No Debt 125

Ukraine inherited none of the Soviet Union’s debt, just as Scotland will inherit none of the United Kingdom’s debt.

Russia was the successor state to the Soviet Union, and thus got to keep the seat on the UN Security Council, the nuclear weapons and all Soviet overseas assets. On the other side of the ledger, as the successor state, it means that Russia got to keep all of the debt also. The agreement was finalised in 1993.

It appears certain that Westminster will insist upon being the successor state to the United Kingdom, and thus keep the seat on the UN Security Council, the nuclear weapons and the colonies. On the other side of the ledger, as the successor state, Westminster will get to keep the entire national debt too.

The independence of a state is a factor of its relationship to other states. It is governed by international law, not by domestic law. The position on debt is entirely clear.

The unionist media has raced to kickstart Project Fear by highlighting an individual who knows nothing whatsoever of international law, an Oxford University Professor of Economics, John Kay, who has conducted the utterly irrelevant exercise of dividing the UK’s national debt by 10. He states:

“It may be reasonable to assume that Scotland would begin independent life carrying, explicitly or implicitly, a pro-rata share of UK debt, which might be in the region of £180 billion”.

The depth of ignorance that lies behind those words “it may be reasonable to assume” is in direct proportion to his ludicrous confidence in stating this completely false premiss. It is worth bearing in mind that Economics Professor John Kay of Oxford University is in precisely the position occupied by the academic arses who taught Johnson, Cameron and Osborne to bullshit nonsense with an air of entitlement.

We are in for many months of posh twits from Oxford telling us lies and expecting us to tug our forelocks at their superior demeanour. Buckle up folks.


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125 thoughts on “No Debt

  • Vivian O’Blivion

    Given the high level infiltration of NuSNP by the US State Department (Stewart McDonald, John Nicolson, Humza Yousaf, Angela Crawley, Jenny Gilruth and Pat the pederast Grady), it’s a racing certainty that we lease Rosyth and Coulport to rUK.
    From a pragmatic perspective I personally have no particular issue with this.

    • SleepingDog

      What is the most practical way to handle any infestation of foreign agents and domestic assets of foreign powers after Independence? A period of grace and amnesty, followed by a expulsion to country of servitude, or application and enforcement of new (republican) treason laws? Or something else?

      • Vivian O’Blivion

        Trite answer; “sunlight is the best disinfectant”.
        If we had a functional, independent press as opposed to one controlled by the British deep state and the oligarchs, this infiltration of foreign agents would be apparent to the public and they could make judgments accordingly.
        I tend to agree with our host that past employment in BBC Shortbread should disbar anyone from employment in whatever takes its place.

  • Jay

    “posh twits .. telling us lies and expecting us to tug our forelocks at their superior demeanour”.

    Cultural cringe must have been a bigger factor in 2014 than is generally acknowledged. It is otherwise inexplicable why so many Scots would choose to be ruled in perpetuity by superposh, haughty Tories from southeast England. No other people on this planet would inflict that upon themselves. Just odd – and embarrassing – in the extreme.

    • Cubby

      Jay, Scots voted for independence.

      As the “Scottish” Daily Mail headline said after the referendum it was the English that won it for us. The “us ” being the Britnats/English. Of course it was the high percentage of the rest of the UK immigrants and EU citizens ( who were told a yes vote would lose them their EU citizenship) who voted no that tipped the balance of the result. Sadly for the EU citizens they then didn’t get a vote in the EU referendum but people from Ireland and Australia for example did get a vote.

      Jay it is not “inexplicable” in the least. It is a standard result of colonial occupation and the cringe is stronger the longer the occupation and 307 years is pretty long. Wales is a lot longer with something like 20% of its population identifying as English. If you doubt the occupation in Scotland then think FORT WILLIAM. Is the cringe the fault of the colonialists or the colonised?

      There was no decision to be ruled “in perpetuity”. Hence the vote for another referendum.

      • Alf Baird

        What we know as the ‘Scottish Cultural Cringe’ is actually a serious psychological condition known as ‘Appropriated Racial Oppression’, also referred to as ‘Internalised Racism’. In colonialism (which involves racism) this is also known as a ‘disease of the mind’ (Fanon; Memmi). The only cure is for the alienation to cease which is by the complete disappearance of colonization, i.e. liberation and self-recovery of the people.

      • Wee Jim

        The majority in favour of union was 383,837. We will assume that Irish and other EU citizens and Commonwealth citizens divided equally in their voting, According to the 2011 census, 459,486 people in Scotland were born in England Assuming the same proportion voted as voted in the whole population of Scotland, (84.59%) and people too young to vote somehow did vote, then 388,679 voted. If they all voted to keep Scotland in the UK, that would have barely provided the majority you claim, but it would also mean that nearly all the examples of English-born supporters of Scottish independence cited in the campaign were liars or didn’t exist.

        • Alf Baird

          Wee Jim

          Don’t ignore ‘extraction’, which will tend to significantly change the figures you mention. Where a person is born is not the sole factor here. We tend to develop our culture, language and hence our identity and our values from those closest to us, and primarily our parents/family. As James Kelman is reputed to have said, ‘if you want to know your identity look at who your relatives are’.

          • Wee Jim

            Are you suggesting people should be required to pass a test for Scottish extraction before they are allowed to vote in referendums in Scotland?

          • Alf Baird

            Parental descent is a condition for national citizenship in most if not all nations.

