We see quite a few football promoters active in politics. In a small series about people who are ‘in politics’ in addition to football, we start with Cock Jol.
Cock, you’ve been away from football for a while, do you still follow it?
Of course, I still follow football, both amateur football and professional football.
You are a teacher, do you see changes in your classes that are reflected in society and therefore also in football?
What I have seen in this time is that many youth players have started to fill in their weekends differently. In recent years, no irregular league matches were played, and there was not even training. But of course, that also applied to other sports. I am concerned about this development. I think the unions and the clubs will certainly notice that.
Incidentally, I must say that I have had a lot of appreciation for our youth. Appreciation for the way in which they have dealt with the situation that has arisen in recent years. I’ve seen that at my school. They adhered very well to the rules assigned to them and also the lessons, which were often provided through Teams, were generally faithfully attended. Of course, my respect also goes out to my colleagues, who had to master various digital matters. Of course, I was one of them. Nevertheless, it is very important that the students can go back to school. They need social contact with their fellow pupils and with their teachers.
Do you still come to clubs? And then when you go to watch a game, where do you go?
Lately, I haven’t been looking physically anymore. Of course, the weather did not invite you to stand along the line. Today the weather is beautiful and probably I will ride my scooter to Quick, because in the last 2 games Quick has won and can come out of the relegation zone if I win.
You show political ambitions for the second time, this time for the VVD. How did your return come about?
I have always been very interested in national and municipal politics. In 2002, as a member of the Political Party Scheveningen, I was already elected on preferential votes and thus came to the City Council of The Hague.
After this instructive period, I entered professional football. In 2014 I came back from London and I started working as a teacher again at my old school the Christian College De Populier. In October 2021, I had a conversation with alderman Anne Mulder at city hall. He asked me if I wanted to be on the VVD’s electoral list for the municipal elections of 2022. I didn’t really have to think about it and I promised.
I thought and think it is a great honor to be a council member in my own city. You can denounce issues and influence issues that are close to the hearts of the citizens. The government must realize that it is there for the citizen and not the other way around. That is very often forgotten. We live in a democracy and as such are elected by the people (demos = people). I believe that too little attention is being paid to the citizens. You see and notice a lot of dissatisfaction among people at the moment. They feel misunderstood.
What kind of politician are you?
I am a liberal-conservative with a social-Christian slant. Nationally, I have always chosen liberal-Christian and I, therefore, think that the VVD suits me best. I am neither extreme right nor extreme left. I love the harmony model. For The Hague, it would be good if there were a coalition with at most 3 parties. That would be good for decision-making. Fragmentation always causes a lot of unrest. I think most people think that way.
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How important is a sport in general for a city like The Hague? What role do you think politics should play when it comes to sports in the Haaglanden region?
I think that the responsible aldermen for Sport in recent decades have invested too little in grassroots sport or top sport. There is a lack of a real sports culture in our city, let alone top sports culture. Our heroes from The Hague, who have delivered top performances, are not pampered and honored for their achievements. Ask our average citizen in The Hague if they can name some current top athletes, then they do not know. In England and Germany, for example, the champions are heroes for life.
In the 80s/90s we had top athletes or top teams in every branch of sport. A.o. Hellas (handball), Ons Eibernest (korfball), KZ or HGC (hockey), Hijs (ice hockey), and so on. The same thing happens with our music heroes. It is a shame that the Museum RockArt is located in Hoek van Holland. We have always been pop city number 1 in the Netherlands. There was no suitable location available!! The then alderman of Culture Van Asten should have done everything in his power in 2019 to find a good, spacious location.
How do you think the municipality acted in the takeover of ADO Den Haag?
I do not want to say anything about the course of events regarding the takeover of ADO. Maybe one thing. A few years ago, an alderman for Sport said that ADO should never again be in the hands of a foreign investor. That only creates problems, he said. Anyway, let’s be happy that ADO has been saved and hopefully will be a good eredivisionist again. That would be great!
Count that you are elected with preferential votes, what would you like to tackle in and for The Hague?
I have several things that I am worried about, but I am not alone in this. In many programs of the various parties, there are practically the same themes. What I have noticed in my many conversations with residents in every neighborhood, is that they are worried about what is happening especially in their own neighborhood or street. The aldermen and councilors need to be more involved with the residents and listen to their stories. Listening to what keeps them busy.
Of course, we cannot solve everything, but I have noticed that a listening ear already removes a lot of resentment. My appeal to those in charge of our city will be to Come out of that “Ice Palace” and go among the people and stop those long meetings. Use the council meetings only to reach a final decision. Use the committee meetings for debate. Be transparent and show that you are there for the citizen. Politics must regain the trust of the people.
Will we ever see you back in football?
No, I will not come back to football, but I will always be interested in this beautiful sport.
Do you want to say something else?
I do hope that the Hague voter will give me his or her vote on 15/16 March, so that I can come to the council on preferential votes. I think I can do something for the inhabitant of The Hague to make our beautiful city even more beautiful.