Following the announcement of Dozy Dai's intention of taxing fatty foods comes news that Southampton Council have banned blackberry picking on the Common.
It's all too easy to translate that into a conspiracy to stop us feeding ourselves so we can't avoid the eventual tax on all foods. So I won't. It's not anyway, not yet. Too soon.
Actually, what the council have banned is the organised picking expeditions set up by the man complaining about them, and as they can't tell the difference between one person and twenty, they have effectively allowed their Stasi to arrest anyone picking one blackberry in passing.
What's interesting here is not the ban in itself. That's just another council proving that the reason they are voted for rather than voting is that they are all too stupid to spell 'X'.
The interesting parts are as follows:
Firstly, that the council believe they have any right to stop anyone picking wild fruit on public land and that they feel justified in using outright lies to make their case. Here, they first claimed it was because of the newts - which do not eat blackberries and which live in ponds, where blackberries are seldom found. Nobody could expect the average council moron to know this.
Then they switched to some nonsense about 'the environment' which has never, is not and never will be affected by any number of people pulling blackberries off a spiky plant. No, it won't result in thousands of people doing it all year round and trampling all over 'the environment' because they can't start until the blackberries ripen and they'll stop when the blackberries are all gone. This problem cannot manifest. It is not possible. Blackberries are only available for a few weeks of the year. The reason they are available at all is that wildlife can't eat them all.
The reason my blueberry bush has had no blueberries on it for the last two years is that the blackbirds have found it and while it's still small, they can eat them all. So I'm having their blackberries. Sod them.
What is of concern is the precedent. If councils believe they can ban this, they believe they can ban anything. Anything at all. Also, when (not if) we have a tax on food, anyone picking blackberries or even growing their own food will be branded a tax-dodger. As are those who now buy tobacco or drink from overseas or from Man with a Van or who produce their own. The precedent for that accusation is well entrenched already.
Secondly, the comments -
Birds are not squirrels. They do not store food. Their nests do not include chest freezers full of blackberries and cherries and blueberries and all the little bits the feathery bastards picked off my plums. Birds either migrate or find what they can in winter and in my garden, I make sure they have seed and fat balls all through the snow. No hard feelings on the plums. I had plums to spare this year, I didn't even begrudge the wasps a few.
Squirrels store nuts - including acorns which we aren't much interested in eating. Not blackberries or any other fungus-inducing fruits.Sensible animals store dry foods for winter. They don't want to eat mouldy food.
We are not taking other animals' food by picking wild fruit. We are animals too and we didn't always have supermarkets, you know. Besides, have you seen what supermarkets charge for raspberries and blackberries, both of which grow for free all over the place?
I have raspberries in my garden. I didn't plant them. The birds eat the wild ones nearby then sit on the fence and shit seeds on my garden. The birds planted those raspberries so that's fair trade for the plums and the fat-balls, I suppose.
They also planted them right next to the fence which is ideal for tying in the canes, and they put them on the sunny side too. Good gardeners, those birds. I'll put out extra fat balls this winter.