I have one experience, not a happy one, of working for the government, as director of People's Europe 98, a conference organised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to coincide with the British presidency of the European Council in 1998. The whole process was politically fraught – it was supported by the then foreign secretary, Robin Cook, but not by other key ministers in the Labour government (among them Peter Mandelson) – and in the end it was a triumph just to see it happen.