Where are they now?

2nd March 2001 at 00:00
Famous for her hostility to teacher-trainers and lefties, the 'Battling Baroness' now spends time on good works and bell-ringing

Hasn't she just been in the news?

Yes. She featured in a BBC Everyman programme called "The Dangerous Adventures of Baroness Cox" where, in her role as a board member of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, she was filmed buying slaves in Sudan and freeing them.

Was this a wise strategy?

Depends on who you listen to. Save the Children and Anti-Slavery International accused her of fuelling the trade; but other Christians applauded her.

But what has she to do with education?

She was, and is, a scourge of left-wing educationists. In the Lords she has attacked enemies like the teacher-trainers and multi-faith RE syllabuses.

When did she first make her mark?

With a chap called John Marks in the mid-1970s. The pair were fed up with lefties in their sociology department at North London Poly and wrote a seminal work, The Rape of Reason: the corruption of North London Polytechnic. It impressed Bernard Levin so much he devoted three of his columns in The Times to it.

Then what?

Ennobled by Margaret Thatcher - "out of the blue" - and soon earned the sobriquet "The Battling Baroness". She was a member of the influential right-wingthink tank, the Hillgate Group, with Roger Scruton. In 1989, they urged the government to scrap the teacher training system and replace it with apprenticeships. She also supported Chris McGovern, the traditionalist history teacher, in his war against the GCSE ... you get the idea...

Other interests?

Apart from three children and 10 grandchildren, campanology. Rings the Stedman Triples method, among others. "It is restorative, needs complete concentration and has a sense of timelessness." Chancellor of the University of Bournemouth.

What next?

Is planning her 50th trip to Nagorno Karabakh, the disputed Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan, where Christian Solid-arity Worldwide has a rehabilitation centre; and will carry on visiting refugees in Burma, Indonesia, Russia and, of course, Sudan.

CV

Born 1937, London, to a surgeon and a teacher

1958: Nurse in London

1959: Married Dr Murray Cox, two sons, one daughter. Educated at Channing School; London University, BSC Sociology, 1st Class Hons, 1967

1969-77: Lecturer, then head of sociology, North London Polytechnic 1977-84: Director, Nursing Education Research Unit, Chelsea College, London University

1983: Created Baroness Cox of Queensbury

1986-: A deputy speaker in the House of Lords


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