23/08/2016 Newsnight


How has Brazil managed the Paralympics? Corbyn's train controversy, the gender pay gap, and competing with post-Olympic depression. With Evan Davis.

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It is a Newsnight studio ram packed with guests this evening.


It is a Newsnight studio ram packed Vergini Coast they they have the


footage to prove otherwise. -- Virgin East Coast. Can we get to the


bottom of it. Also tonight... Rio de Janeiro has had a good couple of


weeks, but is it now facing its biggest embarrassment? Botching the


organisation of the Paralympic Games. It's desperately, desperately


disappointing, not least for the athletes who are having to compete


in two weeks in real adversity. The man in charge of the International


Paralympic Association will tell us whether he has hopes of fears for


the Games this year. And from Olympic gold to Olympic gloom, how


the athletes had to come down after coming home.


You've got to hand it to Rio that when it came to the Olympics,


Whatever the worries, the mishaps, the less


than crowded stadiums, the Games were actually great.


And in a city that doesn't have the money of London


or the dictatorial tendencies of Beijing, they showed


you can still host a successful Olympics and be normal.


But, when it comes to the Paralympics, Rio does not look


Ticket sales are appalling, budget cuts are biting,


some teams won't make it, having not been sent


So how much of setback will these Games be, from the successful


It's been a day of beaming smiles and flashing medals, as


While success in Rio helped overshadow criticism


of how the Games were run, there are now concerns over the fate


Problems like green swimming pools have led to money intended


for the Paralympics being spent on the Olympics instead,


Whilst dismal ticket sales could mean even more empty seats.


It's almost become an Olympic tradition to question how ready


a host nation is before the Games begin, but this does feel like it's


Just the other week, the head of the International Paralympic


Committee said that the Games have never faced circumstances like these


The Paralympic cycling team is training here in Newport.


They are focusing on winning medals, but the controversies


Is there a disappointment about the ticket sales?


That's clearly a lot of empty seats and it would be nice


if they were filled, not just from the athletes'


perspective and the spectators' perspective and the whole


atmosphere, but also from the funding perspective


and just the exposure to the sport and the atmosphere in general.


The Paralympics are meant to be run in line and we always


because of the way the calendar works.


But the way they treat us definitely isn't the same, is it?


According to official documents, the Brazilian authorities had


initially hoped to raise $170 million for the Paralympics.


But we've been told they are now nowhere near the amount they need.


One reason is just 12% of tickets have been sold,


compared to 92% of Olympic tickets, although even then


There are also just 28 Paralympic sponsors,


As a result, they've decided to make cuts to the workforce,


cuts to transport services for athletes and also changes


to the venues of some events, allowing the closure of one


London's 2012 Paralympic Games were hailed as being


The former Paralympic athlete who helped deliver them says that


legacy looks like it's in tatters now.


This is a leap into Paralympic prehistory.


The economic and political backdrop are certainly very different


to when Rio won the bid, but this doesn't have so much


to do with the economics, this has to do with cannibalisation


of the Paralympic budget to bail out and backfill Olympic elements that


didn't need to go wrong in the first place.


There has been a disrespect, a misunderstanding,


a lack of understanding for the Paralympic Games,


for the potential and for the impact that could have made


A legacy for the 45 million disabled people in Brazil could make a


difference. Many still struggle with being accepted and feeling included.


TRANSLATION: I was disappointed but not surprised that the lack of


funding, because historically, disabled people have been left


behind in this city. Having said that, there have now been some


improvements to public transport here because of the Games. But


despite everything, Rio is what Paralympic athletes have spent years


training for. And all the athletes we spoke to were clear about the


need to make the most of the Games. People will organise it or they


won't, they will sort it or they went, and we're going to have to


kind of deal with it as it happens. Whereas the performance of riding a


bike as fast as we can, that is totally within our control, so we


just have to do the best we can and make sure we get the best


performances out of ourselves. Delays to travel grants paid out by


Brazilian authorities had raised concerns that some countries


wouldn't even be be able to afford to come to Rio. It looks like it


won't come to that, but many are seeing these Games as a missed


opportunity. Tim Hollingsworth is


the Chief Executive of the British Paralympic


Association. It seems that all the teams are


going? That is the case now. It is very late news but that travelled


ground that was referenced that the organising committee makes available


to every nation, including us, has got enough certainty for every


nation to confirm that they are coming. That is very important, we


wouldn't want any athlete who is qualified to go not going. Argue


basically optimistic about these Games? Is it just the case that the


Brazilians get it together late on, or are you thinking this is going to


be like we heard in the piece, this is prehistory for the Paralympics?


