Were the virtues of AV talked up? Not really.
Was the trouble with the current system explained? Not to me.
Did the the 'Yes' campaign, such as it is, concentrate on celebrity endorsement over substance? Reportedly - I never actually heard from them.
Was the whole thing a total shambles? Like Shambo the Holy Cow with bovine TB.
Today I chatted with my dad about AV. He is not a political animal and is open to a certain amount of persuasion on such matters. I gave him the run-down on my reasons for my vote of 'Yes' yesterday. We had a reasonable conversation about it.
The 'Yes' campaign failed to sell this conversation around the country.
"Vote for AV because celebrity no. 4 thinks its great" is not a conversation sane people are going to have.
The key to successful campaigning is leading the discussion. If you can't do that, you are lost.
Blair did it (by saying 'New' a lot, as I recall).
GW Bush did it (with a swagger, "trrrist evil doingers" and smear campaigns).
Obama sure as Hope and Change did it.
Major didn't do it (or anything at all of note).
Kerry didn't do it (he was a war hero who got painted as a coward and didn't fight back).
Kinnock couldn't get her done ("balding Welsh bloke wants to charge you more tax" is not a great slogan).
Neither did anyone in last year's general election, leaving us with no one in charge.
Central to any successful campaign is an ethos that can flower into an actual conversation between ordinary people who do not have all the facts at hand.
The Lib Dem's started their campaign for this referendum by saying to the British people "We know you're not going to get excited by or particularly like this...". When you start like that, nothing else you say is going to be relevant. Not to me, not to anyone.
AV was the big promise to their base, a wild gamble to secure more seats at the next general election and finally become a real party. AV was why they went into coalition in the first place.
They completely screwed the pooch.
Over the coming years, the Liberal Democrats are going to fall apart, fracturing along fault-lines created, not by this loss, but by going into coalition with the Tories, who are a party with an ideology they are diametrically opposed to.
Without any hope of redemption at the ballot box, the Liberal Democrat party is going to shatter like the teeth of some cartoon cat who just got hit by an anvil.
We may laugh: it is, after all, pretty funny.