Flat White

Eton mess

13 December 2020

5:00 AM

13 December 2020

5:00 AM

The Duke of Wellington, one of England’s most celebrated and honoured military figures responsible for defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo, is often attributed with the saying the battle was won on the playing fields of Eton”.  A privileged, elitist school serving the sons of the British aristocracy and wealthy class and responsible for educating 20 prime ministers. 

If true, Wellington would be forced to recant as under the current headmaster Simon Henderson, nicknamed ‘Trendy Hendy’ by his students, instead of masculine courage and valour Eton has gained the reputation as one of the most politically correct and Woke institutions in England. 

As well as promoting his school as a vibrant, progressive school willing to innovate Eton’s headmaster recently sacked a teacher for refusing to delete a YouTube lecture in which he criticises feminist misconceptions about masculinity and manhood 

While radical feminists argue masculinity is a social construct enforced by a patriarchal, unjust society the sacked teacher Will Knowland commits the grievous thoughtcrime of arguing, compared to women, men are physically stronger, have a higher body weight and are programmed to be husbands and fathers. 

Instead of endorsing the way boys and men are attacked as misogynist and sexist Knowland also puts a positive case where masculinity is acknowledged and celebrated.  Throughout history men have acted as warriors, defenders of home and hearth and undertaken the most demanding and dangerous physical jobs. 

In opposition to transgender theory where neo-Marxist inspired activists argue sexuality is fluid and dynamic and men who self-identify as women must be allowed to participate in women’s sports Knowland puts the opposite case. 


Similar to the American feminist Camille Paglia and the tennis player Martina Navratilova the Eton teacher argues such is a man’s superior physical strength and body mass that any contest would be unfair and dangerous to women. 

The Eton affair epitomises how cancel culture now dominates and infects public and private debate and how anyone who transgresses is soon victimised, punished and silenced.  Western, liberal societies like the United Kingdom, America, New Zealand, Canada and Australia are no longer places of free speech and open disagreement and debate. 

Much like Putin’s Russia, China under Xi Jiping and other totalitarian regimes throughout history doctrinaire and oppressive mind control and groupthink dominate.  Recent events in Australia offer numerous examples.  Australia’s tennis great Margaret Court and rugby’s Israel Folau are condemned for advocating their Christian beliefs. 

The Barry Humphries’ award is no longer given at the Melbourne Comedy Festival because the comedian questions transgenderism, Australia’s Bettina Arndt is no-platformed for defending masculinity. 

Even worse, academics like Queensland’s Peter Ridd are sacked for questioning the effect of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef, 150 academics at the University of Sydney refuse to endorse establishing a Ramsay Centre Western Civilisation and universities now have safe spaces, trigger warnings and diversity guidelines enforcing cultural-left ideology and groupthink. 

Proven by Will Knowland being sacked from Eton College, anyone who presents a positive view of masculinity is especially targeted as for years now radical feminists have controlled what happens in schools and enforced their myopic and dangerous agenda, 

Australia’s Safe Schools gender fluidity and Respectful Relationships programs champion an ideology where masculine characteristics are always defined as deficits to be overcome.  Boys and men are stereotyped as sexist and misogynist with activists arguing they need to be more in touch with their feminine side.  Boys are also taught it is OK to be transgender as sexuality is simply yet another social construct. 

The curriculum, especially in primary schools, has been feminised in subjects like English and mathematics to positively discriminate in favour of girls and there are even cases of schools banning boys wearing hero costumes and engaging in rough, physical play in the schoolyard. 

As a son who watched his mother being physically abused and hit by his father I’m the first to admit men are capable of violence against women and the evil crimes of domestic abuse and rape are all too common.  It’s also true historically women suffered disadvantage and inequality as society was dominated by men. 

At the same time, women’s equality has been largely achieved in Western societies like Australia where all can vote and be politically active, there is equal pay for equal work and in business and education women enjoy positive discrimination. 

Camille Paglia in her book Free Women Free Men argues against identity politics where women are portrayed as permanent victims.  Paglia, like the teacher sacked from Eton College, also puts a positive view of manhood and goes as far as suggesting “men have every right to claim credit for the vast achievements in conceiving and constructing the entire framework of civilisation”. 

Dr Kevin Donnelly is a Senior Research Officer at the Australian Catholic University and author of How Political Correctness Is Still Destroying Australia(available at kevindonnelly.com.au).

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