Chris Holmes had more than a little hand in London 2012 and knows very


much of what he speaks and he is right in a sense that to weeks out,


we shouldn't be speaking about this, we should have had the Paralympic


Games ready and organised in the way that the authorities in Brazil


promised two years -- seven years ago when they won the bid. I guess


Brazil is in a different place economically now than it was then,


but we have seen circumstances arise to call into question a lot of the


traditional services and everything you would expect. Like what


services? We are taking about 260 athletes to Rio, our biggest ever


away. A lot of things around the transport, the village, some of the


accommodation for the athletes, we want an exact what we're facing. We


may now have to overlay some of our own support for the athletes to make


sure that is OK. I'm sure you're going to ask about the ticket sales.


We want. A.D. And excited countrymen. How much of a difference


does it make and how much of a difference would it make to


Paralympics in general if these Games are perceived to have been a


bit of a flop? Empty stadiums, not much excitement, not much buzz, is


that really serious? That would be really concerning. We go on about


London's cataclysmic impact but that really was the case. It was a


transformational Games for many of us and people's attitudes towards


sport and disability. We found we've got more nations than ever before


competing, more competitive than ever before, the sport will be


better than London. NDC in America for the first time have live


coverage. The whole upswing around the world. The sport is going to be


better? The one thing we can be sure of is that the Times will be fast


and people will be competing more strongly than they were in London.


