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Saturday 1 July 2017

Muslim Pub Closure Blaming WRONG

One of the first lessons taught in the study of statistics is that of what is called spurious correlation: that the change in one population might mirror another, but has no influence upon it. In the 1960s, the classic spurious correlation was between the penguin population at the South Pole and road traffic accidents in the UK.
The lesson of spurious correlation has clearly escaped Sam Bowman of the Adam Smith Institute, that museum of outdated economic thought that has fraudulently appropriated the name of the founder of economics, who has enthusiastically latched on to an article by Noah Carl titled “Why has London lost so many pubs?” Bowman says the Scary Muslims (tm) done it: “Interesting! Change in percentage Muslim strongly predicts change in the number of pubs across London boroughs”. Ed West of the Spectator agrees.
This is taking the fact that the vast majority of adult Muslims do not drink alcohol and concluding that this explains a reduction in the number of pubs, which do a significant part of their business by selling alcoholic beverages. But towns like Crewe, which have a very small Muslim population - there is no mosque, at least not a proper one, in town, for instance - have also seen a reduction in the number of pubs in recent years.

Why that might be is not hard to explain, and does not involve followers of The Prophet. For starters, new pubs and bars often thrive, even when the overall market is contracting. This is down to several factors: the new entrants are where the potential demand is - think the Pelt Trader (Cannon Street), Parcel Yard (King’s Cross) or Euston Tap in London, close to mainline railway stations and so guaranteed passing trade.
The overall offer the new entrants present to punters is more attractive than existing pubs and bars - ranges of craft and cask beer, food, family and pet friendly areas, interesting decor, and Location, Location, Location once again. And what the ASI and its fellow Astroturf lobby groups don’t want to talk about - so I will - is the pernicious effect of the PubCos on business - which affects the established pubs.

Beer tie, often crippling rents, lack of incentive for tenants and managers to invest in the business, all count against the estates of the PubCos, who often carry so much debt that it is more worth their while to treat their pubs as property chips on a Monopoly board, cashing them in on a whim - often selling a business from under the licensee.
Other changes in drinking habits also come into play - fewer people of all religious beliefs, and of none, drink alcohol nowadays. Many drink en route from work to home - those station bars again - and others drink in the area they work. Hence there are plenty of new bars in Tower Hamlets, despite a large Muslim population, because the borough includes Canary Wharf. Also, drinking at home depresses the demand for pubs.

None of this occurs to the man from the ASI, and nor does Bowman equivocate at the sight of Noah Carl hedging his bets by bringing forward further research - noting, for instance, that areas where house prices have risen more have lost less pub and bar employment. That bet-hedging suggests the Scary Muslims (tm) didn’t do it after all.

But good of the ASI man to let that prejudice rip. Oh what a giveaway!


Anonymous said...

Most of the old pub buildings are horrendous places which many socialising youngsters prefer to avoid. On top of that, your average bar staff are quite useless at the job. Moreover, the pub long ago ceased being a main centre for the community - one reason TV soap operas look, sound and almost smell like a musty 1950s experience. There are many different and better alternatives.

Pub chains are now just as much a consumerist operation as any antiseptic supermarket. Even the better pubs have become little more than overpriced beer boutiques besieged by deafening music.

Too many pubs are outdated shit holes that have become useful distribution centres for drug dealers.

Times have changed and so have people. Muslims, drinkers or not, have absolutely fuck all to do with the decline of pub trade and attitudes to alcohol. Not that it makes any difference to your modular xenophobic racist looking to vent his cowardice and/or inadequacy.

Incidentally, the latter would have a hard time explaining the presence of popular bars in the Gulf States. But when has truth ever got in the way of an ignorant Islamophobic rant?

Bob said...

Article on BBC site today: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-40444460
Two extracts:
The British Beer and Pub Association cites the rise in the tax applied to drinks - and beer in particular. The beer duty escalator meant that between 2008 and 2013 the duty increased by 42% and this has come at a time when supermarkets have tried to entice shoppers in with discounts on booze.
The Office for National Statistics says that between 2005 and 2016, the number of people saying they had had anything to drink in the previous week fell from 64% to 57%. The numbers drinking on five days or more a week nearly halved over that time.

But let's not trust facts or expertise. Blind prejeudice is far better. Look how well its working in other areas.

A.Robot (Mrs) said...

70 years ago neither Bowman nor West, nor the 'alt right', nor Michael Gove, nor Angela Leadsom, nor Paul Dacre, nor Jacob Rees-bloody-Mogg was alive, and there were loads of pubs the length and breadth of the land.
If we want a revival of the great British pub, then, it seems pretty obvious what needs to be done.

Simon said...

The 2011 census lists 4.4% of the population as Muslim (7.2% not stated). Yes, the proportion has probably slightly increased in the intervening years but does anyone seriously believe that so few people could have such an effect on the pub industry?

Another myth they like to peddle is the smoking ban (now ten years old) causing a decline in pub numbers. Again, the BBC article I read lists fewer than 17% of people (I assume they mean adults) as smokers. That leaves 83% to whom the ban is either a positive or makes no difference.

As an above poster says, times change. This is the reason why most things change.

Pubs will always be here, maybe just not quite we've always known them.

Arnold said...

I heard a claim today that the smoking ban (Happy tenth birthday Smoking Ban) was responsible, but I don't buy it. Smokers are in a minority now, and smoke-free pubs are much more pleasant. I used to hate my clothes smelling like an ashtray the following day.

Unknown said...

Wait a moment - didn't the ASI and other think tank twats like the IEA tell us for years that the pub closures were due to the smoking ban?

It's common knowledge that the tobacco companies were funding these wankers for years - so can we assume that either

(1) big tobacco has run out of bribes; or:
(2) anti-Islamics are paying better money than big tobacco?

Stephen said...

For this to work it would mean that Muslims are actively stopping people from going to pubs, since the total number of non-Muslims who drink (rather than a percentage of the population) hasn't changed or has risen (isn't the excuse for anti-immigration types that there are too many people, not the wrong kind of people?).

It's "Interesting" that Bowman thinks it's interesting: showing a bit too much of himself there.

Anonymous said...

Using the spurious statistical approach in the example you take apart it is actually possible to make the exact opposite case.

Here in Sheffield throughout the 1950's/60's/70's large parts of the industrial North East sector in the lower Don Valley, particularly around the Attercliffe area, were heavily populated by immigrant (Muslim) populations from Pakistan. The area was teeming with pubs, like the Broughton, the Salutation, Bird in Hand, at least two or three Norfolk Inns, the Tramway and many more. All thriving vibrant busy pubs in the heart of areas with a large Muslim population.

Many of the houses have been demolished for construction of places like the Arena, hotels, retail parks and office blocks and populations have moved to nearby areas like Darnall and Fir Vale. What killed off the pubs here was not the populations of Muslims but the decline of heavy industry, steel production, mining, rail transport and the parallel changes in culture, particularly working class culture which is, for a variety of reasons, a lot more fragmented.