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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...

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

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.


Christian charity to sue ministers after ‘guardian’ legislation passed

February 20 2014

A Christian charity is suing ministers after plans to give every child in Scotland a “guardian” until the age of 18 were passed by parliament. The Christian Institute announced its intention to drag ministers through the courts in a bid to overturn legislation to appoint a “named person” for more than one million young people. Director Colin Hart said a £30,000 challenge would be launched “in defence of family life against state intrusion” after the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill was passed by MSPs, with 103 votes in favour and 15 abstentions. He said: “This is a dreadful extension of the state’s tentacles into family life. Churches, lawyers and parents opposed this. “But we are faced with the arrogance of a politically-correct pseudo elite intent on stamping their unrepresentative views on the people of Scotland. “We have no option but to challenge this ‘illegal’ law all the way. “We have the best legal advice from the eminent human rights QC Aidan O’Neill, who is in no doubt the proposals fall foul of Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights. “We have families who are ready to go to court to fight this law. And we will support them every step of the way.” A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are confident that the Bill is compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights. “Families are not required to accept advice or offers of help from the Named Person. “Any actions or advice from the Named Person must be fair, proportionate and respect rights with the aim of safeguarding the wellbeing of the child.” Children’s minister Aileen Campbell said the intention was “to ensure children and families have somewhere to go if they need an extra bit of help and that none are left without support”. However, the Bill was met by opposition from a number of groups and by the Conservative Party. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland raised concerns about inadequate resourcing by the Scottish Government to make the named person role a reality. RCN Scotland director, Theresa Fyffe, claimed an extra 450 health visitors would need to be recruited and trained to make the policy work. Around 60 kinship carers, their supporters and children protested loudly before MSPs voted on the proposals. They could be seen and heard chanting and singing outside Parliament, claiming vital support for vulnerable children in kinship care will be cut. Tory young person spokeswoman, Liz Smith, had put forward amendments that would mean those aged 16 and above would not have a named person assigned to them. The Mid Scotland and Fife MSP said: “We believe the policy is wrong in principle, that it does not have conclusive supporting evidence and has not been properly costed.” SNP MSP Ms Campbell replied: “We want to promote an early intervention and prevention approach, that is coordinated and prevents problems escalating into crisis. “We want to ensure as far as possible no child slips through that net. A named person for every child will help us achieve all of that.”

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


Thistle Couriers proud to support Archie Appeal

March 6 2015

So inspired are they by the work of the Archie Foundation, Thistle Couriers have pledged to donate their delivery services for free to the charity, writes Caroline Lindsay. Ewan Ferguson, the company’s managing director, spoke about how they first got involved with the foundation, which helps sick children in the north of Scotland, about five months ago. “I read an article online where members of the public had asked about buying Archie’s fund-raising merchandise people clearly wanted to purchase their goods, but postal costs were sometimes an issue,” he said. “So to me it was simple we have a great parcel delivery service that would allow Archie to deliver anything they need to fundraising teams, online sales anyone they needed to send anything to. “We wanted to be productively involved rather than just donating money or goods, and by providing our services we can participate and support the foundation every day. “It also means we can help the team in any way they need it at any time. “We are a small part of the daily effort to support and raise money on an ongoing basis for the whole of the foundation, and not just in Aberdeen. “Our overnight service allows the ARCHIE staff to book a parcel to be delivered promptly and we also provide tough packing bags to put the smaller orders in, reducing Archie’s need to purchase packaging also. “I had helped out the foundation from time to time since it first started, and everyone at Thistle was really pleased when I suggested we offer our services it’s such a great feeling to know that we are able to help in our own little way.” Ewan is in no doubt that Archie will raise the £2 million to put towards the new operating suite at Tayside Children’s Hospital. “You only have to look at the success the foundation has had at Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital and at Raigmore it’s clearly a great choice to do the same at Tayside Children’s Hospital. “The Archie team are so dedicated and selfless, it is truly humbling what this group of people attempt and achieve. “I was once told that if you want to change the world you have to start with one act of random human kindness. “The Archie team do this, minute by minute, day by day, and these guys and girls are the kind of people that can change the world. “Everyone at Thistle Couriers is proud to assist them in any way we can.”