          • Wee Jim

            “Parental descent is a condition for national citizenship in most if not all nations.”…but it is not the only possible condition. Even when parental descent is an automatic qualification for citizenship – as in Germany and Israel – it often transpires that the people in question have lost their “extractative qualities”.
            By the same token, Commonwealth and EU citizens and those with Commonwealth and EU “extraction” should not be allowed to vote and those of Scottish descent in other countries – such as most Irish Unionists and Scots-Americans should be able to vote, which might have produced an entertaining prospect.

        • Cubby

          Wee Jim, you really really like your assumptions which not surprisingly favour your argument but you provide no evidence to suggest they are true.

          • Wee Jim

            I’d have thought the numbers are pretty powerful evidence – or do you maintain the 2011 census was doctored?

    • Squeeth

      @Jay, the Snat proposal to keep the pound, stay in NATO and the EU would have led to an independent state in name only, like Liarbour’s soft Brexit.

  • Michael Droy

    There would also be no border with EU – leaving Scotland in a reverse NI position.
    While I agree with Boris, independence is a once in a generation question that shouldn’t be raised now. It also needs to be pointed out that Independence now would be far far tougher for Scotland that it would have been before Brexit. Not just trade but freedom of movement (employment).
    And none of these issues have been mentioned in public discussion (for the obvious reason that they will turn the debate against independence).

    • Mist001

      If Scotland had won the independence vote in 2014, it would have invoked Brexit for the entire UK. That problem no longer exists which as far as I can tell, makes independence simpler this time around, not tougher.

      As for the debt, unless Scotland is borrowing money from Westminster, then it is Westminster which has accrued the debt which makes them liable for it.

      • Jimmeh

        I don’t think that’s correct; had Scotland become independent in 2014, it would have left the EU, and had to apply. Meanwhile the rump UK would have remained in the EU.

        Not that it matters now – water under the bridge etc.

    • Vivian O’Blivion

      Dae yer hame work afore mumpin’ yer gums.
      Citizens of the Irish Republic have open access to employment in the UK. Always have had. Brexit didn’t make one iota of difference. This arrangement would extend to Scottish citizens on a reciprocal basis.
      Northern Ireland has four designated Customs ports of entry under the Northern Irish Protocol (Belfast port, Larne, Warrenpoint container terminal and George Best airport). That’s 1.2 POE for every one million citizens. A combined Northern Ireland / Scotland entity would merit 15 POE on a similar per capita basis.
      Allowing for Ports of Entry in the four Scottish international airports plus Grangemouth and Glasgow docks, this leaves seven points of entry to cover the Tweed / Solway (A Customs PoE at Larne would be redundant). There ain’t seven HGV suitable crossings of the Tweed / Solway.
      The “difficulties” of a hard border between Scotland and England are a much exaggerated bogeyman intended to scare small children and wilfully ignorant Unionists.

      • Wee Jim

        What makes you think that citizens of the Irish Republic will have open access to employment in the UK – or even open access to the UK – in future? A customs barrier is going to make it much easier to impose a barrier to people. The British government has already complained about Ireland’s “open door” policy for Ukrainians and announced that Ukrainians will not be allowed to come to the UK from Ireland.
        A likely result of attempts to enforce the Protocol is that the UK government will dump full responsibility for NI on the EU. The UK’s present situation in NI is one of taxation without representation – EU policies are to be followed but paid for by the UK.

        • ET

          “What makes you think that citizens of the Irish Republic will have open access to employment in the UK – or even open access to the UK – in future?”

          That both governments have committed to maintain the CTA, and the associated rights and privileges, in all circumstances through a Memorandum of Understanding in 2019 and that the withdrawal agreement also makes provision for the CTA. Also, remember it applies to Irish citizens in UK and UK citizens in Ireland (as well as Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man). It’s been around since 1922 and long pre-dates the EU or it’s predessors. It was an understanding but since brexit has been more formally provisioned in legislation in both UK and Ireland.
          It could be unilaterally changed but I doubt it will be.

          • Wee Jim

            I think it will probably be changed, unless it is used to extract concessions from the RoI and the EU that haven’t been offered so far. In fact, the logic of the Protocol is that the UK will ditch responsibility – financial and political – for NI onto the RoI and the EU. An obvious breaking point is agriculture. If the UK is expected to pay for EU agricultural policies in NI when it is adopting very different policies in Great Britain these will be cracks in the system.

          • ET

            UK farmers used to receive subsidies from the European Union via the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), but that financial support was replaced by funding from Westminster after the UK left the EU on 31 January 2020. This applies in NI also. The UK decides how it will support farming and farmers with subsidies in the UK. The protocol is about movement of goods and has nothing to do with that. Farmers can farm how they like but obviously if they wish to sell product into the EU they will have to comply with whatever standards for that product the EU has set. If they wish to sell into the rest of the UK they’ll also have to comply with UK standards.

            I think it very unlikely changes will be made to the common travel area arrangements. There is too much cultural and historical connection between UK and Ireland.

    • Cubby

      Michael, sorry to disappoint you but the matter of Scottish independence is not for Johnston to decide it is for the people of Scotland and they voted for a referendum on Scottish independence.

      ” Far far tougher” – your concern is noted and appreciated but things ain’t that rosy in the UK.

  • Murdo Ritchie

    In the strictest legal sense Russia was not the “successor state” to the former Soviet Union as defined by the Vienna Convention. Because of the hurry to get rid of the nuclear weapons on non-Russian territories a new entity the “continuer state” was invented. This makes comparison with previous succession or continuation after the collapse of other states difficult, sometimes impossible.