One might look at this and say it is a sort of depressing sign that


although we talk about the parity of the Games, this talk is really a


British thing and actually nowhere else in the world talks about it


like this? The American team is the same size as our team. I think the


French team is two thirds or half the size of our team. I think we bat


above our weight in the Paralympics. Is it a British thing to think of


the Parolo pigs as important? We are the birthplace of the movement, with


Stoke Mandeville being the birthplace of that and we should be


proud of that. But it doesn't make it bad at all, the fact that we are


one of the larger teams is partly historic but it is also demonstrably


the case that more athletes are coming to this Games than ever


before. More nations are taking it seriously and the journey is


definitely very positive. If I were to be a bit cliched about it, it is


a journey. The movement is growing and I think it's really important


that with Rio and with Tokyo to come, Tokyo has already demonstrated


huge interest in the Paralympic Games and I think this will still be


a great games. The sport will be fantastic and we have seen, small


measures, but we have seen quite a lot of tickets seen in the last few


days, about 100,000. While we still got a lot of concerns, I think it


still looking like we could have a great Games. The ban has been upheld


for Russia, they cannot go. Was that a good idea for the Paralympic


committee to be on a kind of stronger anti-regime crusade than


the Olympic Committee? I think so. I think it was a bowl and right thing


to do at this time. Doping in Paralympic sport, it's quite unusual


really, we haven't had any major cases, but for them to read in the


McLaren review about so much potential evidence of systematic


doping as they uncovered, I think it was the right thing to do. It's very


sad that the athletes, no one is celebrating Russia not being there,


but it feels like we've done the right thing as a Paralympic


movement. Medel prediction for Team GB? Second place? We were third last


time. And we move up to third like in the Olympics West remarked they


have done fantastically well in the limpet games. ParalympicsGB, we're


looking at 120 medals in London, if we can match or exceed that I think


we will make the nation proud. A new study of men, women


and the labour market It's from the Institute


for Fiscal Studies, who are very good at making sense of huge


datasets, and the report confirms what we perhaps knew -


that women earn less than men. But there is more to say


about it that that. There are three basic


takeaway facts here. The first is this -


the wage gap between childless women The men have hourly wages that


are about 10% higher than the women. And that is a pretty


significant gender disparity. It's not clear what the cause is -


this is not different It could be that women gravitate


towards different occupations Or it maybe that society has tended


to pay so-called women's jobs, like nursing, less than so-called


men's jobs, like trucking. The second point is that on top


of this, a bigger disparity that So here is the wage gap in relation


to the birth of a first child. Before the child,


the gap is about 10%. And then in the later years


after the first child, 12 years after their


first born, the wage In fact, for every year taken


out of the workplace, the woman's salary when she returns


is 2% lower than it would That, you can call the price


of taking time out. There is a third point to make


though - that the wage gap is bigger at the more educated end


of the labour market. For people with A-levels


or a university degree, the wage penalty of taking time out


is much bigger than for people Of course, top end jobs are better


paid, but they are more better So two question leap out


of all this. Why is the penalty of looking after


children quite as large as it is? And why there is that core 10%


gender wage gap even when children One country that has a smaller


than average gap is Sweden - it has long been seen as a beacon


of equal opportunity. Joining us now from Sweden, the


Minister for Labour. Good evening, thanks for joining us. What do you


think it takes to get that wage gap down? What is the most powerful and


effective tool? I think the first thing is that you have to be very


persistent and very decisive, that you will reach a 100% equal pay and


you will not be satisfied with less. But being more pragmatic, I think


that it must be easy to combine family and working life and I think


that is one of the things that we have done quite good in Sweden.


Almost all women work, we have a high employment rate amongst men and


women. There is still a gap of 4% but that is smaller each year. I


think we will reach equal levels of employment rates between men and


women. And this is important. I was looking at the OECD statistics,


respected international comparisons, and you still have quite a big wage


gap. At one point you were world readers, but now still around 15% of


wage gap. Even when you have a government that calls itself


feminists, why do you think you still cannot get rid of that last


15%? It is coming closer, it is 12.5% now and we need to take into


account these things that can be explained by different levels of


education and different ages. It is still a gap between 4.5% but I think


we have got to do more and that is why we passed a law saying all


importers have got to do equal pay gap reviews every year. At the


workplace. And all employers also have to have an action plan, how to


get rid of the equal pay gap. I think this is one important tool you


can use on each workplace. Do not need to talk to the Swedish men, you


have generous parental leave for when people have children, I think


16 months between the mother and the father. It is the women who take


most of that, though. Three quarters of it is women. That is correct and


that is why we have just passed a new law saying that we will have, we


will earmark three months for the mother and three months for the


father. Or if there is a same sex parents, three months for one parent


and three for the other. I think this will really help to have a more


equal use of the parental leave and I think we have got to go one month


by month until we reach an equal level of parental leave. Do you


think that the wage gap that you still have, is that what I would


call a gender gap or a child rearing gap? Is that the punishment can if


you like, for a woman coming out of the labour market and going back in


or is it about sexism at work or the weight we respect men but jobs


different to women's jobs? It is not so easy, you are not punished


because your children, it is quite easy to have children in Sweden, we


have a good, high quality and affordable childcare for all


children and we have this generous parental leave. We can also see that


women with a high income, high level of education, have more children


than those with low levels. So this is not really that easy, but you can


see we still have a division in the labour market where women tend to


work more with caring, working with people. And tend to be paid less if


you work with people than if you work with machines or technology. I


think that is one reason. Another reason is that a lot of women work


in sectors where they're not allowed to be full-time working, so they


work 80% or something but they still would like to work 100%. This is one


of the most important issues for the Swedish unions to fight for. Yes,


the part-time, full-time, and different occupations, caring


occupations being underpaid. Thank you very much.


It didn't take long for Twitter to call it Traingate.


A case of alleged mendacity on the East Coast line.


It started last week with Jeremy Corbyn recording some


footage about the state of the railways, sitting


on the floor of a train, calling it ram-packed.


The implication was that there were no available seats.


Well, Virgin decided to declare war on the Corbyn machine today,


releasing CCTV images of apparently empty seats on that train,


and indeed showing us that Mr Corbyn went to sit in one


Now in TV land we know that sometimes the thing


you want to film - like a ram-packed train -


And we normally find carefully constructed weasel words to get


We'd say "trains like this are ram-packed day-in and day-out".


