The Council of Blimey, a small town in northern England, has controversially passed a motion to implement the unique Personal Guarantee Act. In accordance with this groundbreaking ruling, Personal Guarantees can now be used by residents to resolve petty domestic squabbles, public fracases, or fully-fledged pub brawls.
The concept is simple. "It doesn't matter whether someone is right or wrong," explains town mayor Igor Narrant, "a Personal Guarantee made by any individual must be accepted as truth and fact by everyone present. Effectively this takes away the potential for any disagreement or debate within the community. It's a bit like swearing on your mother's life, only it's legally binding."
Council are hoping that the eradication of all differences of opinion will help Blimey become known as "the most easy-going town in the England" and provide a much needed boost to floundering local tourism. In 2008 Blimey has received just seven visitors, four of whom were family members in the same car that only stopped for pasties at the bakery. Yet since news of the new law has begun to spread this week, the local tourist office has reportedly been inundated with over three phone calls per day.
A crucial clause in the Act states that before any argument is able to escalate the disputing parties must place their guarantees against one another in a showdown. Independent investigators then promptly solve the issue and declare a winner. "The very first showdown took place on Tuesday," Mayor Narrant said. "Craig the Butcher was certain that Charlie Sheen had starred in The Mighty Ducks, but sadly lost his Personal Guarantee to courageous housewife Judy who correctly guaranteed that it was actually Charlie's half-brother Emilio Estevez."
Craig the Butcher must subsequently wear a badge of shame at all times to remind everyone that his word is meaningless and cannot be taken seriously. And despite being the only butcher in town, he has also been forced to remove the sign out the front claiming, "guaranteed lowest prices".
Mayor Narrant defended the harshness of the punishment, admitting that whilst it is a shame for the butcher, "a precedent must be set and it is my belief that his mistake will serve as a warning to the town not to throw their unproven beliefs around lightly."
And the message seems to be getting through. A survey of 93 residents revealed that 87 per cent had ceased taking unnecessary risks such as giving directions to motorists and helping friends with crossword puzzles, even when they knew they were right. (Researchers acknowledge that findings are usually based on a minimum of 100 respondents. However considering no more than 93 people could actually be found in Blimey they claim their study is as fair a representation as possible.)
Whilst residents have generally supported the concept, some disgruntled sections of the community - specifically Rita the fortuneteller, three small children, and an advertising agency - have pleaded that their livelihoods depend on being able to mislead, lie and make false guarantees.
The angry mob even marched in protest yesterday brandishing placards declaring "BLIMEY COUNCIL ARE INCOMPETENT FOOLS - WE PERSONALLY GUARANTEE IT". Nervous councillors have so far been unwilling to personally guarantee that they are not in fact incompetent fools.
In further developments, it is rumored that Council's plan to produce mugs, fridge magnets and t-shirts bearing the slogan "Blimey - Guaranteed to be Easy Going", has been discarded due to fears that should any visitor not enjoy themselves the entire town's Personal Guarantee would be forfeited and all merchandise would have to be destroyed.
Whether or not the new law proves to be a success - one thing is for certain, (rather, one thing is highly likely but in no way guaranteed) - this will put the town of Blimey on the map for a long time to come.