  • Pears Morgaine

    The proviso to Russia paying the debt was that it got to keep all the ex-Soviet owned assets in former member states which would include military equipment, gold and currency reserves, certain items of infrastructure, buildings etc. Ukraine still hasn’t returned these assets.

  • Geoffrey

    That strikes me as a thoroughly childish argument…..are you really saying a seat at the UN is worth £3 trillion plus a few colonies ?

    • Tim Rideout

      Where do you get £3 trillion from? The National Debt is about £2.3 trillion gross, less the £880 billion owned by the BoE, so £1.4 billion net. It is not a normal debt anyway as it is the cash savings of UK citizens and thus part of the UK money supply. It is accumulated state spending that has not yet been taxed back.

    • Bayard

      Not that there is a market for such things, but that sounds pretty cheap. It’s not just any old seat at the UN, it’s one with the power of veto..

      • SleepingDog

        @Bayard, indeed, the UNSC veto is the ultimate get-out-of-jail card. Plus threatening people with nukes. And claiming natural resources around distant islands. And military bases and ports. And strategic positions from which to tap international cables for highly-lucrative espionage.

        Although, from reading Tim Lang’s Feeding Britain, for all that, the British imperial authorities seem awfully poor at actually protecting their food import supply lines (like they had to do in WW2, and nearly lost because it was such a tight battle).

        • Squeeth

          Not really, the peak of the U-boats’s success was in early 1943 but changing imports from raw materials to finished items reduced demand for shipping space by 25%. (Britain’s War Machine: Weapons, Resources and Experts in the Second World War, 2011)

  • Republicofscotland

    As you’ve already stated, Craig, how is it going to be possible to have a fair indyref, when the media is more than likely biased against it, as is the Civil Service? Already I feel as though I’ve been transported back to the pre-indyref 2014 and all the lies and fearmongering that went on then. Already we even have BLiS MSP Alex Rowely calling for a third option on the ballot paper to dilute the vote.

    • Cubby

      ROS not the VOW and devomax the sequel. Are there people stupid enough to fall for this nonsense? It was supposed to be delivered back in 2015 and Labour and the other British parties vetoed it in the Smith Commission.

  • Robert Wursthaus

    Economics is not a science. Economists are akin to religious leaders, they make stuff up and change their predictions to suit the outcomes. Total BS merchants.

  • Wally Jumblatt

    -was anybody happy to pay a tribute to the EU when we Brexited?
    -was there any legal obligation to pay anything?
    If we want to leave the Union, there isn’t a lock on the door or a jailkeeper barring the way.
    You lot like to get your knickers ina twist about what is right, wrong, legal, illegal or just bad manners.

    If we take independence (hopefully because a majority of the population wants it), we do not need London’s permission.
    I barely care about the UN charter on self-determination, and I couldn’t care less what the corrupt and empire-building EU says on the matter (there is no independence inside the EU fhs)

    If Westminster or Paris, or Brussels or Frankfurt doesn’t like the terms we leave on, then they’ll use their might to block trade or crush the currency. T’was ever thus. We just have to be prepred to ride it out.
    At this point, we have an entire parliament in Edinburgh of cowardly morons; there is no way they could run an independent nation. We also have a rabble who lounge about getting fat in Westminster and do nothing for us.

    If you want independence, you should set up your own government in exile and prove to the voters you are worth electing.
    This nation has countless smart people, not many of them seem to want to be in politics -but maybe there’s the rub.

    • Aden

      -was there any legal obligation to pay anything?

      In my view no, but Boris handed over the cash.

      So who pays for Scottish pensions?

        • Wee Jim

          There are no English or Scottish pensions now. There are British pensions paid out of British pension funds. In the case of civil and public servants an independent Scotland would presumably accept responsibility for paying those pensions for both current and future. retirees.

          • Bayard

            There is no “British pension fund”. State pensions are paid from state revenue and private pensions are paid by the private pension funds. In an independent Scotland, the new Scottish state would take over the paying of Scottish state pensions and the private pension funds would be unaffected.

          • Mist001

            See, this is interesting because if Scotland gained its independence, then of course, it would no longer be a part of the United Kingdom, but would it still remain a part of Great Britain or The British Isles? Physically, it would still be a part of Great Britain and If it remains British, then British pensions would be paid out of British pension funds.

          • Bayard

            “British pensions would be paid out of British pension funds.”

            Only British private pensions, to which the pensioners would be entitled by virtue of having paid their contributions, not because they were either British citizens or were resident in Britain.

    • nevermind

      thanks for that ray of hope RoS, lets hope it is a genuine attempt that is reciprocated by voices in America, Biden is not known to be sweet on him.
      My heart goes out to his wife and children, may the negotiations be swift and fruitful, nobody could take another psychological blow at this time.

    • Nick

      The Australian government obviously doesn’t have much influence on the British government (cf Patel’s disgraceful decision) and it has even less influence on the US government.

      As far as the US government is concerned, its “allies” (with the exception of Israel) are just countries administered by people who do what Washington tells them to do. If they don’t, they get “regime change”d. The CIA is quite good at that.

  • Aden

    I’m sorry but you are talking the proverbial.
    You will get all the of the civil service pension debts. You will get all of the state pension debts.
    Now you are saying you won’t get any of the assets.
    No use of the pound.
    No support for Scottish banks. Well to be more accurate, they won’t be any, they will move south within hours.
    No access to clearing.

