Let us look in more detail at Scotland’s Buckfast violence epidemic

I Tweeted about the ‘terrible’ problems that Buckfast Tonic Wine (and it is really wine in a euphemistic sense) seems to be causing in Scotland as reported on the BBC News website a bit earlier and in a documentary on BBC Scotland to be broadcast later today. We need to look at this is a bit more carefully.

Just about all we are told is that in the three years between 2006 and 2009 Strathclyde police reports specifically mention Buckfast Tonic Wine a total of 5638 times, 450 of which are violent crimes including 114 instances of Buckfast bottles being used as weapons.

However, a look at Strathclyde police crime statistics show that 1.33 million crimes were reported during this period, of which 34497 were violent. This means that Buckfast was mentioned in 0.43% of the total crimes reported on or 1.3% if you specifically look at violent crime. Buckfast bottles used as weapons in these violent crimes account for 0.33% of the total amount.

Furthermore, the information presented is totally meaningless as they don’t give comparisons of other kinds of alcohol being mentioned in crime reports. Consequently, we don’t really know about the over-representation of Buckfast as crime-fuel.

One might also wonder whether the following points might cast any further doubt on the statistical significance of the findings of the BBC’s fearless investigative journalists.

  • It is one of the most deprived areas in the UK.
  • Buckfast accounts of 1% total alcohol consumption in the area.
  • Buckfast has long been the drink associated with the Scottish ‘Ned’ culture; ‘chavs’ as we now call them in England.
  • Crime rates for young, poor, under-educated men are a lot higher than in the rest of the population.
  • If Buckfast was to be magically removed from the shop shelves, it doesn’t take the sharpest tool in the box to realise its consumers would not suddenly realise the error of their ways and switch to carrot juice with wheatgrass extract, but rather switch to another iconic, cheap, high-alcohol drink. In five years time we would, no doubt, have the BBC preaching to us the evils of its chav-friendly replacement, no matter what it was.

I could go on, but I think I have wasted enough time on this sloppy piece of journalism which is unusually misleading and vacuous even by the generally laughable standards of the neo-prohibitionist cronies in the media.

Much better than this kind of drivelly old toss that the BBC report is the Daily Mash’s article on drinking in Scotland. I think it is better to laugh than be worried by the scare-mongering rubbish that is constantly forced down our throats.