Before the Ming stood down we had the same old problem that we had had for many years. A complete lack of knowledge by the general public of anyone on our front bench. Aside from Ming and Charles Kennedy, only the politically interested could name any other Lib Dem front benchers. This has started to change.
Firstly, Vince Cable has stepped up to the mark, gained good publicity for his expert knowledge on Northern Rock and for the way he highlighted Gordon Brown's Mr Bean qualities. Take with the knowledge now that Vince also wants to have a go at Strictly Come Dancing, he now has a profile with the press and is known about and respected by the public too.
Then there are the leadership contenders themselves. Who ever wins will obviously have a higher profile, but we can also take it as read that the loser too will have a very high profile too and will be labelled in peoples minds as a senior Lib Dem and will be someone who is recognised and known about.
Aside from the contenders and the stand ins, the leadership election as also given lots of our MP's the chance to have their say in their local press and in the national press too. This has further boosted the name recognition of Sarah Teather, Lynne Featherstone, Steve Webb, Norman Lamb, Julia Goldsworthy, David Laws and other Lib Dems who fall in to the category of getting stuff regularly in the press, but do not yet have a national profile. Whilst the leadership election has been on the press have been much keener to run Lib Dem related stories, which has helped our MP's and our opinion poll ratings too.
Then we have the old hands in the party. Charles Kennedy must be set for a return to the Lib Dem front bench and despite the fact that he was ill suited to leadership, Ming has a real talent for foreign affairs which should not be wasted. With Simon Hughes also remaining a recognisable face, we do, as a party, boast probably our most recognised and heavyweight (not in the Sir Cyril Smith sense) front bench in the Liberal Democrats history. This is another great thing for our leader to inherit.