19/07/2017 Newsnight


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines. With Kirsty Wark.

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# On BBC Radio two. Harry come in Glamorgan, how do you


feel this afternoon? Are you embarrassed to pick up your


Are you embarrassed to pick up your paycheque?


The British hate talking about their pay and sometimes with good reason.


Today we learned that the best rewarded BBC


Is that the market at work or just jobs for the boys?


Also tonight, we have a special report from South Africa


on the British lobby firm hired to run a controversial social media


campaign which some say stoked racial division.


In the middle of this extraordinary political drama group of British


spin doctors ended up here in South Africa. Bell Pottinger were hired to


clean up toxic reputation. And the government wishes


you a happy retirement - just one year later


than you'd been expecting. The Pensions Secretary


is here with the good news. After today the public knows more,


but not everything, about the pay of almost 100 of television


and radio's best known presenters. What is true is that Radio


host Chris Evans earns at least ?2.25 million,


whereas the highest paid female presenter, Claudia Winkelman,


who presides over Strictly with Tess Daly gets


approximately ?0.5 million. Who decides who's worth


more and why is the list The Director general of the BBC,


Tony Hall, began the day promising that in three years' time the BBC


will deliver pay and gender parity. But how on earth are


they going to do that? I'll be asking James Purnell


in a moment but first Today, the BBC published


the salaries of its best-paid It's released the names


of the 96 people on more than ?150,000 a year,


AND their pay. So, we've learned a lot today


about the TV labour market. We know that Newsnight's


own Evan Davis and Kirsty Wark For example, we don't know anything


about the wages paid to people via intermediaries,


for example, people who have their We also don't know what


exactly people have done So, are they working seven days


or a one day a week? One caller to the ?700,000 Jeremy


Vine today thought, too large. I can't see how you can


justify, you and the rest of the staff of the BBC,


can justify picking your paycheque up every week, when there are men


and women in this country who are working their fingers


to the bone, who don't get nowhere near the money you're earning,


and are on the minimum wage,


and struggling to live. I have laid today before Parliament


a BBC Charter review... This former Culture Secretary


introduced these transparency rules. There are two things


which I think need to be borne in mind -


firstly, that for some people,


actually working for the BBC is a privilege and they are willing


to accept a bit less than they might And I think that is


right and admirable. Secondly, there comes a point


where the BBC I think has to say, and it's for them to judge this,


but they have to say, OK, if you can command a much higher


salary elsewhere, or you've been offered it, then good


luck, we wish you all the best, but I'm afraid we simply


can't match that. But does the BBC need


to pay those sums John Humphrys, the Today Programme


and Mastermind presenter, I would have thought it highly


unlikely that I would leave the BBC Why should I, it's


the best job there is? But that's the thing,


it keeps coming back to this - why are we paying people


who want to work at the BBC and can't imagine


leaving so much money? notion, isn't it, that you should


only get a lot of money What is it that you think


the BBC thinks is worth I don't know what you mean,


what do you mean? What is it that you


think the BBC sees...? You mean, what is my


special, unique talent? What is your special, unique talent,


that justifies the money? I ask people questions,


of...that I think, that I hope, And I think I do that


reasonably competently. Gender has emerged as perhaps


the most important issue Around two-thirds of the names


on the list are of men. The problem, though,


of gender can't be looked If you look at under-50s


on the list, there are actually roughly even numbers


of men and women. The problem comes, though,


that if you look at the over-50s, there are 45 men on the list,


and just 11 women. There are four times as many men


over 50 earning more than ?150,000 The BBC has a woman problem,


but it has a particular Agents like Mary Greenham think


the BBC is serious about this. My relationship with the BBC


and my workings with the BBC And they are an organisation that do


want to get it right, they will get it right,


they already have measures in place to get it right,


