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Instant Opinion: people ‘believe women lie about rape’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Wednesday 8 January

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The Week’s daily round-up highlights the five best opinion pieces from across the British and international media, with excerpts from each.

1. Julie Bindel in The Spectator

on the silencing of victims

Why are some so keen to believe women lie about rape?

“The impression given by the focus on women supposedly lying about sexual assault is that whilst countless men languish in prison, their accusers are having a rare old time buying vodka shots, while snogging any half decent man available and setting him up as her next victim. Presumably, part of her holiday fun is getting ready to give a detailed statement to police alleging serious sexual assault if things don’t work out for her on their date. It must be a major cheap thrill to recount humiliating details of previous sexual history in public, and enduring, on the very rare occasion it gets this far, a Crown Court trial where she, rather than the accused, is judged.”

2. Peter Lee in ABC News

on how drone warfare is not a video game

I spent two years learning about Reaper drone strikes, this is how an attack plays out

“Operating a drone carries real risks. For one thing, terrorists have tried to target Reaper pilots and published a hit-list. But more prevalent is the psychological risk in repeatedly witnessing traumatising events and lethal strikes in close-up detail. A senior Reaper commander has described the impact of this as ‘far greater than it ever was with a manned cockpit’. These psychological effects are not yet fully understood but the risk is there. As one sensor operator I interviewed said: ‘If anybody on the Reaper fleet says it doesn't affect them, then they're lying. It does. It has to.’”

3. Jochen Bittner in the New York Times

on a country split over its future

The tragedy of Germany’s energy experiment

“Germans’ opposition to nuclear power endures: 60% of them want to get rid of it as soon as possible. Paranoia is not exactly the right word to describe the attitude behind these figures, though. Rather, it is the very German trait of freezing when faced with a dilemma. For a nation that is as keen as ours to do what would undoubtedly be considered good, choosing between two evils — here, nuclear power and climate change — is a nearly insurmountable task.”

4. James Moore in The Independent

on a backfiring PR salvage operation

Barclays has made itself a pariah over the climate crisis – now it's time for a boycott

“The most contemptible line doing the rounds held that it would be wrong to hold Barclays to the same standards as other European banks because it’s a transatlantic investment bank, and so should be judged against a US peer group. That’s right: because the US is far more blasé about the way we’re screwing up the plant, Barclays thinks it should get a pass. It’s like Manchester United saying that its recent relatively pedestrian performance shouldn’t be compared with other UK football clubs because it’s a global brand. You should instead judge it by reference to the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys and give the manager a pass because they’ve been similarly mediocre.”

5. Daniel Finkelstein in The Times

on nudging the populace in the right direction

How to win over voters and influence people

“To get diners to remember to cancel tables that they’ve booked but don’t want, it works to use the weapon of consistency and commitment. Get them to write down the appointment and verbally agree to ring and cancel. The same will work with NHS appointments, cutting the number that are missed. You could get more honest tax returns by asking people to sign a promise to tell the truth before they wrote down details rather than after.”

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