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Saturday, 18 May 2013


I recently came across the origin of the expression ‘scot free’ which turns out is nothing to do, as I had idly thought, with Scottish reivers (border raiders) getting back across the old border with their ill-gotten gains before they could be brought to face English justice. In fact the origin is as follows:-

'Skat' is a Scandinavian word for tax or payment and the word migrated to England and mutated into 'scot' as the name of a redistributive taxation, levied as early the 10th century as a form of municipal poor relief.

'Scot' as a term for tax has been used since then in various forms - Church scot, Rome scot, Soul scot and so on. Whatever the tax, the phrase 'getting off scot free' simply refers to not paying one's taxes.

It seems that people have been getting off scot free since at least the 11th century. The first written reference in to 'scot free' is in a
Writ of Edward the Confessor (who died in 1066!).

This, funnily enough, is a more relevant, if somewhat less amusing, insight into the quoted remarks of Dr Matt Qvortrup, which as the report below shows has built on the comments that I reported quite a while back of the North Western constitutional law professor, Professor David Scheffer , who had already pointed out that if the UK Government were trying to insist that they were the successor state and that Scotland was a wholly new state then it logically follows that the Scots could achieve independence without any of the liabilities of the UK. That opinion is now confirmed in this report.

If Alex Salmond deliberately lured Goerge Osborne and Michael Moore on so that he could judo throw them into their own elephant pit, constructed of their own arrogance, ignorance and folly, then this result could not be bettered.

The additional significance of course is that there is a new race on because it is the first of the nations of the UK that get away with being new states that could get out “scot free” from under the massive debts that the profligate and spendthrift British political Establishment have built up for us.
To use another expression ‘what is sauce for the goose is certainly sauce for the gander’, so if Scotland could avoid the debts by becoming a new state so could England.

With over a Trillion pounds (£1000,000,000,000) worth of UK Government debt at issue getting away scot free from the debt mountain sounds quite appealing!

Independence for England anyone?
Here is the article from the Scottish version of the SUN newspaper. Could there be any agenda behind it not appearing in the English version?

Expert: Scotland can legally leave the UK and be debt free Split ends ... Dr Qvortrup says successor states took on liabilities in past break-ups

By ANDREW NICOLL, Scottish Political Editor

SCOTLAND can legally walk away from its share of the UK’s debt mountain and start independence with a clean slate, according to a top constitutional expert.

Lawyer Dr Matt Qvortrup says the nation could begin its life outside the union unshackled from a £125BILLION overdraft — equivalent to four years’ spending at Holyrood.

And the world-renowned academic believes his findings, based on studies of historic state separations, could have a massive impact on the independence debate.

He said: “Imagine — ‘vote Yes and send the bill to David Cameron’.

“Of course I am neutral and just an observer, but the world deserves to know the facts. Personally speaking, I think this could be a game changer.”

Dr Qvortrup’s explosive findings are published in a report that looks at national divorces dating from 1830, when Belgium left the Netherlands, until the break-up of Yugoslavia and the collapse of the Soviet Union in the Nineties.

His research found countries that split equally have historically shared the debts built up during their union. But if one partner continues as before as the ‘successor state’ — keeping its position on international bodies such as the United Nations — it shoulders the debts.

Westminster has already claimed that the remainder of the UK would carry on in that role after a Yes vote in the 2014 independence referendum.

It would hold on to its seat in Europe as well as at the UN and military alliance Nato — while Scotland would have to start from scratch and apply for admission to those bodies.

Dr Qvortrup — an academic at Cranfield University near Swindon, Wilts — said that would reduce Holyrood’s UK balance sheet to zero.

He said: “If Alex Salmond doesn’t want to share the debt and is happy to reapply to Europe, the default position in international law is that Scotland would not have to pick up the debt.

“That has to be known to the people before the vote next year so that David Cameron will know we are starting negotiations from the position that UK (remainder of UK) is the successor state. That has consequences. The one that pays the debt is the successor state.

“If you want to be the EU successor state and be in the UN Security Council, you can. You take all the spoils — but you also take the baggage.”

He added: “In Yugoslavia, Serbia Montenegro wanted to be the successor country but they were deemed not to be — which meant they were not landed with the debt. The position Scottish Secretary Michael Moore and Prime Minister David Cameron have is that as long as they are the successor state it’s all good.

“But the understanding about them having to pay the debt could be a good argument for the Yes campaign.

“All other things being equal, Scotland does not have to pay its share of the UK’s debt.”

The findings in the Qvortrup Report tally with the opinion of Professor David Scheffer of the Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago, US.

He believes Westminster’s reading of the post-indy situation is a “bold presumption that rests on very thin ice”.

And he says that negotiating a slice of the UK’s financial burden after a split would give Scotland bargaining power in talks.

However, the Vienna Convention treaty states: “When part of the territory of a state is transferred to another state, the state debt is to be settled by agreement.”

But only eight countries signed up to the convention — and the UK is not one of them.

A report published by Michael Moore in February said that a new Scotland would have to start from scratch as a new country — loaded with 300 years of UK debt. The analysis pointed to “the overwhelming body of international precedent including Irish independence in 1922”. It said: “In the event of independence, the UK would continue and Scotland would form a separate state. There would be an expectation that an independent Scotland would take on an equitable share of national debt, to be negotiated.

