In a petition supporting Mr Knowland, they say: ‘Young men and their views are formed in the meeting and conflict of ideas… which necessarily entails controversy and spirited discussion.’
Mr Knowland, they add, ‘is loved by all who have encountered him’ and the students ‘feel morally bound not to be bystanders in what appears to be an instance of institutional bullying’.
It’s a plea of such erudition that any English teacher, not just one in a politically correct pickle, would be delighted to know his students had written. It may not, however, be sufficient to save him.
‘Eton has been here for almost 600 years,’ said one source close to the conflict. ‘And this is a battle for its very soul. Cancel culture has arrived with cult groupthink reaching right into the heart of the school. It’s meant to be a bastion of learning and free speech. George Orwell went to Eton. What would he think? 1984 was meant to be satire, not a how-to manual.’