we will have the euro thrust upon us, increasing cost even more. Iain Cathro. 31 Ferndale Drive, Dundee. Slipping into a ‘dark age’? Sir “Humans have stopped evolving” (The Courier Tuesday, September 10). This statement by Sir David Attenborough may be the most significant of his career and deserves to be taken very seriously by governments around the world. Should he be correct, and there is much evidence to indicate he is, then we are already in regression and slipping into a “Dark Age”. Perhaps it is now time for ad hoc “think tanks” to formulate strategic global plans for the way ahead . . . taking into account the objectives and aspirations of all good people before it is too late! Kenneth Miln. 22 Fothringham Drive, Monifieth. A great day all round Sir, Having been an outspoken critic of the traffic and parking management in the past, I must now congratulate all concerned with last Saturday’s air show. In light of the number of people attending, getting on site was, for us, a breeze. The show was excellent even though the Vulcan and red nine (only eight red arrows some shapes just didn’t work!) were sorely missed. Even the weather held up. a great day all round. Marcia Wright. 19 Trinity Road, Brechin.
A collection of images capturing the development of the RAF across the decades has been released to mark the centenary of the world’s first independent air force.It was 100 years ago on April 1 1918 that the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service merged to create the Royal Air Force.To celebrate the event, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has collated and released 100 images – including early shots, aerial views of Mosul in the 1920s, through to the Second World War and Cold War.The pictorial history also includes images from the RAF’s most recent operations and equipment such as the F-35 stealth fighter jet, as well as never-before-seen photos.
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. email@example.com
For more than 150 years Perth Show has been a popular, once a year meeting point for the people of the city and the farming community. The show - now the third largest of its type in Scotland – remains as always a showcase for champion livestock but this year holds a much wider appeal for visitors. To be held on Friday and Saturday August 5 and 6 on the South Inch, throughout the two days, trade stands, sideshows, entertainment, activities, music and parades all add to the vibrancy of the show along with a new culinary direction. “For the first time, Perth Show is set to feature a cookery theatre and food and drink marquee,” said show secretary Neil Forbes. “This will bring a new and popular dimension to the visitor attraction. “Perth Show 2016 is also delighted to welcome Perthshire On A Plate (POAP) - a major food festival, celebrating the very best in local produce and culinary talent. “Organised by Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, the two-day festival will run as part of the show and feature celebrity and local chefs, demonstrations and tastings, book signings, food and drink related trade stands, fun-filled activities for ‘kitchen kids’ and a large dining area and pop-up restaurants in a double celebration of food and farming.” Heading the celebrity chef line-up are television favourite Rosemary Shrager (Friday) and spice king Tony Singh (Saturday), backed by a host of talented local chefs including Graeme Pallister (63 Tay Street) and Grant MacNicol (Fonab Castle). The cookery theatre, supported by Quality Meat Scotland, will also stage a fun cookery challenge between students from Perth College and the ladies of the SWI. A range of pop-up restaurants featuring taster dishes from some of the area’s best known eating places will allow visitors to sample local produce as they relax in the show’s new POAP dining area. “We’re trying to create a wide and varied programme of entertainment,” said Mr Forbes. “Late afternoon on Friday will see the It’s A Knockout challenge with teams from businesses throughout Perth and Perthshire competing against each other. “And the first day’s programme will end with a beer, wine and spirit festival where teams can celebrate their achievements and visitors can sample a wide range of locally produced drinks.” This year will also see the reintroduction of showjumping at Perth Show on the Saturday afternoon.