    So no assets? How are you going to fund that?

    The security council bit is clear, you’ve left. The seat remains with the UK.

        • Bayard

          In case you hadn’t noticed, the railways were privatised some years ago. The private companies would continue to operate north of the border. The track and infrastructure would belong to the Scottish state to the extent it now belongs to the British state. Ditto shipyards. Ditto pension funds, there being no state pension fund.

          • Pears Morgaine

            Track and infrastructure belong to Network Rail which is publicly owned by the UK. Shipyards owned by Bae Systems a PLC with it’s HQ in Farnborough. UK state pension funded by NI contributions administered by central government.

            Other UK owned assets include the five nuclear power stations in Scotland of which only one is operational. Hunterston B was shut down in January and is in the process of being de-fuelled by operators EDF. The spent fuel will be sent to Sellafield for re-processing/storage after which ownership will be transferred to the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Agency which already owns the other three. Full decommissioning might take 120 years (it’s been claimed that Dounreay might be safe by 2333) with a similarly significant bill. If, as has been claimed, everything in Scotland after independence belongs to Scotland then they become Scotland’s responsibility. After all Scotland benefitted from the electricity they produced and the employment they provided. That’s before we consider the three MoD sites also awaiting clean up.

            Good luck!

          • Bayard

            “Track and infrastructure belong to Network Rail which is publicly owned by the UK.”

            So what? All the roads and road bridges are publicly owned by the UK state , too. Are you seriously suggesting that the rUK would rip up the track and demolish the bridges, simply for the small amount of scrap value that they would be worth? Even Johnson and Co aren’t that petty.

            “Shipyards owned by Bae Systems a PLC with it’s HQ in Farnborough.”

            Again are you seriously suggesting that all English companies will pull out of an independent Scotland? How would they gain from that?

            “UK state pension funded by NI contributions administered by central government.”

            Ah, that old myth. NI contributions are not ring fenced, so NI is just another tax on labour. In any case, as there is no pension fund, even if they were, after independence, Scottish workers would contribute to Scottish pensions and English and Welsh workers would contribute to English and Welsh pensions.

            Well, yes, no one is disputing that Scotland would inherit the liabilities of administering the infrastructure in Scotland. They don’t form any part of the national debt under discussion.

        • Dr Tim Rideout

          Any UK owned assets (post office, Network Rail, Faslane, etc) will become the property of ScotGov as of Independence Day. ScotGov may agree otherwise, e.g. for a building to become the UK Embassy if it so chooses as part of the negotiations. The UK is entitled to remove moveable goods such as RAF aircraft, the subs, etc. We will introduce the Scottish Pound ‘as soon as practicable’ after Independence Day. UK foreign reserves are only US$88 billion net, so any share for Scotland would be trivial. We don’t need it because the Scottish Reserve Bank will acquire £50-60 billion of Sterling reserves simply as the net proceeds of selling the Scottish Pound into existence. The banks will not ‘all move south’ unless they wish to cease doing business in Scotland. What will be moved to rUK in a subsidiary of the relevant banking group, will be all the existing Sterling bank accounts. So RBS Plc accounts in Sterling will be moved to (probably) Natwest Plc and be legally in England. RBS (Scotland) Plc will start with a zero balance sheet that will be populated by us as we switch our Sterling into the S£. It is all quite straightforward. Just see

    • Bayard

      “You will get all the of the civil service pension debts. You will get all of the state pension debts.”

      State pensions are funded from revenue, so they are not a debt, they are a liability. They are no different to the liability to pay civil service and politicians’ salaries.

  • Wee Jim

    The problem Scotland may face if it refuses to accept any share of the UK’s debt is that the British government could decide to take away the Scottish infrastructure built but not yet paid for by UK debt.

        • Bayard

          Break it down into small enough pieces and it’s completely useless. Are you suggesting the UK will pursue a “scorched earth” policy?

          • Wee Jim

            In fact, England, as the UK’s successor state, can simply refuse to contribute to completion or maintenance of Scottish infrastructure during negotiations over independence and leave it to time and the elements to do the damage.

          • Bayard

            “What’s the UK doing in NI?”

            Many things, but not removing the bridges, the energy and water supplies, the railway lines and the rolling stock and stripping the factories.

            “In fact, England, as the UK’s successor state, can simply refuse to..”

            There lots of things they can do but that doesn’t mean they are likely to do them.

      • Ray Raven

        Just because one has fallen out with the elite, does not mean one is not one of the elite.

        How does a non-elite enter the FCO and rise through its ranks to become an Ambassador? An acquaintance wants to know so that they can enact a change in their career trajectory.
        I’m quite sure the acquaintance has not ‘read’ anything at Oxbridge, but he’s a handy carpenter; if that helps.

  • Cubby

    If Scotland has to take a 10% share of the debt of the UK then Scotland should get a 10% share of the assets of the UK and that is a much better deal for Scotland than just not taking any debt. We should take Buckingham Palace or Windsor castle as part of our 10%. It would be a good country/holiday home for our President. It would help make up for Scotland helping to pay Englands national debt after the Treaty of Union 1707. Of course Scotland entered the Union with no debt.

      • Cubby

        Tim, I never said we needed the assets. Just pointing out the one sided exceptionalism of the Britnats where all they think about is offloading some of the debt THEY have accumulated whilst ripping off other nation’s resources.

