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Eton’s Trendy Hendy must go


I WANT every anti-woke reader set on winning the culture war to call for Eton College’s headmaster, Simon Henderson, to resign with immediate effect.

For those who might have missed it, ‘Trendy Hendy’ sacked English teacher Will Knowland refused to remove a lecture on patriarchy from his personal YouTube channel. You can read more details in this article by TCW’s Chris McGovern here

Am I perpetuating cancel culture? No. It is not cancel culture to remove someone who is not doing their job, namely educating children in productive and healthy debate. It is not cancel culture to remove someone who has himself fired someone for what he perceives as an incorrect view. If you want to call it cancelling, fine. But remember what Karl Popper said:

‘Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.

Trendy Hendy has no defence. Some say he is the victim of a faulty legal system. Apparently, Henderson was responding to a colleague’s spurious invocation of the Equality Act. According to this colleague, Mr Knowland’s lecture could be deemed illegal. Even if this were true, two things are important to note: (1) if the headmaster of Eton College cannot differentiate between a private YouTube channel and Mr Knowland’s actions as an employee, he is either an idiot or a bad faith actor. Since Mr Knowland makes it clear on his YouTube Channel that none of the views he discusses represent his employer, perhaps Trendy Hendy is both: a bad faith idiot. (2) If some leftie lawyer’s legal gymnastics can frame Mr Knowland’s lecture as illegal, I would want Eton’s headmaster to be campaigning against such nonsense, not enabling it.

To paraphrase Douglas Murray speaking of the crybabies at Penguin Random House complaining about having to publish Jordan Peterson’s new book (which will pay all of their salaries for years), get out! You don’t deserve to work in a position where there are plenty of other clever people willing to do it without the vacuous ideological nonsense.

As Toby Young has written, under Trendy Hendy, Eton’s pupils have been lectured to about non-existent gender pay gaps and a woke drama teacher was made ‘Director of Inclusion Education’. That teacher wrote that she would like to see the Black Lives Matter flag flying over the college. You know, that proudly Marxist organisation?

So, Trendy Hendy, we can do without you. After your earlier calls for ‘decolonisation’ and more lip service to ‘systemic racism’ in the wake of George Floyd, we now know we don’t want you. You can write all the letters you want to parents, pretending Eton is open to debate. I have worked in teaching long enough to know that pole-climbers like you will say whatever they must to stay in their role. But you’ve been rumbled. Pack your bags and find a liberal arts college in America, rather than indoctrinating Britain’s youth.

You might wonder why it is worth taking such an interest in the bastion of privilege that is Eton College. To my surprise, this is a question which has repeatedly popped up in the comment sections of publications you would have thought had a strong anti-woke readership. It is rather simple. If the most traditional of institutions cannot defend itself against such spurious invocation of the Equality Act, we should be worried. Eton is a canary in the coalmine. Will Knowland must be reinstated immediately. Any staff members at Eton who disagree should resign with immediate effect.

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Matt Archer
Matt Archer
Matt Archer teaches philosophy, theology, psychology, sociology, and politics. He’s a freelance writer and tweets as @mattarcher91.

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