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This report is taken from PN Review 231, Volume 43 Number 1, September - October 2016.

A Good European Neil Powell

THIS GRIEF THAT has rendered me sleepless and intermittently weeping for days is, partly, a familial one. In 1946, two years before I was born, my father was part of a Board of Trade delegation to Germany: its purpose was to assist post-war economic and industrial reconstruction across Europe, and among the ideas it discussed was the creation of a free trade area which would later become known as the EEC or ‘Common Market’. Britain, of course, wasn’t to be among the six founding members; Jim Powell’s then unborn son would be in his early twenties by the time we eventually managed to join. For my father, this was a source of rueful regret and practical inconvenience: he was in the glass trade – importing, manufacturing and wholesaling – and he had business connections, as his passport endorsements show, in almost every European country. But, instead of being in the EEC, Britain was in the second-division team: EFTA, the European Free Trade Association. He made the best of it. For instance, he developed contacts in Scandinavia: his British factory, Dema, manufactured badged bar glasses for Tuborg in Copenhagen, while the unpromisingly named Jones & Company (Glass) Limited, which he ran from a modest office and showroom just off Holborn Circus, brought in immensely elegant Swedish glass from Lindshammar in Sweden. Obviously, he worked with businesses in the EEC as well. One main source of his imported mass-market table glass was a factory at Manage in Belgium: I remember a childhood visit there, with an interminable meal in a Proustian room at ...


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