  • Andrew H

    I’m not sure you are correct in stating that there will be no debt. When the UK left the EU, it was required to take on its share of EU debt (and more surprisingly even some future debt). UK debt was used amongst other things to build roads, hospitals and other infrastructure in Scotland. Will the hospitals remain the property of the UK? Will Scotland want its share of gold reserves? Who will pay the pensions of Scottish? I don’t know the answer to any of these questions – I am surprised these issues were not fully clarified before the previous referendum – I suppose there will be some withdrawal agreement, which will be worked out in detail AFTER the referendum in a similar manner to the Brexit chaos. I presume there is an option for Scotland to just walk away, just as the UK could just have walked off from the EU without any agreement – but for various reasons that is not what happened in practice.

    • Andrew H

      To be honest, I am in favour of England holding a referendum on leaving the UK – and really its England’s turn. Why should Scotland be the only part of UK given an opportunity to leave. Perhaps England first, then Wales, then NI before Scotland gets a second shot.

    • Andrew H

      Unfortunately Craig, your position appears to be disinformation. A good read is the case for the split of Ireland from UK in 1925: ( See section 2.4: “As both historical and modern contemporaries have recognised, there is no unique mechanism to apportion debts in the case of state secession.”.

      It seems there were some calculations which gave Ireland generous terms (based on the feeling that Ireland had limited capacity to pay). In the end the UK was even more generous and forgave the entire debt, for reasons pertaining to NI. (at that time UK was still an empire with significant interests in India etc.). In any case, it is clear that there will be a debt – and it is naïve to think it will be forgiven – but at this point I doubt any professor knows the amount. The UK is no longer an empire and the standard of living is not significantly lower in Scotland than the rest of the UK – to avoid massive disappointment it’d probably be best to assume a split based on gdp rather than per capita. (or work out both). The Brexiters were reprehensibly dishonest with regards to both the debt the UK would pick up, not to mention the portrayal of the promised Canada++++ trade deal.

      Of note, this historical union of two incompatible peoples can be traced back to James Stewart – so I’m inclined to think as part of any treaty the entire monarchy should be shipped back to Balmoral / Edinburgh castle where it originates.

      • Tom Welsh

        In defence of Mr Murray, I cannot believe that anything he writes in this blog can fairly be called “disinformation”. That word clearly implies an intention to deceive, which I have never seen in Mr Murray.

        At worst, he might occasionally be somewhat misinformed. (Perhaps less often than the rest of us, particularly on his “specialist subjects”).

        • Andrew H

          Fair enough – I did not intend to imply deception. (in this case just suggesting something that is inconsistent with common sense – and which could have been knocked down before posting with a little research by an educated person. Obviously ‘common sense’ probably depends on where you stand, and I am always amazed by the number of people who appear to have a great deal of common sense, except on all matters relating to money). The test will come when someone goes on national tv to put forward this type of ‘windfall’ proposal. If sovereignty cannot be obtained without making ludicrous suggestions of evading debt – then it is a lost cause.

      • Dr Tim Rideout

        Yes, but Ireland did not take any share of UK National Debt in 1922. The only thing Ireland agreed to pay was a 1906 Liberal Government scheme which had provided loans to tenant farmers to buy out their landlords. As the farmers had to repay the loans (over something like 40 years) then the Irish government carried on collecting the repayments and passed them to London. They stopped doing that around 1936, and eventually London wrote off the balance.

    • Jimmeh

      The “debt” the UK took on from the EU wasn’t some kind of per-capita sharing of EU “national debt”, it was liabilities that the UK had accepted under treaty terms. This was for things like pensions for Eurocrats; that is, a lot of it was future liabilities, not current debt. Those obligations were not dissolved by Brexit. If the UK had just “walked away”, they would have been sued.

      I don’t think Scottish independence is comparable; Scotland has no treaty obligation to pay future UK civil service pensions. In fact it has no treaty obligations at all; only states can make treaties.

      With respect to fixed assets like hospitals and railways, I don’t see why a newly-independent Scotland couldn’t simply nationalise them, if the rump UK decided to get awkward.

      • Andrew H

        How to explain this in a way that is relatable.

        Four friends Bob, Ewan, Jiimmy and Sean go for a night of heavy drinking – putting everything on the tab. When it comes time to pay, the bill is 120 quid. Bob suggests they each cough up 30. Jimmy has other ideas. “Och nay, i kenno understand – i only came because you sed it would be drinking, no mention of paying and i only hed a few drams – it would make mo sense if I leave now”.

        • Bayard

          “How to explain this in a way that is relatable.”

          Except that it is not relatable. In real life, Scotland was not party to incurring the debt. A relatable situation would be where Bob invited Ewan, Jimmy and Sean for a session and provided the drinks, then tried to split the cost at the end of the evening.

          • Andrew H

            Of course Scotland was party to incurring the debt – as a member of the union it has representation. Gordon Brown was no less than chancellor and presided over the bail out of the Bank of Scotland. UK debt increased massively during this period. This is mostly irrelevant – divorce courts are not interested in listening to “he was controlling / she was spendy” type of arguments.

          • Bayard

            “Of course Scotland was party to incurring the debt – as a member of the union it has representation.”

            By “Scotland” I mean an independent Scotland. Sure, Scotland has its own parliament now and debts incurred by the decisions of that parliament would remain with the government of an independent Scotland. However, the Scottish Parliament is not responsible for debt incurred on its behalf by Westminster. So what if some of the MPs represent constuencies in Scotland? They are not part of the Scottish government.

