Kenneth Watkins

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Kenneth William Watkins was a British academic generally known as K.W. Watkins. He was active on the far right of British politics during the 1970s.

He was a member of the study group behind a report published in 1977 by the intelligence connected Institute for the Study of Conflict alleging a Marxist penetration into British academia. [1] Considering the ideological orientation of the study group, The Observer commented that: ‘The study group seems to believe with Professor Hayek and his disciple, Sir Keith Joseph, that true liberty is possible only in a capitalist, free market civilisation.’ [2] The Times reported the report’s findings that: ‘radical minorities...often disagreed with each other, but they had a common distaste, bordering at times upon sheer hatred for the liberal, tolerant society in which they moved.’ [3] The Times published extracts of the report, but also criticised it as having an ‘alarmist tone which goes beyond his evidence.’ [4]

Watkins was also a founder member of the National Association for Freedom, a far right pressure group which was formed in 1975. [5] In 1978 he edited a book entitled In Defence of Freedom, which included a contribution from the director of the National Association for Freedom, Robert Moss. [6]


  1. ‘Gould report calls for rebuttal of attacks on education in Britain by extreme radicals’, The Times, 21 September 1977; p.4; Issue 60114; col A
  2. Bernard Crick, ‘Red sails on the campus’, The Observer, 25 September 1977
  3. 'Marxists attacking education', The Times, Wednesday, Sep 21, 1977; pg. 1; Issue 60114; col E
  4. ’The Enemies of Liberty’, The Times, 21 September 1977; pg. 15; Issue 60114; col A
  5. Philip Jordan, 'McWhirter 'freedom' memorial', Guardian, 3 December 1975
  6. K.W. Watkins (ed.), In Defence of Freedom (London: Cassell, 1978)