Or "often you can't get even a seat on a train,


But Mr Corbyn left himself less wiggle room.


He said, "Today this train is completely ram-packed".


He's meant to be untainted by the dark arts of spin,


so was it ram-packed or merely crowded, and does it matter?


Something that Jeremy Corbyn's fans love about him is his


Indeed, a few weeks ago he made a viral


video about being the victim of an all too common problem.


Today though, Virgin Trains, which runs


And it shows him walking past empty seats before he recorded that video.


Then settling down in a seat, after he was done.


Mr Corbyn's team absolutely deny this


We walked through all the carriages on the train and there


So either people were sitting in the seats,


or they were reserved, or


there was, you know, luggage in the seats reserving


Walked all the way through the train and ended up having to sit


on the floor at the far end of the train.


There were other passengers there also sitting on the floor.


They weren't able to get a seat either.


I think after about 45 minutes we were able to, a friendly


train guard came to tell us that some seats have become available.


As I understand, a family moved into,


first-class section of the train and therefore


the seats were offered to


Jeremy and we were very grateful for them.


This footage is of Mr Corbyn shortly into


the journey, from before he recorded the video.


Virgin said the seats are empty and unreserved.


There appear to be lots of empty, unreserved seats in that


And that's right at the beginning of the journey.


Yes, so we walked through and I think what isn't clear


in the photo is the fact that there are people


children sitting on the seats, or luggage on the seats.


I mean, as we walked through, all of the


carriages, there weren't any places for us to sit down.


You may ask whether this sort of thing is really


But it's important to remember that sadly, most people in


Most voters aren't that interested in the minutiae of policy discussion


A simple story that speaks to the character of


senior politicians is one that really gets cut through can


Michael Foote's so-called donkey jacket worn at


the Cenotaph was of no real importance.


But people with concerns about his patriotism saw it as a


Ten years ago, the discovery that David Cameron cycled to work


followed by a chauffeur carrying his stuff got


amazing cut through, because it spoke to concerns he


Might the Virgin Trains video saga be Mr


Does it speak strongly to his weaknesses?


Jeremy Corbyn is certainly trusted among his


supporters, but among the


general public, that level of trust is not nearly as high.


And so an event such as this where his honesty


is called into question certainly could have an impact.


My suspicion is though that the timing means that


among his supporters this will be seen as yet another attack.


And among the general public they probably won't pay too much


Well, Mr Corbyn's team is sensitive about


It does seem strange that the timing of


Richard Branson and Virgin to release these images and kind of


present a slightly skewed version of events,


that they've chosen now as


Mr Corbyn is still likely to retain the leadership.


Rather appropriately, his supporters point


to a lack of empty seats at rallies as a measure of his support.


Joining me now are Matt Laza, former broadcast media advisor


to Ed Miliband and now director of the thinktank Policy Network.


And Debora Mattinson who used to be a pollster for Gordon Brown and now


What do you think the truth is? You can see the photographs. They are


there to see. Unless Virgin has issued photographs and somehow


superimposed Jeremy Corbyn in that carriage. They could be very small


people we could not see. I think this is difficult to talk your way


out you need a better witness than someone who is a member of his


staff. There are conspiracy theories which the Jeremy Corbyn camp are not


unfamiliar with, but cannot explain this away. Now does it matter, is it


like David Cameron with the car behind him? I think it is more like


the David Cameron with his shoes in the limo. I remember that vividly.


The incident happened and in focus group situations months afterwards


people talked about it it struck a chord. Because David Cameron have


carefully positioned himself as an eco-warrior and then suddenly, doing


this and the story unravelling, it just aren't picked that position.