          • Alf Baird

            In colonialism, native elites are always in league with the oppressor, which is why ‘colonialism is a cooperative venture’ (Memmi).

            Where one is born is of less relevance than where one’s parents come from and in terms of their culture and identity.

  • Cynicus

    I posted a similar, if less eloquent, “no debt “ argument on another forum last year. But I did not have the benefit of Professor Kay’s £180 billion estimate. Let us take it at face value.

    Given that there are 2.5 million Scottish households then Scottish independence effectively yields a gift of £72,000 to each of them (180,000 millions divided by 2.5 millions).

    This, of course, depends on Rump Yookay winning status as the successor state to ponce around the world as a wee pretendy Global Power.

    As Craig points out, its downside is that they take the successor state’s debt with them, including Prof Kay’s £180bn.

  • Craig P

    Is this the John Kay who said in 2014 that financially, Scotland would be neither particularly better nor worse off with independence? Doesn’t sound like a raging unionist.

    My understanding is the debt share could be zero bur will be a matter of negotiation – the white paper in 2013 discussed a population share of debt as one option. That of course depends on a satisfactory allocation of assets. Which is where you may well be right Craig, should the UK government prove incapable of negotiating a mutually acceptable deal.

  • Tom Welsh

    Professors of economics may be somewhat ignorant of international law. Just as seasoned international diplomats may be prone to ignore some of the practical realities of economics and finance.

  • Nick

    Your substantive point about the law may possibly be correct (though I note that you are not a lawyer, either); but if you quoted Kay correctly, his sentence starting “It may be reasonable to assume …” does not express “ludicrous confidence”. Nor does he assume that the operation of international law brings about the division of debt (“explicitly or implicitly”).

    You go on to insult Kay in crude terms, which convey nothing about Kay, but something about you personally. By the way he is Scottish, having been born in Edinburgh.

    • nevermind

      So it is reasonable to assume that such a lax comment by the Prof. would have not been forwarded by Nick, as it is far too ludicrous for a genuine factual publication.

      As for the rest of your critic, it says to me that your err seems to be with Craig personally, the Prof. very likely had far more acidic and abrasive comments by his peers in the past.
      Maybe you can ask him to comment on the substantual argument and the possible wishy washy conclusions these 180 billions/or nothing wiĺl have on a SNP campaign for Independence, which is also as clear as mud.
      Finally, Independence is only as good an idea as it is seen by all it matters to, how open it is and how it works for all. It will not work with a secretive self-preserving entity as it is present now.
      Do you want to see Independence from England, Nick?

    • Bayard

      Starting a sentence ““It may be reasonable to assume …” is classic Project Fear, in particular, the use of the word “may”. If it is reasonable to assume something as a premise for an argument, then it should be stated as so, “It is reasonable to assume..” If it is not reasonable to assume something, then it shouldn’t be assumed. Assumptions themselves are guesses about something the protaganist of an argument does not have hard facts on. To further cast doubt on their reasonableness in this manner can only be for one purpose, which is to present a falsehood with plausible deniability, which is the hallmark of Project Fear.

      • Hubert Rhoads

        “… to present a falsehood with plausible deniability”, the MO of the security services and the basis for the faux ‘science’ of economics.

        [ Mod: ‘Stevie Boy’, you’re welcome to use your original name – but please stop posting under other aliases. Multiple identities are not allowed here. ]

      • Pigeon English

        I disagree, in negotiation or in uncertainty ” it may be reasonable to assume” sounds reasonable to assume(not guaranteed)

        • Bayard

          How convinced would you be by an argument that started “It is unreasonable to assume….” and then proceeded to argue from those very assumptions?

  • frankywiggles

    It’s a remarkable state of affairs where some Scottish people are still scrambling in 2022 for any spurious reason to justify being ruled by the English; indeed by utterly contemptuous Old Etonian English Conservatives. Is it all some sick Orange Glasgow Rangers thing?

    • Brice_H

      I don’t think it is reasonable to just assume it is totally obvious that to break up the union is the only way forward. In other parts of Europe nationalism isn:t doing too well at present

      • Bruce_H

        It’s Bruce_H

        [ Mod: You’re sending the name “Brice_H” in the Name field when you post comments. If you’d like to change it to “Bruce_H”, then check the name before you post. (If it keeps returning to “Brice_H”, then clear your browser cookies for this site.) ]

      • frankywiggles

        I’m not sure which parts you’re referring to, but I doubt you’d convince them that being ruled by English Conservatives is the way forward.

    • Cynicus

      “Is it all some sick Orange Glasgow Rangers thing?”

      Not all. That is only part of the story. And an over/simplified part. You perhaps have in mind events in Glasgow’s George Square the day after the independence referendum:

      First, most pro-Union supporters including (at least, officially, the OO) abhor this sort of stuff. That is true even of West Central Scotland. The further removed from Glasgow/Lanarkshire, the greater the disgust, including among unionists.

      Secondly, there is no monolithic “Orange Glasgow Rangers thing”. Some Rangers supporters are stalwarts of the independence movement. One notable example is the pro-independence blogger, Roddy McLeod – a staunch Rangers man.

