British Prime Minister David Cameron will shortly unveil a plan to boost the U.K government's sagging finances in which India and other members of the Commonwealth of Nations would be asked to pay for the use of the English language, the Daily Currant can reveal.
The plan comes amid the news that the U.K. economy has plunged back into recession and highlights the growing economic gap between Britain - which once dominated the world economy for centuries - and its far more prosperous former colonies.
The proposed "Anglophone solidarity contribution" would be based on the number of English speakers per country
The proposed "Anglophone solidarity contribution" would be based on the number of English speakers per country. India - with at least an estimated 125 million English speakers - would be asked to pay the most, followed by Nigeria, Canada, Pakistan, and Australia. The rate will initially be set at 2 pounds per speaker, but could rise in future.
"English is the global language of business, art, science, and commerce. Those countries lucky enough to have been exposed to the language early in their history have a responsibility to ensure the fiscal sustainability of the linguistic heritage zone," explains an adviser to the U.K. prime minister.
For the moment the plan excludes the United States - the largest Anglophone country in the world. The U.S. parted with British rule over two centuries ago is not a member of The Commonwealth. It also has pressing budget problems of its own.
The reaction to the request in New Delhi, Lagos, Ottawa, and Canberra is uncertain. Some experts say Commonweath governments will reject the plan out of hand , outraged that their taxpayers - many of them in poverty - should be asked to subside the British state.
Other analysts think the plan might stand a chance, however. Richard Waterberg, a professor of South Asian studies at Georgetown, explains:
"In the grand scheme of things, for an economy with 1.2 billion people its not much money. Maybe the Indians will have pity on them. It's kind of like taking your elderly grandfather out to dinner. You might spend a little more money than you like, but it makes you feel good inside."