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'a clean sheet of paper'

Posted by Ward Fredericks on March 25, 2004

In a message concerning a decision someone had to make, I used the expression --- 'you now have a clean sheet of paper'. That's a phrase used in the US to denote a situation where a decision can be made without reference to prior events or be limited or affected by past happenings. Most decisions have historical connections and precedent which serve to limit options. Some decisions (they rarely occur) are wholly open -- they can be considered to have no predisposition.
Is this expression used elsewhere? If not, is there another phrase which indicates a decision which is not dependent on other factors?