Ummm... gosh... I'll admit to a degree of surprise at the result, which was way beyond my very conservative hopes.
That said, I believe that it demonstrates what can happen if you combine a genuinely credible candidate with a great campaign team, a believable manifesto and a clear long-term strategy executed precisely and consistently. It doesn't always result in victory - life isn't fair like that - but it does make it more likely.
The members have been fortunate in having three very distinctive candidates to choose from, and each has put forward their case vigorously and with passion. From a personal perspective, I have been intrigued by the campaigning strategies employed, as this is not something I've had much personal experience of, and it has been interesting to read the comments from across the blogosphere as to their effectiveness.
The perspective gained from not being the Returning Officer has been fascinating, and seeing how our processes work from the viewpoint of a candidate, an agent and a campaign team has been a revelation. I sense that we need to be, occasionally, more aware of the fact that anyone who puts their name forward to contest a high profile internal election is putting their ego up for examination.
Perhaps it isn't entirely necessary to resort to anonymous abuse (I'm uncomfortable enough about the attributed abuse but it is at least transparent), as such behaviour reflects badly upon us as Liberal Democrats and as individuals. On the other hand, robust, constructive criticism of ideas is the lifeblood of any such contest, and the fact that we have the freedom and the space (via Lib Dem Blogs and Liberal Democrat Voice) to do that has been one of the biggest pluses of the election itself.
And whilst I'll doubtless have more thoughts as the coming days unfold, perhaps it's time to try to sleep...