and they will work with other organisations to make sure


that in 20 years' time, this isn't a problem, and we're just


talking about equality. I think it's a great time


for women at the BBC, I think as a result of today,


more women will get And so, the message to me,


being top talent manager, is to get more women on my books,


because now is a golden time to get So, watch out, BBC producer,


I'm going to be calling These 96 names are not


representative. What they get paid is, I promise


you, not a normal BBC salary. But the patterns they show up


are ones worth paying attention to. James Purnell, the BBC's Director


of Radio and Education is here. I'm also joined by Liz Forgan -


she's an old media hand who has been a senior executive at Channel Four,


the Guardian and here at the BBC, as well as chair


of the Arts Council. First, James Purnell, Toni Hall has


promised there will be equality on air and in pay by 2020. Can we


clarify categories, this is all on air? We have said all on air 50-50,


and we said we would get rid of the gender pay gap, and that is the gap


between all men and women employed at the BBC which is currently 10%.


So that means people in graphics, editing, planning, they will all


have to pay parity by 2020? All of them? On average. When you compare


what women earn and what men are in, you will get rid of the gap at the


moment which is about 10%. This is something that all organisations who


employ more than 250 people have to face up to. We will all have our


gender pay gap disclosed next year. We want to get rid of the gender pay


gap and we are a bit better than average, but we want to get rid of


it. You are going to get rid of the pay gap and the gender imbalance in


terms of on-air talent. How you going to do that? In three years? We


need to change the mix of Google, so when people retire or leave to go


somewhere else. We need to bring on a more diverse mix. 60% of new


entries on this list are women and 20% are from an ethnic minority


background. We will improve that and we will look at pay as well. Quite a


lot of men have taken pay cuts already. John Humphrys said that


today. Will you expect more male talent on-air to take a pay cut? I


am not going to start negotiating on air. It is not a cookie cutter


approach, but with every contact we go through and look at them. But how


will you actually do it? How would you say to Gary Lineker you are


earning ?2.6 million, we want to bring new female in sport, can you


take a pay cut? I will not go into individual contracts. But what is


parity in terms of on-air pay? Is it same hours, Zenjov? That is a good


question. If someone has the same job, experience, history, audience


value, they are paid the same. With top people it is very hard to


compare those cases. It is a rigorous process, we do research and


we look at the audience and we look at the commercial value. We


negotiate what comes up. You have got, for example, female presenters


and three female presenters on the Today programme. They broadcast for


the same amount of time, a lot of them have the same experience. Would


you expect them to get the same money? I would not, actually. John


Humphries is the outstanding interviewer of his generation and


brings a unique value to the BBC and that is something we recognise. He


said there that actually he did not look for pay rises, but he kept


getting them and he has also said he will not go anywhere else, so that


is not about the market. You just want to give him lots of money. I


have never said it is just about the market. It is about value to the


BBC. On that programme the lowest paid person is a man. We can go into


the detail of that, but that is not right because a different equation


operates on the Today programme. Sarah Montague is a senior presenter


on that programme. She has not been there as long as John, but she has


over 100 programmes a year and she is not on the list. How did that


happen? I cannot go into individual details, but the lowest paid


person... That is not what I am asking. She has been on that


programme for more than 12 years and somehow she is not on the list. Is


that a mistake? That is one of the things we will look at. I am


sticking with the Today programme. One presenter gets a very lucrative


offer from LBC and they come to you and say, I have had a very lucrative


offer, do you say, that is fantastic, go. Or do you give them


more money? Suddenly the pay parity goes completely out the window. It


depends. Sometimes we let people go all we walk away from negotiations.


That has happened recently in terms of news presenters. Normally we say


there is a market value here, does it change the value of the people?


