Media

The battle for Eton’s soul

Will Knowland is a member of the Free Speech Union and I share his view that the purpose of a good education is to equip students with the knowledge and skills to make up their own minds about important issues, not to spoon-feed them ‘correct’ opinions. As he wrote in his letter, if we prioritise emotional safety over intellectual challenge and censor any views that might make students or teachers feel uncomfortable, we will sacrifice one of the most valuable things about education, which is introducing children to new worlds, expanding their horizons and helping them transcend the narrow confines of their everyday lives. It should not be about affirming children’s sense of identity as members of various ethnic and religious groups, and forcing them to tread on eggshells lest they offend someone with a ‘protected’ characteristic.

Toby Young, The Spectator, 5th December 2020.

Censorship of vaccine-skeptic conversations will backfire, Free Speech Union says

[FSU Research Director Radomir] Tylecote takes issue with the argument behind these demands that says the British public must be “mentally inoculated” and that censorship would provide for this “inoculation.” On the contrary, he says, preventing free exchange of information would result in a “mental quarantine.”

Didi Rankovic, Reclaim the Net, 3rd December 2020.

Eton Embraces Black Lives Matter, Gay Pride and Third Wave Feminism

Meanwhile, Toby Young – whose Free Speech Union is currently defending the rights of Will Knowland, the Eton teacher sacked for daring to question the school’s woke “toxic masculinity” agenda – reports of further horrors inflicted on the school by its dripping wet Head Master Simon “Trendy Hendy” Henderson.

James Delingpole, Breitbart, 3rd December 2020.

“Trendy Hendy” under fire for taking Eton in “aggressively woke” direction

Toby Young, general secretary of the Free Speech Union which is supporting Mr Knowland, said: “The reason the headmaster is losing the confidence of the staff and  the boys isn’t because they’re hard right reactionaries who’ll die in a ditch to defend every last tradition. They just don’t think the headmaster should be trying to impose woke ideology on the school and punishing anyone who dissents from it. Eton of all places should be encouraging its pupils to think for themselves, not shoving politically correct views down their throats.”

Camilla Turner, The Daily Telegraph, 1st December 2020.

“It’s not about free speech… it’s about discipline”: Eton College’s provost defends “Trendy Hendy” head for sacking teacher who “six times” refused to take down video of “sexist” lecture – as 1,000 petition to reinstate him

Mr Knowland will have the support of the Free Speech Union, whose founder Toby Young said: ‘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.”

Richard Marsden, Sarah Harris and Ross Ibbetson, The Daily Mail, 29th November 2020.

Cancel Mob Attacks U Chicago Geophysicist Dorian Abbot For Questioning Diversity Hiring Dogma

The London-based Free Speech Union, issued a letter of support. “Acquiescing to the signatories’ demands would only exacerbate the climate of fear that Prof Abbot describes, and which countless other academics have also noted. That other University of Chicago faculty have corroborated Prof Abbot’s claims regarding this climate of intolerance – but are afraid to express their support for him publicly – means that the University of Chicago is already failing to uphold its cherished Principles.”

William A Jacobson, Legal Insurrection, 29th November 2020.

Eton provost will not rule on Master’s dismissal after backing Headmaster in free speech row

Toby Young, general secretary of the Free Speech Union which is supporting Mr Knowland, said that the case “is and always has been about free speech”. He added that the dispute is over the purpose of a good education and whether it is to “equip children with the knowledge and skills to think through the big questions facing our society or to just teach them the ‘correct’ view”.

Camilla Turner, The Daily Telegraph, 30th November 2020.

Eton students turn on headmaster over teacher’s dismissal

Douglas Murray, an old Etonian […] told The Telegraph that Eton had “discredited” itself by failing to allow the free exchange of ideas between students and lecturers. “The main thing is that the prerequisite for a good education is to make the students in your care think and there’s no sure-fire way of doing it but the best way is to introduce them to ideas they otherwise wouldn’t or haven’t encountered – as far as I can see, this teacher was merely doing that,” he said.

Camilla Turner, Phoebe Southworth and Christopher Hope, The Daily Telegraph, 28th November 2020.

800 Etonians revolt after teacher is sacked for questioning radical feminist dogma on “toxic masculinity” as war on woke hits Britain’s top school

His appeal will be heard on Founder’s Day, December 8, by a panel chaired by former Cabinet Minister Lord Waldegrave, himself an Old Etonian. Mr Knowland will have the support of the Free Speech Union, whose founder Toby Young said: “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.”

Sarah Oliver, The Mail on Sunday, 29th November 2020.