So there I was, yesterday, in the House of Commons. Before I knew what was going on I’d managed to bump into both Ian Paisley and Eddie Izzard, which isn’t the sort of combination you’d expect to have to deal with before lunch.

52495saa But I wasn’t there for pleasure, rather I was on hand to witness the launch of the SMMT’s ninth automotive sector sustainability report.

I’d been promised a real, live Government transport minister to grill, but because of the reshuffle situation that didn’t happen. At least the report itself was upbeat and positive – despite evidence from the industry’s grassier roots that we’re all going to hell in a Sinclair C5.

Cars might not be selling, but at least they’re getting greener. According to the SMMT average car CO2 emissions have fallen by 3.8 per cent over the first nine months of 2008, the energy needed to produce each vehicle is down 12 per cent – and almost 10,000 tons of landfill have been prevented by greener car manufacture.

So that’s all the statistical blah for you. More relevant was the fact that SMMT Paul Everitt pointed out that the motor industry supports 840,000 jobs in the UK – a message the politicians need to take on board before they try and legislate Land Rover out of business.

Sadly, MPs were thin on the ground. Sir David Steel was supposed to be there – the last Lib Dem who could get away with liking cars – but I didn’t see him.

So did I leave reassured about the future of Britain’s motor industry – and the seriousness with which this is treated by our political masters? Let’s just say that laughter is far less messy than crying.