Earnshaw Palmer posted the following on the Lib-Dem online discussion list. I felt this is worth a wider audience as there are some valid point here.
The recent events have placed the Liberal Democrats in the limelight and we should welcome the publicity that we have received.
There are three things that we should achieve.
a) The debate for a new leader must not be put on hold. The reason is that it will give us new impetus and more media coverage (publicity! publicity! publicity!) and this will slow down the advances that Cameron. Moreover, the analysis of David Cameron’s 100 days as party leader will not be relevant as the Lib Dems leadership elections will be dominate the media and will be the talk of the town.
Federal Executive must not hasten the contest so that we have the election concluded before the spring party conference. The spring party conference must be used as a platform to showcase our candidates and the diverse stands of liberalism that we as a party embrace.
We must have a new leader just after Easter so he has enough press coverage before the May elections and this will nullify any policy pronouncements that the Tories have.
The Lib Dems would be the most dominant party in the media in the run up to the local elections.
The New Leader can then assert his/her authority by focusing on Liberal Values, Liberal principles, integrity in politics and the future direction of the party.
He/she will need to highlight the failures of both parties and what we have to offer as an alternative. (who we are, what we stand for and what is it in it for Joe Public)
We can also use the opportunity to demonstrate how Liberal Values and polices have shaped the changes in 21st Century Britain. These are the areas we have territorial advantage and undoubtedly will reinvigorate Lib Dem appeal.
We need to emphasize the importance, relevance and universality of Liberalism in Britain today and this has to be the task of our new leader. Continuity of core beliefs and principles in a new direction and with new impetus.
b) Sir Menzies must not be a coronation candidate. He must be challenged. Paper candidate or not! We have already washed our dirty linings in public it is now time to display our fineries. An open and philosophical debate must be an integral part of the leadership election process. This will broaden our appeal and we cannot afford to miss out on this golden opportunity, given the fact that media interest will be focused on us and acres of publicity that the election will generate.
c) We must now address as a matter of urgency the fundamental issue of the processes to be instituted in the removal of the party leader. This is a salutary lesson we need to learn from.