A farmers' lobby group have successfully managed to repeal an ancient law affecting how berry-pickers work. Some farmers say that illegal immigrant Eastern European berry-pickers have been taking advantage of the law and stuffing themselves so full that they could not pick any more berries. After a long-running campaign, the UK coalition government has finally given in and is now going to bring an end to "one for me, one for the bucket".
The law dates back to 1215, where it was an integral part of the Magna Carta. In the section entitled "Pickerf of Berrie", it says, "For everye berrie thy picker fhall pick, he may tak anothre for hif oen confumption." So for most of English history, "one for me, one for the bucket" was statutory law. In actual practice though, most berry-pickers were too honest and polite to eat so much, preferring instead to snack on their own pork scratchings. This led to British berries and jams being renowned for their distinctly porky taste.
During the First World War, the law was changed to protect farmers. It said that "for every berry a picker eats, he must put at least 10 into the basket", which was close to the standard practice of the day. The law changed yet again when Britain joined the EU, as EU-wide berry-picking rules were a watered-down version of the French law. The French version roughly translated to "I'll eat as many berries as I want and if I can't then I'll go on strike and have the farmer's daughter too." In practice, this meant a return to "one for me, one for the bucket".
After a number of high-profile cases of over-consumption of berries by Eastern Europeans, UK farmers found that it was becoming much too hard to implement the rule. They decided that they had finally had enough, and have now managed to have the law completely repealed. From this summer onwards, berry-pickers will have to wear a muzzle.