September sees the start of another academic year, in much of England, Wales, and Ireland. In Scotland and some parts of England, you have been hard at it for a couple of weeks now. In Germany they start a week today (10th September). September seems an odd time to start, but it was all about bringing the harvest in when much of Europe was an agricultural economy centuries ago. It has always been done this way, and, I suspect, always will.
Whether you are starting out on your A-level course, or coming back to your second year, I hope you will find this academic year rewarding for you. If you are studying in England, as most of you will be, you don't have AS and A2 as such. This means that you have to answer questions from both the first and second years in your A-level course. That said, many schools and colleges will get their first year students to sit the AS exam, and passing it will allow students to progress to the second year, or stop Physics with an AS qualification. In Wales and Northern Ireland, the AS and A2 years are as they were before. If your school (in England) uses the Welsh Board, their exams are called Eduqas and comply with the English pattern. The content of both Eduqas and Welsh Board syllabuses in Physics is identical, just the order for the A-level year in Eduqas is slightly different.
If in doubt about this, ask your tutor.
I have mapped the site with the various syllabuses. I have completed AQA, Edexcel, OCR, Welsh Board, Eduqas, SQA (National 5, Higher, and Advanced Higher), Northern Irish Board, and Irish Board. I have had to put extra content to support students of particular boards. Not all the boards have the same content. I intend to do the same for the Cambridge International Examinations, the Cambridge Pre-U and International Baccalaureate. I have the Pre-U syllabus, but I cannot find an official IB syllabus. If anyone has one, please contact me.
It has been reported in a number of places that the mental health of these islands has deteriorated since the Brexit vote in 2016. I can quite believe it. I wake up in the early hours and have to toddle to the bathroom. It's an age thing, you know, and you will be doing the same yourself some time in the future. Then when I get back to bed, I feel this horrible sense of foreboding about the future of our country. The picture below still seems to sum up the future.
The Brexit dividend is now coming into being. The latest I hear is that Panasonic is withdrawing its European headquarters, with the loss of many British jobs. The European Medicines Agency is leaving, with the loss of many skilled jobs. Not a huge number if you consider the whole population, but a massive blow to each and every family. These are skilled jobs and to get another job of similar standing will not be easy. The litany will go on and on in the next few months.
I have come to the unpleasant conclusion that we are seeing a slow motion coup from members of the far-right of the Conservative Party. The whole exercise of Brexit is being carried out not in the interests of the country, but for the interests of the Conservative Party, the Democratic Unionist Party, and the United Kingdom Independence Party. What a price to pay.
How many Brexit voters ever voted to lose their jobs and reduce the life chances of their children and grandchildren? It was, as I has said repeatedly, a scam.
Why don't we ever learn?
As I sit here on Monday 3rd September, I can't help but reflect that this time seventy-nine years ago, The Right Honourable Arthur Neville Chamberlain (1869 - 1940) declared in solemn tones, "... I now have to tell you that Britain is at war with Germany."
There was nothing to be nostalgic about those terrible times that started on that long-distant Sunday. My late parents had their own grandstand views of the blitz. My father was on a ship that was sunk by a torpedo from a U-boat. Many suffered more, and young people, little older than you, died in their droves - not just from these islands and the empire (as it was then), but from all over Europe. It took a superhuman effort to break and crush a cruel war machine which caused untold suffering and misery wherever it went.
And one hundred years ago, another cataclysmic conflict was reaching its end-game. And we will mark its end on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day.
We need to remember that the European Union was conceived by Winston Churchill, a Conservative, who remains a hero in our national psyche - a very flawed hero. A hero whose life was blighted by war and the fear and terror that any conflict brings. Jean Monet was a protégé of Churchill's from the Fall of France in 1940 until 1945. He was the architect of the EU.
Both these men were the antidote to the appalling nationalism that set the seeds for the Great War and its loathsome offspring.
Now we have have nationalistic stirrers like Stephen Kevin Bannon and Nigel Paul Farage who love to travel about the world stirring up discontent and xenophobia. There is another word I would use, but not in a page that is to be read within a family!
What antidotes do we have? Baroness Mayhem of Wheatfields? Or that septuagenarian armchair revolutionary with his teenage Marxism - the submarine "leader" of the Labour Party - the humourless and bad-tempered dullard that is the best asset that Conservative Party has had for years?
I did not agree with the late Senator John McCain view of politics; I was glad when the cerebral and gentle Barack Obama was elected. However, as a young man, Mr McCain had to do the dirty work for a previous President of the United State. He landed in the wrong hands and torture became his lot for seven years. He even declined the possibility for a special release, preferring to let others go before him. He was a man who put others first. This is in total contrast to the forty-fifth President who stated that "he prefers heroes that didn't get captured". Trump's lack of grace and humility in this matter show the kind of coarse, vulgar, and loathsome man he is.
Surely most Brexit voters didn't want us to be sold out to him?
If you are reading this in Europe, I would ask you to apologise on behalf the 48 % of the voters who voted to Remain. I feel so ashamed to be a Brit. We are not all xenophobic island monkeys.
Until the next time I saddle up my high horse, enjoy and good luck. I hope you do well.