If that puts the parity completely out the window and there is a


terrible imbalance, would you give them more money as well? The key


criteria is value to the audience and that is why comparisons are hard


to make. What will happen here? We are constantly being told there is


no money in the BBC. By and large in the older categories men get paid


more than women. Will you take money from men and give it to women? We


have been reducing talent costs and we have made lots of other savings


like on the IT programme, and there are other ways of funding. We can


change the mix, we can bring on a more diverse group of people and we


can look at the relativities of pay. Thank you for the moment. Liz for


them, you were here 20 years ago. Should you have done more then? It


gets more difficult the older the presenters are. Probably yes. When I


think about myself it never occurred to me to ask what the pay range of


the job I did the BBC was. If I had been a man, I would have done. Women


have responsibility also in this history, we are less assertive and


have been in the past. Do not look at me like that. It is not an


excuse. There may be partly an historical explanation, but it is an


indefensible state of affairs and it has to be remedied. You are critical


of the notion that the BBC had to be close. But if this is the big bang


and as a result of that disclosure, as James Purnell said, we will have


pay parity and gender parity on screen and off screen in three


years' time, that is better? That would be a brilliant outcome of this


day which in other respects I find quite sad. There is an overwhelming


argument for the BBC to disclose more information than it has done,


but there is no need to have individual salaries in order to tell


you what is going on with the BBC. It could have published data split


by a number of people in pay categories, split by gender, race,


anything you like. That would have told us what was going on. Not


individual salaries. If you think as James Purnell seems to think that


part of this will be sold by taking the money away from the men and


giving it to the women, that looks like charity for the women. That is


not the basis for a policy. The BBC is a big place and there is money


here and money there. If that is a priority by the BBC, which it now


has to be, there are ways of addressing this issue without taking


money away from men directly. That would be a very crude way of going


about it. What Tony Hall committed the BBC to


today, halfway through 2017, is to have this fixed, essentially, in


two-and-a-half years' time? I would be amazed, if he


manages to ears. Similarly, for the whole of our staff, we have


constantly had disproportionate increases for the lowest-paid. It is


a matter of pulling all the levers that we can. Our pay gap is 10%, so


I think... 10% is a lot to do in two-and-a-half years, without


actually saying to some of the well-paid men in the BBC, you look


at that huge difference in the top ten of those hundred, massive


difference, proportionately, what men get compared to women, are you


actually going to make the men take a pay cut? I am not going to get


into those individual negotiations. I am not asking for that, I'm asking


you across-the-board - are you going to ask men to take pay cuts? We have


been doing that, and people on this list, disproportionately men, have


been taking pay cuts, John Humphrys spoke about that today. But it's not


going to be done in a box ticking away, it is going to be based on


getting the right talent. If we were to start from today, yes, it would


be very hard to get there. Actually we been working on it for three


years now, we're aiming to get to equality by 2020, probably the only


organisation I know that is doing that.


We have reported before on the growing problems


for South Africa's president Jacob Zuma.


The African National Congress is due to elect a new leader later this


year, but the final years of Mr Zuma's presidency have been


mired in controversy over alleged fraud and his relationship


with an influential Indian family the Guptas.


Another actor in the drama has been the British PR firm Bell Pottinger,


which was hired by the Guptas and has implicated in


which was hired by the Guptas and is implicated in


a controversial social media campaign in the country.


Now, Bell Pottinger has apologised for its work in South Africa.


But senior figures within the ANC have told the BBC they want a full


disclosure of the PR company's work there.


These are murky times in South Africa. The recession is bad enough,


but it's scandal that's casting the heaviest shadow here. And no


ordinary scandal, a mountain of newly leaked e-mails has helped


expose what many believe is a criminal plot to capture the state


itself. And these e-mails show the scale of money-laundering, the


proximity to power, the extent to which this family hold sway over the


president and those closest to him. So it's dynamite? It is absolute


dynamite. The e-mails appear to show how one wealthy Indian born family


allegedly bought and bribed their way to the heart of government and


the presidency of Jacob Zuma. One official including the job of


finance minister. They offered an initial 600,000 payment. As a bribe?


I would not like to say that. But they were trying to buy your loyalty


as a minister, a shadow state run by the Guptas? Essentially. The family


have strenuously denied all allegations, President Zuma, too.


But howls of outrage here continue to grow. You can save there is a


serious conflict of interest, defeating justice, by those in


certain positions of power, who made it possible for these Fulcher is to


make a meal of our democracy. By the vultures, you mean the Guptas? The


Guptas. In the middle of this extraordinary political drama, a


group of British spin doctors landed here in Johannesburg, Bell


Pottinger, hired by the Guptas to clean up their toxic reputation.


