In a series of lectures and interviews, Mandelson is trying to shape a new set of criteria for government intervention – including a firm's general viability, the strategic importance of its sector, its technological and research standing and the impact its failure would have on jobs in the supply chain, regionally and nationally.
The operative phrase is "the strategic importance of its sector". What does that mean? It should mean, does the sector save energy, or produce it in a sustainable way. Energy is the bedrock of economic activity, more important than money, because money is a social construct, whereas energy is a physical and biological necessity.
If we apply this criterion, Jaguar Land Rover is an energy drain. It uses energy to melt the steel to make the luxury cars, and it uses energy to move the car owners to and fro on journeys that are mainly pointless. It even uses energy when they are stuck in a traffic jam. On this criterion, Jaguar Land Rover should be left to market forces. But I bet Mandelson does hand them some of our money, because he needs the votes that the money will bring.
Every pound that is spent in buying votes in this way is a pound not spent on the truly strategic matter: breaking our economy's addiction to oil through the Green New Deal.
We sit here bemoaning the irrationality of this kind of policy, while we should be out there on the streets, ready to stay there until Government understands the basic realities of living on a small planet.
Ah well. Time for a nice cup of tea.