Curry Mallet, a village of 302 in southern Somerset, has broken ranks with the rest of England's small settlements by announcing publicly that it does not want drivers to go through it whether they drive carefully or not. A sign to this effect was put up at the entry to the village last night.
Some analysts now fear that many other harrassed hamlets may follow suit. Potentially it might lead to the worst outbreak of rural off-handness since 1976, when a dissident group of Suffolk villages asked tour coaches if they wouldn't mind awfully not parking in the lanes by their manor houses.
'I'm fed up with doing the polite middle-class thing,' Curry Mallet told reporters at a press conference last night. 'Are these townie muppets interested in my Norman church? Are they even stopping for a reasonably priced lunch at the Dog & Partridge? Are they bollocks - they're just cutting through me to get to the bright lights of Taunton.'
In recent years, the issue of passing outsiders has divided England's villages but without any progress. Nutley in Sussex has argued that there are no grounds to object to those driving at under 50 mph while Eastleach Martin in Gloucestershire suggested amending the standard signs to 'Come Through If You Really Must', but now Curry Mallet is making a stand.
'Look, I don't care how fast they go, I just want them to piss off and annoy someone else for a change,' it said. 'Actually, they may as well razz through at 60 - other than their stupid Renaults, the thing they're most likely to damage is the boot-ugly extension that pillock Derek Harmsworth put on his flash-Harry house last year, which is fine with me. And as for that wife of his, talk about all fur coat and no knickers. Tsssshh.'