IF the 115 inhabitants of La Toba (Guadalajara, northern Spain) comply with its latest municipal proclamation it could perhaps be renamed Utopia.
During the council’s last plenary meeting, all present agreed that good manners were dying out in and the upshot was a mayoral proclamation hoping to revive them.
As well as dealing with building permits, licences, noise levels and cautions regarding litter, the council’s latest municipal proclamation includes a section with recommendations for harmonious co-existence.
“Cover the mouth with the hand when coughing or sneezing and turn aside from other people,” is some of the advice to be found in “Additional Regulation No 6.”
“Greet those present when entering or leaving closed premises,” it continues. “Identify yourself when making a telephone call so that the other person knows who is speaking.
“Do not fart in public, do not spit, do not give nicknames to third parties or laugh at the physical or mental defects of others.
Thank anybody who does you a favour, use ‘please’ when asking for something, give help when someone needs it.
Visit family and friends when they are unwell, do not ill-treat the weak or defenceless.
Do not speak with the mouth full, do not slurp soup.
“Avoid making people feel disgusted, create a relaxed atmosphere, make communication easy, be generous and honour the fruits of labour, recognise others’ freedom to decide and respect their property,” are the final recommendations.
The proclamation was included in Guadalajara’s Official Bulletin on March 9 and created an unexpected stir – particularly the ban on breaking wind in public – inside the village and further afield.
La Toba’s young mayor, Julian Atienza Garcia, later clarified on the town hall’s website that breaching the proposals did not mean fines or sanctions.
They were suggestions, a route map for courtesy, values and social skills, he explained.
However, under-age residents who infringe other municipal by-laws will be able to avoid sanctions if they can show they know and understood the recommendations.