“The continuing UK would need to seek to ensure that a fair settlement applied to assets and liabilities.”

Finance Secretary John Swinney has already hinted he could be ready to walk away from the UK’s monetary liabilities if the SNP wins next year’s referendum.

When Chancellor George Osborne visited Scotland last month, he warned that he was unwilling to keep sharing the Pound with Scotland after independence. But Mr Swinney warned he was “playing with fire”.

He said: “The Chancellor argues that the UK would be the successor state, would hold on to the Pound and we couldn’t get access to that.

“If that’s his position, then the UK is obliged as a successor state to hold on to all of the debt.

“We would be liberated from a population share of the UK’s debt of £125billion.”


  1. This is probably the most significant message the chairman has posted so far. Firstly, it is the first time that he has put forward in his blog anything like an economic policy for the English Democrats. Secondly, it suggests a change in the Party's stated philosophy. It suggests that the English Democrats Party no longer believes in England being part of a federal UK, but is seeking full independence.
    Confirmation is needed.

  2. England expects every man to do his duty... and call for English independence from Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh debt.

  3. I'm afraid this is totally off-topic (and a very scary post on the successor state/national debt!), but is it true that Robin is going to attend a meeting of the 'National Culturists'?

    1. For the English there is only one national culture, and that is English culture, which means creating English as the national language of the English folk, and getting rid of all unneeded foreign words from Norman French, Latin, Greek, and so forth which have come into English since 1066.

    2. We would find it rather difficult to conduct any sort of conversation, I'm afraid. The great strength of English is its ability to absorb so many 'foreign' words - it's one of the reasons why it is the nearest thing to an international language. Mind you, if you want to read an interesting and amusing book on this, try 'How We'd Talk If the English had WON in 1066', by D. Cowley (2009).

    3. A country which doesn't own its own language, does not own its soul. What passes for the English language is owned by the world, mostly by the Americans.

    4. Anonymous@20May 2013 22.55 - What you say is a strength is a weakness. Because it has absorbed so many foreign words it is no longer English, but the premier international language. It hasn't been owned by the English since 1066. It shouldn't be named English.
      National languages manage perfectly well without being swamped with alien words - a classic example is Icelandic and Icelanders have no trouble conducting conversations with other Icelandic speakers.

  4. @ Anonymous 19 May 2013 19:30

    You are seriously deluded if you think English independence would solve our debt nightmare. Like it or not, most of that debt has been raised and spent in England on the current generation of English, burdening our children and our grandchildren with the bill.

    1. anonymous @ 20 May 10.42

      The suggestion by the chairman is that England could exit the UK and leave that debt with the United Kingdom (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) as the successor state. Thus independent England would start with a clean slate, leaving all the debt with the rump of the UK.

    2. Anonymous20 May 2013 22:44

      We all know that is never going to happen. You might as well run a debt advice campaign advocating death as a way to avoid paying your dues.

  5. A senior Conservative has called the Tory Party grass root activists "swivel-eyed loons". That insult has proved too much for Tory local party chairmen who are defecting. In the south that is to Ukip. The English Democrats need to ensure that in the north, it is to the English Democrats.

    1. I hope that the EDs are talking to those Conservative chairmen about joining the English Democrats.

  6. Alex Salmond was going to talk today about the economic position of a future independent Scotland. I agree with him that Scotland, as has the North of England, has been ill-served by the South-east of England where the economy is now concentrated. However, of course, Scotland, as is the case of the North of England, was where all the shipbuilding and heavy industry was based, now sold off and relocated overseas by governments both Labour and Conservative.

    However, Salmond also spoke about the fact that there should have been an oil fund like that of Norway and that could have belonged to Scotland. I have heard that it is now much too late for this, after all the oil has nearly all run out and was used by Mrs T to create the feel-good factor. As for Norway, their oil money is now going almost entirely on dealing with the immigrants that their government is rushing to their shores. Try visiting Oslo, Bergen and even Stavanger to see the result. In view of the reaction of the anti-fascists who attacked Nigel Farage in Edinburgh, and that of the SNP and Alex Salmond, who are wedded to mass immigration into Scotland, it is likely that their oil fund would have gone the same way. Interestingly, Scotland has more muslims per head of population now than England. As we have just learnt that islam is going to be the major religion of the UK in ten years' time I wonder how the Kirk will fare. Still they are going to have gay clergy so that should help. I don't think the muslims will be having gay imams!!

    1. You are right about North Sea oil running out, but Salmond's fund will benefit from the rising price of oil as the oil gets scarcer.
      Mrs T didn't use North Sea oil money to create a "feel-good factor", but to pay for unemployment and to disguise its high level by shifting the unemployed onto sickness benefit.
      Denis Healy has admitted that the Scots were lied to by Labour about how much oil there was in the North Sea

    2. You obviously know more about the oil fund than I do. I heard one commentator say it was much too late for and independent Scotland to start one now. As for Mrs T, I knew that she did not put the oil money in a big pot for future use, like the Norwegians hoped to do and that it disappeared somewhere, I just wasn't sure where.