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30 November 2011 Last updated at 07:38 ET
Before moving to Yale and becoming a bestselling historian, Paul Kennedy grew up on Tyneside in the 50s and 60s. "A world of great noise and much dirt," is how he remembers it, where the chief industry was building ships and his father and uncles were boilermakers in Wallsend. Last year the academic gave a lecture that reminisced a little about those days.
Here's something you definitely shouldn't do if you're even a tiny bit leftwing and suffer from high blood pressure: look at a document called the Forbes cost of living extremely well index . Forbes is an American business magazine, and its cost of living extremely well index is an annual survey of price trends for things popular at the very, very top end of the income distribution.
Against the tide of history: the Skye Bridge, nationalised in 2004
Maria's front door has a house number – 48 – screwed in to the wood and its own letterbox, but it isn't possible for a postman to get here to deliver anything. The healthcare assistant's home is a shed in the back garden of a shabbily converted bedsit property , only accessible via the main building and through the filthy, rubbish-strewn yard. Her thrifty landlord has recycled the front door from another property, but Maria likes it; she likes having her own entrance and her own privacy.
A shop window in Leigh, Greater Manchester, advertises a closing-down sale. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian Europe's collective response to the 2008 credit crunch ranks with the treaty of Versailles and German reparations among the great follies of history.