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.