When you produce a book called The British Car Industry - Our Part In Its Downfall, and you write for Her Majesty's Autocar, you are bound to be asked if Jaguar and Land Rover are going to hell in a rickety handcart or whether they should get a tax payer handout.

land rover So last night I was at a late night BBC Five Live phone-in as the evil hack who believes that JLR should stand on their four-wheel-drive and long-wheelbase drivetrains.

I was up against a BBC communist economist, and an engineer who used to work at MG Rover and is now a consultant. The debate was really about jobs and I would be the very first to say that for humanitarian reasons keeping people in jobs is a good thing. But, rationally, what is the point of making vehicles that aren't selling?

Parking unsold Landies and Jags in compounds can't go on indefinitely.

The fundamental point is we don't own the means of production. Mr Tata can move Jag production to Mumbai in an instant and put Land Rover badges on Safaris if he so wishes. So why should we subsidise one of the world's richest businessmen?

gmUnexpectedly I was backed up mid-debate by a Jeremy Clarkson sound bite recorded earlier in the week on the station.

And it has to be said the majority of the callers agreed with me that if you save the so-called British car industry, where does it end? And anyway what about Woolies?

The truth is we lost our industry years ago. British government involvement in manufacturing has always been disastrous and led directly to British Leyland. We now need to be cleverer than that.

A billion pounds to Tata, no. A billion pounds to a Mr G. Murray in Surrey, why not?

Read Jaguar Land Rover's comments on the bailout