If you've had a wander round the political blogosphere over the last 24 hours or so, you can't really have missed the new in-your-face advert from the No campaign in the AV referendum. It consists of a picture of a crying newborn baby, followed by the words -
"She needs a maternity unit NOT an alternative voting system. Say NO to spending £250 million on AV."
Now, even if that £250 million figure hadn't been plucked out of thin air (and it was), the words "risible" and "desperate" wouldn't even begin to do this ad justice. For me, all it does is bring home that these people simply haven't got an argument, and are incapable of making a case for the current electoral system on its own merits - or indeed even of making a case against AV on its own shortcomings. But will others (ie. the undecideds) react to the ad in the same way? After the occasional success of previous cynical and misleading campaigns that were similarly born out of desperation - such as the Tories' "Tax Bombshell" ads in 1992 - it's hard to be entirely confident.
But on one point there can be no remaining doubt. If it carries on in this vein, the No campaign thoroughly deserves to be routed in this referendum.