And everyone got it. And we become a month later they still talked about


it. I think this could just be the same. This is the man who is


straight talking, honest politics, he put himself above all of those


tacky photo opportunities and media games. And yet here he is. Neither


of them Jeremy Corbyn fans, in particular, but I can see you


nodding. Where it does matter, die-hard Jeremy Corbyn fans will see


this as just another mainstream media attack on him. Tomorrow we


will find out which former Blairites work for the media agency for


Virgin. But it does matter, he is trying to be holier than thou, and


the late Michael Meacher once was caught out trying to say he had a


dozen houses, and that is all people remembered about him. If you're


going to be straight talking and you claim that the train is empty, your


court red-handed. It is less about authenticity, I think that is a


subset of integrity. And we look at what matters for leadership and


being a good communicator, having integrity and being decisive other


things that stand out. I think integrity, this is it. Would you


have let this happen when you were running around with Ed Miliband? We


all know that you play tricks, to make a point about trains for


example. His point, even Virgin conceded that they need more trains


on that line. So this is his bigger point in a way. But it needs to have


a factual basis. I go up and down quite frequently on Virgin Trains.


If they thought Labour was going to win, they would not have released


this. The idea that you pick a fight with the Leader of the Opposition at


any other point, frankly, in 50 years of political history and that


is an important point. Labour Party supporters should realise that the


party is not being taken seriously. It could just be, the Jeremy Corbyn


narrative begs to differ, that this is the company and we are saying


they're going to nationalise the railways. If they thought that they


were going to do it then Virgin would be scared and Richard Branson


would be sending out sarcastic text. With Ed Miliband, authenticity did


matter to him. He spent 18 months of his childhood in Leeds. And I got so


many phone calls from this building saying please take him to that


school. And he said he would not pretend to be an authentic


Yorkshireman. And that is what Jeremy Corbyn has not quite realised


and it shows that the operation is amateur, you would have checked what


was going on before releasing the video. What about authenticity, is


that what the public really want or do they want competent politicians?


They do want of setting politicians. -- authentic politicians. And once


you believe what they believe. If you are authentic, and your views


are different from the public, then actually they will not vote for you.