Anyone would have told them it was a risky job, but the contract for Bell


Pottinger was worth ?100,000 per person. The team was led by


Victoria, soon to become a hate figure across South Africa. Leak


e-mails now seem to reveal her extraordinary strategy, to deflect


attention from the Guptas and their problems by focusing on race and


inequality, to play up this country's enduring divisions. It was


either a cynical ploy or a naive blunder. It goes from years of


racial segregation, and then fewer years of democracy, where everyone's


rights are, and race becomes less of an issue, always as a powder keg of


racial division. And so when we have actions like those of Bell Pottinger


starting a chain, it is quick for it to become a wildfire. Bell Pottinger


wrote or edited speeches for the Guptas' political allies. The firm


later judging this civil war comment as causative or neutral. Meanwhile,


a campaign against white monopoly capital began on social media,


quickly going viral and getting amplified by uglier, more radical


voices. What is this one? It is a dog, basically, with puppies. It was


part of a propaganda campaign to get the media off this corrupt network's


back. So they were trying to distract attention? Pal and it


happened to many of us, all journalists who were writing about


state capture, or who were interested in this new crony


network, really you could see almost daily, there would be... Largely


driven on Twitter and social media, quite insulting images of them made.


And only now do you understand that it was actually a constructed


campaign. Bell Pottinger's precise role in some of this is hard to pin


down. Slick new websites appeared from nowhere, along with an army of


what appeared to be automated fake Twitter account suggest we asked an


expert here if he could seek Bell Pottinger's hand behind the scenes.


Looking at all of the messages that have been treated, the fact that the


narrative fits in exactly with the messaging they were trying to


convey, and that they recommended to the Guptas family, it stands to


reason that they had to be either behind it or at least very closely


involved. Bell Pottinger won't comment on allegations made to


Newsnight that fake Twitter accounts were created in London. In a


statement earlier in the month, the chief executive of the firm conceded


that the company had been behind an inappropriate and offensive social


media campaign. Africa is ours, it's not yours! Before long, the anger


stirred up online was spinning onto the streets. These people, from a


group called Black First To Land First, with alleged ties to the


Guptas, attacked a white journalist's house and threatened


others. We are going to end whiteness... I got a taste of the


group's rhetoric Krish it was you British, you are worried about the


Guptas because you believe the Guptas are organising black people


to take the world back. That is why you are organising all these


activities. About Bell Pottinger, what do you think of their role here


in South Africa? See you, British guy. I told you, I'm not talking to


you any more, so shut up... But it wasn't long before South Africans


started fighting back against the race baiting, and much more. Furious


satire against the Guptas and President Zuma. I've got to go now,


important meeting...! For Bell Pottinger, online, a storm of rage


and indignation. Eventually, Bell Pottinger got the message, dropped


the Guptas as clients, apologised for an inappropriate and offensive


campaign, sacked the partner in charge and launched an internal


investigation. Back in London, the company insists it was misled about


what was really going on here. But was it? From the very start, said


one source, there was utter fury and discussed internally about this


contract. Management knew the depth of feeling in the office and


defended their decision. That's a claim Bell Pottinger denies, saying,


we took action as soon as we were made aware of behaviour that went


against the very core of our ethical policies. The picture is muddied by


a bitter falling out between Lord Tim Dell and the company he founded,


the peer, who left last year, says he warned against taking on the


Guptas account, and says its senior management knew all about it. The


company declined to comment on this claim, but a source that told us


Dell himself had helped to secure the account. The source said chief


executive is Henderson had been aware of plans to promote economic


emancipation, but was not aware of the details of what his staff were


doing until the story broke in the South African media. So, what now?