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.


PCC adjudication

April 22 2011

Today's letters to The Courier. Two woman complained separately to the Press Complaints Commission that an article published in The Courier in January 2011 contained material that had identified their daughters as victims of sexual assault in breach of Clause 3 (Privacy), Clause 7 (Children in sex cases) and Clause 11 (Victims of sexual assault) of the Editors' Code. The complaint was upheld. The article reported a court hearing in which a man had admitted sexual offences against two girls, both of whom were under the age of 16 at the time the crimes occurred. The report made reference to the locations where the offences had taken place, including the names of the streets two of which were the streets on which the victims lived. The article also stated the ages of the girls at the time of the offences. The complainants both said their daughters' right to anonymity had been compromised by the inclusion of this information. Complainant A said that she and her daughter lived in a rural area with only a small number of houses on their street. It was easy for neighbours and others in the local community to identify her daughter as a result of the article. Complainant A added that the level of detail included about the offences was unnecessary. Complainant B said her daughter was the only female child of the reported age who lived on the other named street. Neighbours, classmates and other acquaintances had, as a consequence, been made aware of her identity and the graphic nature of the offences to which she was subjected. This in turn had led to the girl being extremely distressed. Although it did not initially accept that it had published sufficient information to identify the victims, the newspaper admitted that its practice of only publishing outline details of cases of this nature had not been properly followed. It removed the partial addresses from its electronic archive and excluded similar references in a subsequent report about sentencing. In addition, the editor circulated a message to all staff reminding them of their obligations to protect children under the Editors' Code, and sent a letter of apology and explanation to the complainants. Adjudication The terms of Clause 7 (Children in sex cases) of the Editors' Code are very clear: "the press must not...identify children under 16 who are victims in cases involving sex offences". Clause 11 (Victims of sexual assault) adds that the press "must not publish material likely to contribute to [the] identification" of victims of sexual assault. If in doubt, newspapers should always err on the side of caution when considering what details to publish in relation to such cases. In this instance, the inclusion of the girls' ages and their partial addresses clearly had the potential to contribute to their identification. Indeed, given the relatively small number of houses on the streets in question, identification was always going to be a strong possibility. This was a bad mistake by the newspaper, which had acknowledged that its practice of publishing only outline details of cases such as these had not been followed. The Code affords particular protection to those who are vulnerable and it is hard to imagine anyone more vulnerable than a child victim of sexual crimes. The failure of the newspaper properly to consider the likely consequences of publishing the information in the report, especially the references to the girls' partial addresses, was a serious one. While the commission welcomed the steps taken by the editor to ensure that the Editors' Code was adhered to in the future (and while it was noted that he had apologised to the victims via their parents), it did not hesitate to uphold these complaints.

Angus & The Mearns

Angus councillor inspired by great-granny’s essay on the suffragists

February 9 2018

An Angus councillor has unearthed a fascinating insight into men’s views on the suffragists as the nation commemorated the centenary of some women winning the right to vote. Brenda Durno, SNP member for Arbroath and East Lunan, has been so inspired by an essay written by her great-grandmother in 1904, she is hoping to donate it to a museum in the north east. The amusing reflection was written in the Doric language by Isabella Moir, a 12-year-old pupil at Belhelvie School in Aberdeenshire. She was the eldest of 10 children and had two sisters and seven brothers. Councillor Durno said: “The celebration for the 100 years since women won the right to vote made me think of the essay. “My great grandmother was born in September 1892 and died in May 1992. “She latterly lived in Potterton with my aunt and uncle who ran the shop there and I found the essay when she died.” Mrs Durno chose to enter local politics in the footstep of her father, the SNP councillor Alex Shand, but admitted her great-grandmother was a Liberal supporter. “She was right into politics and was a great friend of Lord Tweedsmuir - the SNP wasn’t around then.” The essay relates to a conversation between a brother and sister as he reads a newspaper article on ‘The Suffragists’. As he works his way through the article, his views become apparent. He berates the efforts of the “limmers of suffragists” claiming “weemans place is at hame” It reads: “They canna mak an men their men’s sarks, keep a clean fireside an have a vote. “Gie then an inch an they wid tak an ill (mile).” The essay goes on to say there a was a time when women were happy “tae tak the chance o’ the first man that socht them, an thankful tae leave the voting an the rulin o the nation tae him”. It was on February 6, 1918 that women aged over 30, those who owned property or had a university education were granted the right to vote through the Representation of the People Act. Mrs Durno is hoping to donate the essay to a museum which specialises in the Doric and would welcome suggestions as to who to contact.


