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huffingtonpost - 10 days ago

Why This Ex-Soldier And Environment Activist Is Standing For Farage s Brexit Party

It s the most frighting decision I have ever made in my life, James Glancy says. More frightening than joining the Royal Marines. More frightening than going on operations with Special Forces. More frightening than going into combat. The 36-year-old former soldier and dedicated environmentalist, frustrated at Theresa May s failure to lead the UK out of the EU on March 29, made the decision to stand for election to the European Parliament for The Brexit Party after a bottle of red wine .Glancy, who now hosts Discovery Channel s Shark Week, was unprepared for what happened next.Nigel Farage s new party is only one month old. But polls suggest it is on course to win the elections on May 23. Things have evolved so bloody quickly, Glancy says. I thought this would be more like standing in a council election. I didn t realise this was going to blow up into a national phenomenon almost like another referendum. I wasn t expecting to be a headline in MailOnline when I was announced, he adds. I thought I could get into this, say my piece, stand up for what I believe in relatively quietly but without it becoming a national thing. Recruited to stand in the South West by party chairman Richard Tice, Glancy was unveiled as one of its star candidates. The party put my face out on a leaflet so it s turned me political and put me in the public eye, he says.Glancy is speaking to HuffPost UK in London shortly before he flies to Gibraltar, which is part of the South West for the purposes of the election, to campaign.He says the 2016 referendum result was the outlet for frustrations that had been brewing beneath the surface for years. There was not enough national soul searching after the 2008 financial crash, the 2009 expenses scandal and two wars which have been forgotten about but no one has been held accountable for , he says. What I expected to happen was Europe to turn around and offer us a bloody good deal, he says. I have been shocked. They have seen it as way to punish us. For Glancy, the goal of standing in the European elections is to hit MPs who have failed to deliver Brexit with a shockwave: He says Westminster needs to think about what democratic accountability means and negotiate hard for a better deal than we ve got and to take us out of the EU . We are going to need a general election to solve this. That s what I think needs to happen, he says.Farage has made clear he has big ambitions for his party, which is already advertising for general election candidates. It will fight the Peterborough by-election in June. And the former Ukip leader, who has tried but failed to get elected to parliament seven times, has said it is his duty to seek a seat in the Commons.But Glancy is not interested. I m not going to stand in the general election, he says.The Brexit Party does not have a manifesto for the elections. To be fair, neither does the Conservative Party, and Glancy is unapologetic. First of all, people don t understand there s no point having a manifesto for the European Parliament because you re not the executive and you don t initiate legislation. That s done from the Commission, he says. It s credible to be a single issue party for this election alone because we should be leaving. I am getting a lot of flak for that. But I think it s fair enough to say we believe in democracy and we shouldn t be fighting these. But we are going to use these as an opinion poll. A barometer. He adds: I am standing as a protest. I personally got involved to send a message to Westminster. To stand up for people who are not racists, who do believe this country can be a successful and independent democracy, but have a strong relationship with the EU and the rest of the world. I am just standing up for the right to have voted to Leave and be respected for that. And to put pressure on parliament. But Westminster is deadlocked. And there is pressure from pro-Remain campaigners for another referendum. We have had a referendum which was a People s Vote. The people voted, he says.But he is in favour of giving the public another say once they have seen what Brexit is like. We haven t actually left to give it a go. Because let s be honest, no one can actually know the future. It could be a complete disaster. It could be a complete success. Or more than likely, it will be just fine. We will be just fine, he says. I think there should be another referendum in ten to fifteen years time. For the younger generation to assess, if the EU is going strong, should we rejoin. I think actually democracy is an evolving process. It is but we ve got to give it a go. He adds: Then really in ten, fifteen, whatever years time, it would be the right thing to do if people want to have a referendum. The Brexit Party is working hard to shake off the far-right Ukip image. Glancy found it a shame that much of the 2016 referendum focused on immigration. But surely much of that was driven by Farage - his party leader. It was yeah, he concedes. This is the part of politics that is uncomfortable because you have to be a bit of a mercenary don t you, to win. I am just not interested. I am more interested in if we can we vote for and get rid of our politicians. I ve got Scottish and Irish-Catholic roots. I m not a through-and-through Englishman. I was the only one not to wear, on St George s Day, the rose at the candidate announcement. I don t feel massively English, I sound it, but I ve got such a varied immigrant history, he says.Glancy is speaking to HuffPost UK two days after Farage complained about being asked questions on the BBC s Andrew Marr Show about his previous policy positions - including whether he stood by his infamous breaking point migration poster. I think Nigel Farage has realised that campaign had become toxic. You can see he is still being questioned about it, Glancy says.He argues The Brexit Party is different. He says it is closer to the eurosceptic roots of the 1990s Referendum Party that wasn t talking about immigration but instead was solely focused on British democracy . This is not Ukip, he adds. Ukip has gone to the right and become a bit more like the BNP with some of its horrible elements. It s died as a result of that. Given Glancy is currently fighting on a single-issue, Brexit, does he care what party actually leads the UK out of the EU as the government? I have voted Lib Dem, Labour and Conservative, he says. This time round there is no way I could vote for Jeremy Corbyn. It is appalling, the anti-Semitism. And Momentum, I have no time for their position. There are some decent people in the Labour Party, however. But those voices have got quieter. You would be hard pressed to vote for the Tories at the moment with the current leadership. The Lib Dems, actually I have a lot of consensus with some of their policies. But they are a hardcore-Remain party. He jokes: They are ripe for takeover aren t they from a former SBS. It s happened before. I did actually think if they weren t Remainers I would be happy to go and lead them. Do I have a preference? In my modern voting history it would be Conservative. But obviously if The Brexit Party stands I owe them loyalty now. Some Tory MPs have floated the idea of an electoral pact between The Brexit Party and the Conservatives. I don t know what the official line is on that, Glancy says. I am new to politics and I probably shouldn t be so open, but I can see merits in that. I would never forgive myself if I was the cause of Corbyn and the SNP getting in and then a referendum in Scotland that split up the UK and then we remain in the EU. As an environmentalist who is broadly in favour of the Extinction Rebellion protest, Glancy says 90% of the people he works with voted Remain.He worries that as a Brexiteer am I going to end up being unemployed or become a pariah just for exercising my freedom of speech? I really, really am scared. But I thought I have to stand up for people who think like me. It takes a lot to stand. It s the same as getting in the boxing ring. People said even if you lose, a lot of people won t get in the ring. This is perfect for me. The expeditionary phase. That s what I did in the military. I was always out there first taking risks. When things get a bit more regulated it s boring. I feel like while I am young and fit I want to go and fight for the environment. I am working on conservation projects in Africa. I love doing that. I ve got ADHD. I find it really had to work in a structured system anyway. He adds: I might come back to politics properly in five to ten years. Related... 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