I spoke this afternoon to a group of young visitors from North London brought to the Committee by one of our British members, Brenda King (Employers’ Group). This was special for me because ‘North London’ is where I grew up and, indeed, some of the young people around the table came from places that were important or significant to me in one way or another. One of the visitors came from Harlesden. Harlesden! For two months in 1979 I worked in a Smiths Clock Company warehouse in Park Royal. Early every morning I’d get the Bakerloo line train to Harlesden and walk from there to the factory. I have many powerful memories of that time. The job was among the worst I ever had to do – dirty, grimey, repetitious, on occasions dangerous, in unpleasant surroundings and with unpleasant colleagues, and woefully low paid to boot – but the thing I remember most about it was the rich and initially pleasing but ultimately cloying smell of baking biscuits from the McVities factory (now United Biscuits and still there to this day) that could hang over Harlesden like a fur overcoat for days on end. I had great fun with the young Londoners. Their questions were entirely pertinent and they were well-informed. One fellow asked me whether the logic of the integration process was not ultimately federalist. I was guarded in my reply, quoting a Herman van Rompuy interview from the previous day (saying that it wasn’t). But I had misunderstood; my questioner was himself convinced that Europe could only logically survive as a basically federalistic entity. This encouraged me. We should never, ever underestimate people’s common sense. At the end I forgot to say my ‘party piece’ which was, quite simply, that one day one of the North Londoners in that room could end up, just as I had done, working in and for Europe.