VIOLENCE and verbal abuse against teachers at a new high; English schools outperforming Scottish ones; tens of thousands of pupils in Scotland failing to master basic literacy and numeracy skills by the age of 14: just a few of the headlines in the Scottish press this year.
BACK in the late 1970s, there came a wondrous change in Scotland's landscape. In the explosive growth of personal computers and the internet there appeared before us a vast new glen: Silicon Glen. Our hopes were lifted, as if to some taunting Valhalla. We could see on the outcrops of its upper shoulders the unmistakable gleam of gold, and, through the swirling mists, to deep blue sky beyond.
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WHO can tell exactly when the places of our childhood begin to die? I was born in the Irvine Valley in Ayrshire. Once, it was a string of thriving, happy-go-lucky little towns made famous by lace manufacture.
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