Geoffrey Howe is guilty. Whatever he actually said about Liverpool’s problems during some early Thatcher Cabinet meetings, he was culpable for his failure to draw the obvious conclusion. The city was finding it impossible to compete with London and the South of England. In different circumstances, this could have been rectified by devaluation. Liverpool would then have used a weaker currency: let us call it the Scouse.
In a single country, that option was not available, so there was only one alternative. Despite Geoffrey Howe’s reservations, Liverpool received large subsidies from taxpayers elsewhere in Britain: fiscal transfers. Yet even under that generous regime, it continued to struggle.