If they just wanted authenticity then Jeremy Corbyn, his ratings


would be screaming and they're not, they are the worst of any leader of


a political party since polling began. So I do not think so, it is


not enough. Thank you both. Two months ago today,


Britain voted to leave the EU. Our business editor Helen Thomas


has been taking stock. And remember what was


meant to happen next? Mortgages will get more expensive


and mortgage rates will go up. More worried now, much more worried,


than I was in 2008. So why would we take


a leap in the dark? So, has the economic reality lived


of years of uncertainty? As the first hard data on the state


of the economy is rolled in, Last week, retail sales figures


for July showed spending up 5.9% One measure of unemployment,


the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance,


fell by 8,600 in July, And today, a survey


by the Confederation of British Industry found


that the sharp drop in the pound was helping export orders,


boosting UK manufacturing. I think Project Fear actually


looks quite ludicrous. Because a lot of the very lurid


claims that we had from August bodies like the Treasury or the Bank


of England or the IMF or the OECD, they're all coming up with all kinds


of weird and wonderful predictions of calamity,


based on their economic models. Which were broadly


bogus, in my opinion. The weaker pound may


also be helping. There was a near 20%


increase in tourism in July. Well, lo and behold,


tourists don't walk around So all the data from outfits


like Visa or people who sell Swiss watches or luxury items,


we've got a tourist boom going on. I don't think it's a one-month


wonder. Forecasts for UK growth


have been slashed. Confidence took a hit


after the vote. And surveys of business activity


plummeted to the lowest That rattled the Bank of England


enough to unveil an aggressive package of measures


to boost the economy. An overreaction, or is the bank,


like others, waiting for important I think the really key area


where heightened uncertainty after this vote is going to affect


the UK is business investment. It's in house-building,


it's in construction. And we don't have any


hard data on that yet. We're not going to get


it until next month. But that, for me, is going


to be really important. What happens to the construction


sector, especially, what happens We're talking into the autumn


for that. The trouble is that this early data


is inevitably ambiguous. Does one strong month of retail


sales reflect robust consumer confidence,


or just some sunny weather? The risk of an acute economic shock


seems to have passed. But whether it's slow burn damage


is being done to the UK That might depend on the longer term


effects of a weak pound. Do rising prices start to hurt


people's spending power? It also relies on what


the Government does next. Peak risk sits probably six to 12


months after the the The reason I say that is in


the short term, the quick action by the Bank of England


and the collapse in sterling has provided a bit of a stimulus


to the UK economy. But once you start to get a specific


steer from the Government, what type of Brexit it will pursue,


you move towards a situation where firms are making clear


decisions on their future and some of the trade-offs that inevitably


come from withdrawing from the European Union,


the rubber starts to hit Consumers so far remained unfazed,


but business appears more skittish. Whether that is a passing hit


or the start of a lasting investment freeze could determine


whether the UK economy has been left It's only two days since our last


Olympic medal, but a lot of people Daytime TV just isn't


the same in the 206 weeks But the more serious


post-games adjustment is not the one that affects us,


it's the one that affects Their job is to give it


all in the run-up to the Games, You might have heard Jason Kenny


and Laura Trott talk of the post-race blues,


on Radio 4 this morning. Well, someone who has been


through it is swimmer Karen She was four times World champion,


broke two world Records and competed at four consecutive Olympic Games,


starting at Barcelona in 1992. Very good evening. Just described to


us the feeling come-down that come-down that you get. Well, you've


trained for something. Along, you put your heart and soul, your whole


focus, you've been very selfish and driven, aiming towards one goal. And


in a flash it is all over. And suddenly you don't have that


structure, you don't have the same aims and goals. You are suddenly


feeling a bit aimless and quite lost. You've been on a high with


other team members and you kind of go back to reality. How long does it


take for you to start training again after one championship, one event,


start thinking about the next one? For everyone it is different. It


depends where you are in your career. Young athletes will probably


be chomping at the bit to get back at it and some of the more


experienced athletes will actually take a bit of time, some even up to


a year to decide if they're going to do another cycle. Actually it


doesn't really matter whether you've been successful or not, the


come-down after that major championship, after you've gone and


done what you wanted to do or not, the come-down after it is


significant. The really big precipice is for those who have just


done their last Olympics, their last big contest, right? The end of the


Korea, that must be an enormous adjustment? It really is and I think


there is probable you more of an understanding of the retirement and


that sort of process that athletes need to go through and work on


careers afterwards but also their mental health afterwards and there


real change. It's not just a job, it's a lifestyle, a way of life,


being an athlete. You lose a whole identity. I think there is


understanding of that but actually there is less understanding of an


athlete who is an Olympic champion, who comes back and everyone thinks


they've got the world at their feet, they are starting a fantastic career


and they can't understand that actually there are all these things


going on in their mind and they can't get a grip again, they don't


have that fight. Everyone is looking at them thinking you should be


really happy, you had it all, and they can't reconcile that. How


serious can that get? Do people get depressed, I mean properly


depressed? Do they just go through the blues? Does it get very serious?


It can be very serious. For some people it is just a bit of blues, a


bit of adjusting to having to do their own washing and cook their own


meals and start over again, but for other people can become something


quite serious. There is an American swim, Alison Schmidt, who has been


very vocal about it just recently. She was a five-time medallist in


London and she was really suffering and felt suicidal at times after and


has really struggled in the last few years. She made it to Rio,


fortunately, but she's had a really tough time of it and she is now


speaking out about it and I'm sure she's not the only one. What do you


do about it? What support is there and what kind of backing do the


athletes get? Do people think about their mental health as well as their


physical? I think people are starting to because you realise how


-- how strong the mind is. It's starting to be more understood. I


think in some ways athletes who don't perform well I helped more


because people expect them to be sent and needing some support. I


think the key thing is actually the home coaches need to see the signs.


When they go back to their programmes, maybe not having the


same personalities, not driven in the same way, something is not quite


right, that is where the help can come for them. If friends and family


of the athletes notice a change, they can get in early and catch it


before it becomes something really serious. Karen Pickering, thanks a


lot. I'll be back tomorrow,


but before we go, the second in our series of performances


from artists appearing Tonight, we're sticking


to the Brazilian theme, because we have the Sao Paulo Jazz


Symphony Orchestra, who will be performing in tomorrow's late night


Prom at the Royal Albert Hall. You can catch it tomorrow evening


at 22:15 on Radio 3.


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