In terms of widening their appeal and having a young vibrant leader that could face the threat of David Cameron head on, the Lib Dems should have chosen Chris Huhne (21,628 votes) as their leader. Not only did he espouse clear policies on the environment and tax that could have won support, he came across much more competent and also better in terms of media image.
Instead they have chosen Ming Campbell (29,697 votes), who is a 'safe' pair of hands and has 'gravitas'! For 'safe' read boring and for 'gravitas' read old. So the party membership have chosen to tread water for the next election with a 'caretaker' and old boring leader. Simon Hughes was a distant third (12,081) in the election.
As it happens, choosing Ming might not make much difference. The Lib Dems can afford to lose a few seats and still be in the pivotal position in a hung parliament. Having a nonentity as leader seems to help the Lib Dems, in fact given the Dunfermline result, perhaps they shouldn't bother with a leader at all.
The good thing about Ming is, at least he outlined his position on proportional representation, and if the Lib Dems are worth anything, this is the one policy that would make a difference. Ming has announced he would force an election rather than back a party that didn't have PR in its programme.
"If anyone is tasked by the Queen to form a government and produce a Queen's Speech in the House of Commons, which does not contain proposals for electoral reform, then I would take my Liberal Democrat colleagues into the lobby against that Queen's Speech and, yes, if necessary precipitate a second general election,"
The only problem with this statement is that it might not play well with Tory/Lib waverers who will realise that only Labour would promise PR. Even after 3 election defeats, the Tories won't even consider it. Not a single Tory MP is in favour, compared to over a 100 Labour MPs.