Author Archives: Nicholas Belfitt

Party changes we need now – or it could be “game over”

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Being a Liberal Democrat member since 2014, I have unfortunately seen the complete collapse of the Liberal Democrats in respect of having any real continuous identity.

Our “identity” today is a remembrance of the broken Brexit movement, and, like most voters, it is questionable to say what the Liberal Democrats really stand for apart from bitterness.

Yes, we did do very well in terms of our opposition to Brexit and I, like many others, fought hard for us to Remain. But Brexit itself, as an argument, is finished. And it’s time for the Liberal Democrats to go through a series of real reforms to produce something which our next leader must push.

Our new leader of the party has to be somebody who is strong and who is willing to put through needed, long-lasting reforms. These reforms, whilst many, can be summarised by coming from three different areas – policy, branding and local parties.

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Why the Liberalisle is taking off on the Isle of Wight


Many in the UK who would drive down to Portsmouth will often think that going any further south would take you to France and the lands beyond. However, just off the coast there exists a place that for a long time has been off the Lib Dems’ map. An ancient Isle that once in the 1970s held one of  the only Liberal lights in the country, but now for over 15 years has been swallowed by a blue fog as thick as the ocean itself.  The once golden yellow beaches lie empty and cold.

Why would a Tory stronghold, with a social conservative view so strong you could mistake it for the back bench of the party itself, ever be the place of any Liberal rival? Yet could this be the beginning of a Liberal fight back.

Ever since I became the Vice-chair of the local party I wanted to try to be optimistic and passionate about the chance to make change. I wanted to try and show how we can inspire by directly questioning the norm. For some in and out of the party this may be seen as nonsense, it may be seen as crazy. Yet at one time so was the notion of the Liberals ever being in power.

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Tim’s pick a ward and win it – how that’s part of the Isle of Wight’s #libdemfightback

Nicholas Belfitt winning hereIn June last year I attended a small event in Guildford in the run-up to the leadership election where I was lucky to meet Tim Farron. He  made a great speech which, as always was both thorough and entertaining. But it was in the end what he said that began to push me to believe in the Lib Dems. Pick a ward and win it.

No words have been so strong for me. After the event it was all I could think about for weeks and weeks during which time I returned  home to the Isle of Wight. I had always dreamed of being able to be involved, but like many young liberals I thought that caution and moving through groups such as the Liberal Youth were the formats in which make  progress. But I could not get that line out of my head.

I began to be involved in my local party and before I knew it I was swiftly elected Vice-Chair. ME? At 22? The only experience I had of campaigning was under Kelly-Marie Blundell in her Guildford campaign, but I had no training or preparation.  

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Opinion: Tim Farron’s Gut Liberalism


Last week I was on the train heading up to Guildford for a special opportunity to meet Tim Farron, potential leader of the Lib Dems. As I travelled I was nervous as any young party member would be. I was about to meet my first real big name in politics, someone who had taken his place in Parliament, someone who had sat on BBC Question Time, someone who had played the political game against numerous reds and blues. But what I did not expect was the passion I was going to feel after this meeting.

Tim spoke as he did a few days later after winning the candidacy about a new type of liberalism he wanted to introduce. This new type of liberalism was less a theoretical frame work but more an emotion and rejuvenation of what being Liberal meant. He coined this new experience, Gut Liberalism.

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Recent Comments

  • Alex Macfie
    @Peter Martin: No-one was saying that at all, except maybe @Adam who is relying on BtL comments on news articles which cannot be taken as representative of anyt...
  • Peter Martin
    @ Chris, Adam and David, So can we all agree (except perhaps Alex ) that being in favour of the EU does require uncritical support? This is a big problem...
  • Alex Macfie
    @Adam: I rarely read BtL comments in newspaper articles as they tend not to be representative of public opinion. All I can say is that such opinions as you have...
  • Adam
    "Given the avalanche of unending and captious criticism of the EU from the pro-Brexiteer nationalist establishment prior to Brexit, it’s scarcely surprising t...
  • David Allen
    Peter Martin, "In practice, we seldom, if ever, see any criticism of the EU from its supporters." Yeah, yeah, yeah. When the Tories make a political broa...