Eton College. Taken from a safe distance
Quite apart from the thought that, had it been a council-run school in Liverpool, Sheffield, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, or indeed Crewe, not even the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press would have given a damn, the fact that, once again, the FREEZE PEACH brigade has been triggered should make journalists tread very carefully indeed.
The facts, as far as they can be ascertained without all the loaded and emotive language that the Mail titles have trowelled on for effect, are these: Will Knowland, who has taught English at Eton for nine years, put together a video lesson for pupils called “The Patriarchy Paradox”. It dealt with the issues of masculinity, and what was called “feminist orthodoxy”.
The lesson was shown to other teachers before going live on the college’s Intranet, and there was a complaint. So it did not go live. However, as the Mail has admitted, “Mr Knowland said it was removed but a fallout ensued when he would not take it off his personal YouTube channel due to 'free speech', which led to him being sacked”.
Also, as the Mail on Sunday, which has taken up the cudgels on Knowland’s behalf, admits, that personal YouTube channel “he runs with the permission of Eton”. The MoS also admits that Knowland stands to lose not only his job, but also a grace and favour house occupied by himself and his family, and possibly to be professionally censured.
That means what happened may well be serious. Instead, we have terrorist sympathiser Claire Fox declaring “This letter/petition from Eton pupils to their headmaster, challenging the sacking of one of their teachers for a filmed lecture containing ideas that were deemed intolerable, is a masterclass in rigorous critical thinking. The pupils have my full support”.
Self-promoting TalkRADIO host Julia Hartley Dooda, she of pandemic denial, added “It's high time for everyone to stand up against the censorship of free expression - and even more so in schools”. The loathsome Toby Young has droned “This is a landmark case … Schools must be places where children are taught all sides of these big questions and allowed to make up their own minds, not indoctrinated with the latest political orthodoxy”.
And we have the MoS thundering “It's said that the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton. Two centuries later, Britain's most venerable school has become a battleground in the War on Woke”, and quoting a “source” claiming “Will Knowland essentially challenged this woke ethos … that if it gets out that Eton is teaching a course saying masculinity isn't toxic, it will be used by a woke mob to criticise the school”.
What we do not have is a little less pejorative language, and a little more on what actually happened. And in any case, it’s only news because it’s Eton. And something right-wing. Had a teacher been sacked for teaching something lefty, that would have been OK.
It’s not about FREEZE PEACH. It’s about right-wing hypocrisy. I’ll just leave that one there.
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