  • Highlander

    I have a sneaking suspicion, that as during the WW2 parliament and the various parties created a unity government, until the end of hostilities. Suspending the rights of all these nations to certain aspects of freedoms and rights, which were supposed to be reintroduced at the end of hostilities.
    Such as the rights of individuals to opt for trial by jury to stop the police or government going to excesses, fines, unfair laws etc. If found guilty by a jury, in these cases, the individual faces far fiercer penalties, so in practice few opted, for this option, but it also kept police and government excesses to a minimum.
    This was never reintroduced, no surprise there then.

    The firing of the pistol, for another referendum, is to all intents and purposes a red herring. Why?
    It’s American and English establishment foreign strategy and policy that we shall be at war with
    Russia and the Russian federation in the next six months.
    May I point out, the movement of troops to Kaliningrad, the strategic movement of weapons both conventional and nuclear to Europe, to the Russian borders.
    The Nazi run Ukrainian military (a fact not mentioned in the western press), lost the war, more than a month ago, and the attrition of 1000 plus Ukrainians killed per day, every day, by the Russians, also hidden from the western media and press. This has been the plan for a long time!
    May I point out, conscription of our sons and daughters went though its second reading in the English Parliament ten years ago. Then it was then sisted by the proposers, to go through its final reading as and when required, before becoming law. Conscription can become law in these nations within days.
    No, there will be no referendum, not for years to come, unless we look at past history of how our young in previous generations, and how they were fodder for English wars and act now!
    A simple way and very enlightened way to prove to yourself the horrors that await our young, just look at the war memorial in Nottingham, two names WW1-2. The go to any village in Scotland and see name after name. Or better still find out about st Vallery……. still subject today, to a “D” notice. Where our young generations and Scots regiments of the Scots nation were left to stand to last man and last bullet, slaughtered and fodder, ordered by Churchill. This affected every household in Scotland, and we aren’t even allowed to read these facts.
    Now, do you understand what’s in front, of us all, our future, the future of our sons and daughters! Today, is the day. Do you trust an American and American passport holder, called Pfeffel, his real name, not Boris Johnstone or that he has your nations interests at heart? A proven liar, proroguing parliament, based on lies, starving English people with his IMF austerity policies. Removing any and all MPs that don’t follow the American facist policies….. just a few of his dictatorial inclinations.
    I won’t mention the American nuclear missile sites on the west coast of Scotland other than the fact, if America fires one nuclear missile from Scotland to Russia or Russian troops? Where do you think, Russia will fire back, apart from the south of England. And Russian nuclear and convential missiles can travel at Mach 30 plus.
    We can change our future if we grab our future with both hands.

  • DiggerUK

    Getting stroppy about who pays the divorce bill, and if a tip should be proffered, is putting a knackered horse behind a battered old cart.
    First a referendum MUST be held. The reason being is to establish if the majority of Scots actually want independence. It would be out of order for a minority to force a majority to accept what they didn’t want.

    Dismissing the ballot box because you declare those who didn’t vote the way you wanted as ignorant, stupid, bigoted or misguided, is not the way things are done these days. The ballot box ain’t perfect, but the only alternative to the ballot box is the bullet box. I know what I prefer…_

    • nevermind

      Digger, are you advocating a Scottish vote for those born in Scotland and residing there? a similar referendum to that of the EU excluding all that are born in the EU, but who are residing in the UK?

      • DiggerUK

        It would have to be a vote for Scottish voters in the first instance. That itself is problematic inasmuch as non Scottish voters in Scotland would be allowed to participate, I don’t have a problem with that, but some will.

        As independence could break the Union it would be a legitimate and understandable demand for a referendum for those in the rest of the UK, I imagine that would be unacceptable to scotnats.
        Such a referendum could be disallowed; again, I would have no problem with that. But let’s not run away with the repercussions of ignoring UK unionists, there are strong feelings both ways, alongside those like myself who would go with the decision of the Scottish electorate.

        There is a lot of dilettante nonsense on this blog in favour of scotindependence; if it wasn’t led by somebody with a reputation for other notable activities it would be a fringe of a fringe on the edge of lunacy. But free speech is as we find it, not as we like it…

        • frankywiggles

          Yes it is unfortunate that free speech is permitted beyond the reactionary ravings of gammon. Perhaps that’ll be the next thing to be remedied by our government.

        • Bayard

          “But let’s not run away with the repercussions of ignoring UK unionists, “

          What about those in the UK outside Scotland who are in favour of Scottish independence? Mind you, I doubt they will be given a say, because Project Fear would backfire spectacularly. Every argument as to why Scotland currently depends on the UK for funding, which is one against Scottish independence for Scots, is one for Scottish independence for the English and Welsh.

          • DiggerUK


            “What about those in the UK outside Scotland who are in favour of Scottish independence”

            Whereas I reach for my pistol when the half wits sing the praises of the EU, nobody even raises the possibility of a federal union betwixt the constituent countries of the UK, based on intergovernmental cooperation, as opposed to the tyranny of the supranational EU.

            I’m a freeborn englishman, who longs for my own national history and culture to be acknowledged and protected. I’d happily do that in a federal British Union between all constituent countries of the British Isles…_

          • Bayard

            DUK, you mean a federation like Scotland enjoyed for a hundred years before the shysters talked them out of it?

          • Pigeon English

            …..”why Scotland currently depends on the UK for funding” it’s very simple and unfair. It’s Central bank of ENGLAND !!! With it’s own central bank things might be different for better or worse

        • Pigeon English

          It’s funny how million Brit’s abroad living more than 15 years outside of UK could not vote but EU citizens living more than 15 years in UK could not either. If Brit’s abroad lost connection to UK after 15 years so I might got connection to UK after living more than 15 years.And you Brexiters have audacity to call it fair and square.

