It’s weird doing this column because while I am an ordinary bloke writing about real life, for most of the rest of the week this space is given over to the town’s esteemed ‘leaders’.

This paper rightly allows them to bring us up to date with what’s happening in their world, leaving readers to decide for themselves how sincere or empty their words might be.

My world rarely collides with theirs (thankfully), but although I don’t have any prior knowledge about what they will be banging on about, I am sure all of us have only one thing to write about at the moment.

Soon after news came through about the impending closure of Swindon’s Honda factory, my phone rang.

Because I have a reputation for knowing about this town’s heritage, I was invited to stand outside the gates of the factory with a microphone and possibly a camera, and talk about the history of the car industry in Swindon, and Honda in particular.

I said no.

They wanted a matter-of-fact account of how the Japanese firm got to be the biggest (private) employer in the town, but I have strong feelings about who and what is responsible for the closing chapter, and I frankly couldn’t trust myself to keep my anger under control.

I’m trying hard now.

I am not the authority on our town’s heritage, but I have studied and thought about it at length, and I could tell you some amazing things about the people, places and events that have made Swindon Swindon.

But there is one fact that beats them all, and that is the reason Honda came here in the first place, all those years ago.

You might think it is all about complex economics, global industry, technological trends and suchlike, and of course those were factors.

But what clinched it - and this was proudly written on Honda (UK)’s website - was the fantastic Swindon welcome they got when they were looking around for somewhere to build their factory.

It sounds too simplistic to be true, but I genuinely think Swindon got the job because of our inherent friendliness.

In fact, having talked about it to a friend, last week, I’m certain.

She makes a living from teaching English as a foreign language, largely to Honda employees - so there’s another job gone - and explained that while you could be excused for thinking the clash of cultures could never work, in fact the Japanese recognised in Britain (and especially Swindon) a common bond of politeness and good manners.

You can make up your own mind about why our Japanese friends have now decided to leave.

Britain refusing the opportunity to lead the development and delivery of the next generation of (electric) cars is obviously part of it.

But I can’t help thinking potential partners are also sensing the changing attitude towards supposed ‘outsiders’ that is coming over Britain, even if it might be longer before this poison overcomes Swindon.

When I told my friend, via social media, about derogatory and disrespectful comments I had already picked up about Japanese people, she asked me to remove references to what had been said.

“My Japanese friends would be really upset to find they are the target of racists,” she said.

Just as disappointing were those whose attitude has been: “Never mind. As one door closes, another one opens.”

This dangerously overlooks the fact that doors don’t usually close on their own.

If you want to learn anything from Swindon’s history and find a reason for our current prosperity plus our only hope for the future, remember this: until recently, our door was always open.