Award-winning Tayside song writer Eddie Cairney immortalises Queensferry Crossing in tune

October 25 2017

An award-winning Tayside song writer who immortalised the 50th anniversary of the Tay Road Bridge in music last year has released an EP which pays tribute to the newly opened Queensferry Crossing over the Forth. Perth-born Eddie Cairney, 65, who now lives in Arbroath, has released an album called ‘Sketches o' the QC’ which includes songs dedicated to the “isolated” workers who were employed during construction and contrasts the old Forth Road Bridge to the new crossing with its wind shields designed to keep traffic flowing during storms. Eddie, who delayed the release of the album due to family illness and bereavement, said: “It's just another quirky album like I did for the Tay Road Bridge. https://youtu.be/Z6BblA_Zev4 “As you can probably imagine, how do you write six songs about a bridge? “I usually end up using a process of creative journalism. I get a few facts or even just a single fact and then I let my imagination take over. “With each album early on in the writing process I draw a blank and think there's nothing here I can write about but there's always something to write about. “You just have to hang around long enough and it comes eventually. https://youtu.be/a9NyQAFjDsY “I just took threads from here and there. I was going to call the album The Queensferry Crossing but thought that was a bit boring so I went for Sketches o' the Q.C. “It introduces a bit of ambiguity. If you Google the name you get lots of drawings of court scenes!” Eddie was inspired to write Columba Cannon after reading an article about the general foreman for the foundations and towers. https://youtu.be/y_y1y8oV7vo Eddie said: “It was the name that got me and that gave me the first line of the song "He is a bridge builder wi a missionary zeal" Has to be with a name like Columba!” Fishnet bridge was set in a meditative light, describing the bridge as a “thing of beauty that looks like a big fish net glistening high above the Forth but it is a symbolic fishnet with the song taking the form of an imaginary conversation with the bridge.” https://youtu.be/dJgsl2WQ5G0   “Midday starvation came from an article which highlighted the isolation of the workers working high up on the bridge,” he added. https://youtu.be/Dme-bfCXHRI “If you forget your piece you've had it and you starve for there's no nipping round to the corner shop for a pie. The article also said that a local pizza delivery firm regularly delivered a pallet load of warm pizzas to the bridge so that was "midday salvation"! Meanwhile, The boys frae the cheese is a play on words. https://youtu.be/phtQ2-Xx1I0 He added: “I read an article that said The Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA) could have acted sooner and avoided the costly closure of the bridge at the end of 2015.” Eddie is no stranger to music and song influenced by Dundee and wider Scottish history. In 2015 he featured in The Courier for his efforts to put the complete works of Robert Burns to music. With a piano style influenced by Albert Ammons, Champion Jack Dupree and Memphis Slim, and a song-writing style influenced by Matt McGinn, Michael Marra and Randy Newman, the former Perth High School pupil, who wrote the 1984 New Zealand Olympic anthem, has organised a number of projects over the years including the McGonagall Centenary Festival  for Dundee City Council in 2002. Last year’s Tay Road Bridge album included a tribute to 19th century poet William Topas McGonagall and also honoured Hugh Pincott – the first member of the public to cross the Tay Road Bridge in 1966. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y51tixl9GEs Thanks to The Courier, he also became one of the first to cross the Queensferry Crossing  when it opened to the public in the early hours of August 30.