As we gallop towards voting on May 5th the thing that most strikes me about the AV campaigns is not just the feebleness of both campaigns but that if these were ads for anything except how to run the country they would be illegal.
The "No" campaign is feeble in crass and obvious ways. Fronted on TV by a fictitious politician from the last century (not David Cameron, boom boom), its core arguments appear to revolve around the expense (there is none), the complexity (which depends on explaining AV disingenuously badly to a classroom of obligingly dim-witted straw men) and the unfairness of second or third choice candidates coming first. I gather this really is, very occasionally, mathematically possible under AV, and would if we adopted it occur on average about once per century. It is not significant.
Neither side has covered itself in glory - at best, the Yes campaign has confined itself to exposing rather than spreading misapprehensions. The element of the campaign that fascinates me is one that always does so during these very infrequent intervals at which we are invited to participate in the government of the country. There are endless agencies and quangoes set up to inform and protect us in our choices as consumers. The FSA, for example, prevents banks selling insurance or pensions in the confusing and deliberately misleading way that the Prime Minister's party is trying to sell us a no vote. The ASA prevents eg car manufacturers and phone companies from making false claims merely to part me from my money. The Food Standards Agency requires supermarkets to label their products accurately. It is peculiar indeed that deciding how to run the country is the one area in which we are still trusted to make our own decisions purely on the basis of whatever tapestry of lies we are presented with, and more peculiar still that these are apparently the only category of ads in which there is no consequence - except, perhaps, victory - for publishing utter fiction.