It is hard to know whether the House of Commons debate on postponing January's 3p/litre rise in fuel duties should be classed as tragedy or farce.
Labour counted the debate as a neat way of embarrassing the Tories. The Tories countered with "It was Labour who put up petrol taxes 13 times, while we have frozen duties twice and cut them once already."
Across the two-swords-length divide separating government and opposition benches, verbal swords were drawn, tongues stuck out and insults exchanged.
Abuse was about even. But the most insulted party was the public.
Nominally, this debate was about which party is most committed to "easing the squeeze on hard-pressed families."
In practice, it was little more than playground politics. At the very least, it should have been musical as well as farcical.
With Talking Heads playing in the background, MPs could jointly have chorused:
We're on a road to nowhere
Come on inside
Takin' that ride to nowhere
We'll take that ride.
Parliament's unity of absurdity could have done with the humour.
Of course Britain's poor - and middle - are squeezed by the economic crisis we are in, not least by the dearth of real jobs on which to build a real recovery.
But the joy of dividing and embarrassing the coalition counts as nothing against the stupidity of a continuing - suicidal - game of carbon roulette.
Fossil fuel prices will, and should, rise inexorably. The future depends on a fundamental rethink of how we use and generate energy.
Debates about how we prop up an unsustainable past will not take us anywhere.
Replay the debate as though it had been about the street price of cigarettes, alcohol or cocaine, rather than petrol.
MPs wouldn't look quite so virtuous, arguing for measures to restrain price rises "in the interests of hard-pressed addicts."
Oil addiction, however, goes in a different category - mainly because we have no politicians capable of addressing the transformational times we live in, and setting out how to break our addiction to oil.
Every energy revolution has faced the same problem. Britain, which led the way in the last two energy revolutions - from wood to coal, and coal to oil - now sits at the back of the current one.
This revolution will deliver lighter, brighter, more sustainable and cheaper energy solutions than the policies we have today. Britain, almost alone, fails to grasp this.
In some respects it is easier to understand George Osborne's obsession with the past than Labour's.
He knows that after the next election, freed from the constraints of a loveless coalition, the Tories will not long hang on to a Cameron leadership.
The veneer of niceness is too difficult to sustain. Osborne's pitch to the climate change-denying Tea Party wing of his party recognises that this is where the bulk of his parliamentary party wants to be.
David Cameron's "hug a planet" supporters currently have an influence that is more down to their unloved coalition partners than the visceral instincts of his own party.
Today's Conservative Party has much in common with the US Republicans.
Grass-root instincts run in search of a politics the public are never likely to vote for.
The purity of unelectability is a comfort-zone abyss Cameron is desperate to avoid. A competitive race to cut carbon taxes does not help him, but nor does it help the rest of us.
Labour's pursuit of such debates contains a sadder reflection. For some time now Britain's environmental movement has been in an uncomfortable internal debate.
Few dispute that "the greenest government ever" is anything but.
Most recognise that the piecemeal gains in DECC are usually washed away by Treasury obsessions with old - and big - energy.
What comes harder is that the shadow Treasury line is almost as bad as Osborne's.
There is barely a decent "sustainability" idea to rub between the pair of them.
Both parties have better leadership ideas, on transformational energy and climate policies, than their Treasury teams. But at the moment, the past calls the shots while the future gets sidelined.
Barack Obama may not have had the most progressive first term on environmental issues, but British politicians should treat themselves to a viewing of The Revenge Of The Electric Car before out-bidding each other on oil price cuts.
The film offers an insight into other choices politicians have about transport policies and the economy.
In the middle of its own crisis, rather than throw money at "hard-pressed car manufacturers," Congress gave them a pasting.
Obama refused to pander to a gas-guzzling past. The giant General Motors finally filed for bankruptcy.
Financial support for restructuring was focused around producing the next generation of electric vehicles.
Obama knows that the US is still playing catch-up with Japan and Germany over a future in which vehicles will be expected to deliver less than 100gms/km in carbon emissions.
As if to press home his point, Nissan launched its Leaf vehicle, Toyota followed its Prius with a low-carbon edition of the Auris and VW piled in with its Blue Motion system.
It is just the beginning of a transport future that will not be in hock to old oil.
In Sweden, they have committed the entirety of their public-sector vehicles to running on biogas, from their own waste recycling centres, by 2020.
Towns and cities across the country are adapting filling stations.
Refuelling biogas vehicles will be an automatic choice, wherever you go.
Elsewhere in Europe the same thinking is being applied to electric vehicle recharging - not least to take advantage of huge surpluses of renewable electricity already coming into the European grid and, at times, taking electricity into negative prices.
This is not an accidental engagement with the future. Such policy landscapes come out of political exchanges that reach beyond the cheap and cheerless, the opportunistic or the myopic.
So, with the exception of Caroline Lucas, where were the parliamentary voices demanding that taxes on environmental "bads" be redirected towards the "goods" tomorrow will depend on?
They had all gone Awol, chasing illusions far more than answers.
This road to nowhere will offer little to the energy and climate crises our children will face.
Today's Talking Heads need wake up to this, and change the lyrics while we still can.
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