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Bingo Hideout debate, is Buckfast wine really cause of violence?

  • 18 Jan 10
  • Written by Charlotte Widmore

Rab and BuckfastThe team in the Bingo Hideout office were having a debate this morning about a story regarding Buckfast wine and violent crime, and we wondered what our readers thoughts are on the subject.  The story relates to a BBC Scotland Investigates programme that is due to be screened this evening where it is revealed that I in 10 violent crimes reported in Scotland have had Buckfast wine mentioned in the crime reports.  The BBC Scotland programme seems to attempt to pin a similar tag as the now famous and hideous  ‘wife beater’ nickname of a high strength lager sold all over the country, to the fortified wine. In fact Buckfast wine does have a few nicknames of its own including ‘Brewed by Monks for Drunks’ and ‘Commotion lotion’.

Poor and deprived historically have turned to drink for solace

Quite a few in the Bingo Hideout office believe that if 1 in 10 crimes in Scotland have had Buckfast wine mentioned, then what about the other 9 out of 10 – surely that is also important, what common denominator do they have? Also the fact that Buckfast wine is mentioned in Scottish crime reports surely is purely symptomatic and more indicative of an association between alcohol and violent crime. The Telegraph today also carried an article on the subject, in the report the Superintendent of Strathclyde Police, Bob Hamilton is quoted as saying ‘that the figures showed a “clear” association between the drink, which contains the same amount of caffeine as eight cans of Coke, and violence’.  If this is the case then surely the popular mixed drink of Vodka and Red Bull in modern culture would also figure strongly in violent crime reports?

Historically there has always been a link between alcohol abuse and economically deprived communities and with associated anti-social behaviour.  One only has to look back at 18th century England and the association with gin and the poor, which gave the spirit its still common nickname ‘mothers ruin’ and also at the classic engraving by William Hogarth ‘Gin Lane’ for evidence of this.  The fact is, those with alcohol problems will chase the cheapest and the strongest alcohol to obtain the desired effect, the more that is drunk the more likely there will be for trouble.

Buckfast wine the cause or the symptom?

There are calls for the drink to be banned because of the association with crime, and we wonder would this help? Surely dealing with the symptom is never going to make the cause go away! So is Buckfast the cause or the symptom of violent crime, what do Bingo Hideout readers think? After all if it was found that a particular model of car was the preferred model used by drink drivers, would this car be banned?  We are sure that when the Buckfast Abbey Benedictine monks first produced the wine way back in 1890 (see Wikipedia article for more historical information), that they never once contemplated that it would become the subject of such controversy.

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