Adam Van Coevorden
Cheltenham born Adam Van Coevorden is running this year for his first time hoping to be successful in taking a parliamentary seat for the Green Party. Growing up in Cheltenham and coming from a single parent family having lived on a council estate, Adam witnessed the ‘two sides of Cheltenham’ and now wants justice and equality between those of different social classes - not just in Cheltenham but the UK as a whole. He believes that society is evolving fast. The economy is getting stronger and Adam feels like some people are getting ‘left behind’. This is something that he and his party want to reduce; he feels that everyone should be at ‘the same level’.
Universities, tuition fees and the lack of jobs in Cheltenham for graduates were the first topics of conversation. Adam said that the system is ‘like a conveyer belt’, there seems to be a pressure for people to go on to higher education and university, a route which many people cannot afford. Therefore he proposed the idea of getting rid of the high tuition fees and instead replacing them with citizen income. Adam also suggested putting less pressure on young people to go straight into university after A-levels, and to encourage people at any time during adulthood to go to university. He also mentioned that there should be a greater push on apprenticeships, as university is not for everyone and people should not be made to feel as if they have to go. To create more jobs within Cheltenham he said that we should put our efforts into making Cheltenham a ‘technological hub’. This could only happen if we improved transport links to the town, through improvements to our train station and by creating a tunnel at the A417.
Adam told us that he believes the proposed potential cut backs to the amount of troops on the ground is a decision with ‘rationale behind it’, as the armed forces need to be made fit for the 21st Century. He said ‘wars are fought differently from what they were in the past, it is no longer just troops on the ground fighting, it’s fought through intelligence, therefore we need to invest more into our intelligence service than troops on the ground.’
When asked about whether or not he thought the closure of Cheltenham’s A&E was a good idea, he commented that it was something of a ‘massive worry’ to him. He went on to say ‘it is adding too much crucial time’. Therefore, if he was to be elected in May, he would campaign to reopen the A&E back to the original hours. When questioned further about whether this is more evidence of the privatisation of the NHS, he said that he is ‘completely against’ the idea of any privatisation and believes that this is what is causing fragmentation in the system, as going private is stopping doctors from wanting to work in the A&E department.
Speaking about immigration policies in the UK, Adam said that he wants a referendum ‘in theory’, but ultimately wants to stay a part of the EU, actually stating that ‘there are more English in foreign countries claiming benefits, than those from foreign countries in England claiming benefits’; meaning that we should not stop people from entering the UK, on the basis that they are claiming too much from the benefit system. Then he mentioned that ‘we do not need a cap’ on immigration, as we are ‘not full up yet’. Adam also was against the idea of having a points system like in Australia as its ‘dispassionate’ and a ‘ridiculous idea’ to treat people in this ‘inhuman’ manner over entering a country.
By Charis Pardoe