    • Highlander

      The scots nation won independence in 1979. The majority voted for it! It took twenty seven years for the United Nations to organise the report for the security council! The verdict, from the United Nations, either give Scotland its electoral result, or England and its reprentatives would be thrown out of the United Nations…….. and Europe!
      Hence the modicum of independence we now have, Thank you Mr Sillars, and Margo McDonald to mention but a few!

  • Pigeon English

    I am passionate about Debt, Money creation, role of Central banks and exciting about Scottish Independence for no rational reason!
    Money, debt , deficit, money creation, international/Eu/ financial rules are important to Scottish independens. So called Britnats will concentrate on those issues and there are to options. Have reasonable answers or going Brexit way and talking BS.

    You’re welcome to follow the discussion on Scottish debt, Scottish Central Bank,Scottish money creation & Int. rules in the Craig Murray discussion forum.

  • Ian Smith

    Of all the possible role models for independence Scotland could follow, Ukraine is surely not the poster boy.

    Debt free, with abundance of resources and great geographical advantages to make a go of a country, it quickly became one of the most corrupt in the world, lowest standard of living in Europe, vastly unequal, looted both domestically and internationally by politically connected gangsters, coup ridden, hideously racist, mired in civil war, a pawn of globalist proxy battles, dirty biochemical laboratories, political assassinations, media crackdowns, book burnings, until its final complete destruction happening in front of our eyes.

    And all the evidence shows that Scotland’s current batch of politicians, and the strength and independence of our institutions are not any better than what Ukraine inherited.

    Surely there has to be a better model of separation to aim for.

    • Geoffrey

      It might have been better for Ukraine if it had taken it’s share of the Soviet debt, and attempted good relations with it’s Eastern neighbour, rather than inviting Nato to point missiles at it.

      • mark golding

        I agree Geoffrey –
        International efforts should focus on promoting a negotiated settlement in Ukraine, not using the war as an occasion to isolate Russia, much less weaken it. Calls for mediation ensures that U.S. efforts to bankrupt Russia and demote her to pariah status will fall despite US insistence and exigence to an increasingly chaotic and dangerous world that Russia ‘invaded’ Ukraine.

        Most states want to protect some important benefits they derive from their relationship with Moscow. They also believe that publicly condemning Russia will do nothing to end the war in Ukraine.

  • Holly

    Knowing very little about this, I presume an independent Scotland will be 100% financing it’s own future healthcare, education and social housing etc? I thought that part of the reason the last referendum resulted in a no was because they couldn’t afford it. What’s changed? How many times can you have a referendum? As a Brexit remainer we were told that we had to accept the result.

  • Lord Byron

    The British government keeps 100% of the national debt, and 90% of the paperclips in Holyrood, and 90% of the M8. etc. All not very grown-up.

    Ukraine is not a good comparator: They couldn’t afford to pay the police or turn the streetlights on. The army fed itself by selling weapons. You can imagine how the police fed itself.

      • yesindyref2

        In 2021 before the Russians invaded Ukraine, Ukraine’s credit ratings were B, stable or positive.

        Their debt to GDP was 48.9%, compared to the UK’s 102.8%.

  • Lord Byron

    Maybe the successor State would keep all the national debt and all of Mr Murray’s civil service pension. And negociations could be carried out by six-year-olds in a playground.

  • yesindyref2

    The UK Government clearly set their absolute priority for the rUK or whatever it wants to call itself (as Michael Forsyth Tory ex-Secretry of State for Scotland said in the House of Lords as he made it very plain that if Scotland left the UK, the UK would cease to exist) post-YES negotiations, and that was that they needed to be the Continuing UK – the cUK. So they need the UK NOT to cease to exist. This was set out in their first paper with their effevtively advocates Crawford & Boyle remitted to do this very thing – set out the case for the rUK to be the cUK, and then work from there to show that the cUK would keep the seat on the Security Council, keep the NATO, World Bank, IMF memberships – and at the time, that of the EU.

    That would have made them very weak in post-YES negotiations, and Scotland very strong. Scotland “owns” a share of the name “UK”, by definition, similarly the Pound Sterling, and other intangible assets. But unlike the rUK, we don’t need them, as we have our own clear brand – Scotland.

    From that point of view, what the world would generally accept is a negotiated settlement between the rUK (whatever it wants to call itself like EWNI), and Scotland.

    There is a Convention – the Vienna Convention on Succession of States in Respect of State Property, Archives and Debts – Vienna, 8 April 1983, which was only signed or ratified by 7 states – curiously including Ukraine. So it has no force, but can be referred to as a guide.

    If the rUK wants to be the cUK, then that leaves Scotland to “secede” from the UK, and that secession means that the cUK does indeed own all the debt, and that Scotland can take a share – if we want. It also means the cUK would be responsible for making sure the “new state” – Scotland – got off to an economically viable start in life. As far as property is concerned, the cUK would have all movable property, and very clearly, fixed property remains where it is. There shall be no ripping up of motorways, buildings, even fences and walls, nor of docks, keys, harbours, hangars, control towers, or, presumably, even masts, though sensitive electronics could be removed.

    Kay is indeed talking through his hat, I presume it’s multi-coloured with a long peak and bells on it.