As we all now realise, the British car Industry does not actually exist anymore, except as a tiny cottage concern making bespoke throwback sports cars.
I continue to explain this important distinction on local radio stations around the country, usually a place where a car factory is vital to the local economy. And today it is Wednesday so I must be on the airwaves in Swindon talking Honda.
While it’s easy to understand why Jaguars and Land Rovers are having it tough at the moment, you might reasonably have thought that Honda would be rather more resilient. Anyway, the people in radio land – wherever they are – must wonder why management would turn down Lord Mandy’s help.
Well, it isn’t exactly ‘help’ is it? I pointed out the platitudinous nature of what was on offer, a mixture of feel-good green techno guff and some soft loans. To its credit, Honda would rather mothball the factory than get involved in whatever desperate measures the government has in mind.
Last week my whistle-stop radio tour took in Wales and the hugely respected Professor Garel Rhys, a stat machine par excellence who can talk for whole hours without deviation, repetition or, it seems, pausing for breath.
He pushes the line that Britain still has a car industry, whereas I don’t. Reassuringly I think the local phone in callers agree with me. They know that we have no real control over vehicle manufacturing and resent throwing good money after bad into some car-shaped black hole. The public also accepts that our government has no clue what to do and, after the CO2-based VED disaster, there never was a plan B.
I still say give the money to Gordon Murray. Also, let’s ask Mr Tata for Land Rover and Jaguar back, revamp the VED system, put all our coppers in XKRs and make sure your next ride to the hospital is in the back of a Range Rover Sport.