This afternoon was a fine example of the bizarre way this country is currently being governed.

At around 3.00pm, the Business Minister Lord Mandleson stood up the House of Lords to give details of the Government’s planned help for the ailing car industry.

Shortly after Lord M sat down, a Labour minister stood up in the House of Commons and re-read Mandelson’s statement.

Then Ken Clarke, the new shadow Business Secretary, stood up and gave the government’s plans a six-minute rubbishing.

I’m not sure this is any sensible way to run a country in the middle of a serious recession.

Aside from the absurdity of someone as important as the Business Secretary not being in the House of Commons, where his ideas can be argued out between the government and opposition, the noble Lord’s plans are already being condemned by senior figures in the UK car industry.

What the British industry desperately wanted was Government loan guarantees for their finance companies. This is no British Leyland-style bailout.

As one senior UK industry source told Autocar today, ‘we want to be able to offer credit to those car buyers who can afford the repayments. If we don’t sell cars and keep the factories rolling, the whole pack of cards is going to come down.’