By our senior political correspondent.
The Whitley Pump has unearthed secret plans to end austerity in Reading by forging closer links with the Russian Federation. Moscow is offering financial support if the town “Russianises” its schools by teaching Russian instead of French, and if the council transliterates town signage into the Russian Cyrillic alphabet, as shown in the above map of Katesgrove (Кеатс-гров).
The funding comes as part of Russia’s international friendship project, called Comrades: we know where you live, which aims to woo people in western European democracies who have shown signs of frustration with their government in recent years.
Other plans to use the new Russian money include:
- a statue of Karl Marx to replace the advertising screen outside the railway station,
- a new Palace of Aquatic Arts (an Olympic-sized swimming pool) controlled by a new Commissar of Sport,
- the renaming of Reading FC to FC Lokomotiv Reading in recognition of the town’s historic association with the locomotive industry,
- adoption of Moscow time as local time.
Businesses in Reading will benefit from adopting the Moscow time zone, which is three hours ahead of GMT, because they will be able to out-compete businesses in other parts of the UK by starting work three hours earlier. The town’s night-time economy will not be affected as licensing hours will be extended to compensate.
Russian commissioners withdrew a proposal to replace the elected members of Reading Borough Council with a workers’ council permanently occupied by identikit members of a single party after deciding they could make no improvement on the current arrangement.
The autonomous republic of Reading (Автономна Республика Рэдиния) will seek independent diplomatic links and its own international trade agreements, although the shift to a more stable currency such as the rouble may cause trade friction with the rest of Berkshire (Баркистан). Relations with Bracknell (Бракноград) are expected to improve, as that town had already adopted a more Soviet approach to town planning in the 1970s.
A spokesperson said:
We are quite frankly fed up with government austerity and being held back by the failure to grant Reading the city status it deserves. These new Russian links will be a boost to the local economy and the town’s cultural and leisure facilities.