A page one story in The Times shows the size of the battle confronting diesel car supporters. 

Talking about the Government's (regrettable) delay in bringing forward its plan to curb older diesel vehicles, the newspaper criticises the delay of the proposals "even though they would prevent thousands of lives being cut short by toxic emissions from diesel vehicles." 

That's a shocking overstatement, if you ask me. These are proposals, remember. We don't even yet know what's in them. And even if they eliminate every toxic automotive molecule at a stroke, most of today's toxic molecules will go on being produced tomorrow - from industry, home heating, aviation, shipping and the rest. 

As a professional hack, I'd be ashamed to have such an shocking piece of unsubstantiated sub-tabloid nonsense attached to my name. It comes straight from the so-it's-okay-if-children-die-is-it-sir? school of argument, where truth takes a back seat. 

Here is the truth: late model diesel cars and vans are responsible for a tiny proportion of our nation's total toxic emissions, and (despite blips presented as catastrophes) they're in decline. Our progress towards electrification - rightly desired by all - depends on continuing profitability of existing cars for the medium-term.