I met a rather more serious player, Cornishman Mark Prisk. He had been with Derrick Wade & Waters as a development partner and had produced valuable reports on opportunities along the M11 and M40 Corridors. He had been a key exhibitor at Property Business Show.
At that time he and his wife, both keen and active Conservatives, were plotting a political career. To earn his spurs he had accepted the poisoned chalice to stand against the very popular Labour MP, Tony Banks. Having taken one-for-the-team, he was next promised Falmouth, his home county, but this was awarded to Sebastian Coe. He had to wait until 2001 to get his seat, ‘Hertford and Stortford’, and has held shadow and government posts, the most senior as Minister of State for Housing and Local Government in the 2010s.
But we are getting ahead of the story. Euromissions was planned to take small groups of property professionals to various city-states around Europe and marriage-broke business relationships in these locations. Mark would arrange the political background. Meetings would be arranged with national and city policy makers, financiers, developers, agents and other professionals.
We worked closely with the Future of Europe Trust (FET), an All-Party Parliamentary Group that was staffed and supported by younger politicians. It was dedicated particularly to building relations between NATO countries, the former Soviet Union (USSR) and East European Communist countries.
|ASIDE: I was invited to a meeting in the House of Commons where Manfred Stolpe, the Minister President of Brandenburg, was to meet with FET members. This was at the time that the Iron Curtain was just being drawn back into the fold and his DDR was in the process of unifying with West Germany.|
He made the most remarkable remark that I have ever heard. His argument was that the people of Brandenburg and Britain had always been friends. He pointed out that if Blücher had not turned up at Waterloo in the afternoon, then Europe would have been a very different place.
Then his coup de grâce was to say that it was just three people who had kept us apart – Otto von Bismarck, Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin – dismissing most of the 20th century at a stroke, what a statement! He was to be rather discredited when it was later established he had been STASI, but anyone senior in the DDR surely had to have been?
Euromissions didn’t take off because both Mark and I were focused elsewhere but more importantly because we learned property professionals tended to want to fall accidentally across a deal that took them into a country and only then created an office and team for it. The notion of investing seed-corn marketing monies proved not to be high up their agendas.