The demand here is for the company to reveal all. If they want to truly


retain some red ability out of this saga, it must be on the basis of


total transparency, building institutions takes a long time. The


kind of institutions we are talking about are vital to any state


anywhere in the world. Destroying them can happen overnight, and Bell


Pottinger has contributed to that. And that makes my blood boil, it


makes me so angry, that essentially, they came here to destroy what we've


painstakingly, painfully built over 23 years. This has been a bruising


experience all-round, but the larger battle is only just getting started


here in South Africa. A fightback against state capture, against


President Zuma and against a Rainbow Nation's dangerous decline.


Bell Pottinger said they could not comment on the issues raised


in his report while an independent investigation was under way.


They say they will publish the findings of the report in full soon.


If you're 47 years old or younger, you won't get your state pension


until your 68th birthday and by then who knows if it will be


That was the surprise announcement made today in the Commons


by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and we'll be


talking to him in a minute, who said it would save the taxpayer


But the unions say it's just clobbering six million people


when life expectancy increases are grinding to a halt.


Some might say that with all the brouhaha over BBC pay


Our political editor Nick Watt is here.


What has happened today wanted we had a rare sighting of prime


ministerial power today, when Theresa May told her Cabinet


colleagues that no minister is unstackable. At around the time she


was speaking, we had the announcement from David Gauke that


this is no zombie administration, when he said that he would be


accelerating the raising of the retirement age. What he's doing is


accepting the recommendation by John Cridland, the former


Director-General of the CBI, that you should ring forward by seven


years the raising of the retirement age from 67 to 68. This is designed


to show that the Government is grappling with the issue that caused


Theresa May such grief in the general election Britain's ageing


population. This will save the Government billions of pounds, but


it is also, they say, designed to ensure fairness by ensuring that


people spend no more than a third of their adult life in receipt of the


state pension. When is it going to happen? Well, the legislation for


this is not due to be introduced until the G20 three. That's the time


you have the next review of future rises in the state pension age. --


until 2023. That will happen shortly after the publication of the


findings of the 2021 Census. That may well provide the answer to the


big issue which could completely throw the Government's strategy into


the air, which is the answer to this question - is the growth in life


expectancy falling? Now, the Institute of health equality has


warned this week that after steadily increasing over the past century,


the rise in life expecting seen is beginning to store. And that will


give them nerves in the Treasury, because they are hoping, looking


decades ahead, that you could eventually balance the books by


raising the retirement age to save money.


Earlier, I was joined by the Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke.


I began by asking him why the Government only accepted


the Cridland report recommendations today, four months


after it was published, and not before the General election.


We were looking at the Cridland report, we hadn't made a conclusion


as to what we would do in response to it when the general


Because it wouldn't have been very popular to put it in the manifesto.


We hadn't reached a conclusion as to what we were going to do.


The general election, as you know, was called very suddenly.


At that point, we weren't in a position to respond


So, we looked at it again, it was one for the new government


after the general election, we've looked at it...


It was March, and if I remember rightly, the election


Well, the election was called in April, but we hadn't


reached a conclusion as to what we were going to say


This is clearly a complex matter, it's not an easy,


But it's not even going to be legislated for in this Parliament,


because the DUP won't wear it, so it may never happen.


Well, in terms of the timing, we shall see.


We don't need to immediately rush into legislation,


The lifetime of this Parliament would not be


Well, we don't need to make an immediate decision


But the fact that we can give people as much notice as possible


We will, of course, look at any new evidence on life expectancy.


The ONS publishes a report every couple of years,


so we'll have an opportunity to see further reports from the ONS.


But as I say, the ONS does something specifically on life expectancy


But the evidence at the moment points very strongly -


very strongly - to the need to increase the state pension age,


otherwise we impose a burden on future taxpayers


would simply be unfair, and we end up with a state pension


But isn't this now a complete failure of imagination,


the pension to poorer areas, you should be weighting the pension


It is such a failure to think outside the box?


Well, John Cridland looked at this point about variable pensions


and so on, and the conclusion that he reached was that that


would result in a degree of complexity that would create


uncertainty for people, that people wouldn't be


So you go for this, and therefore, now, are you actually


factoring this into your fiscal planning straightaway?


Well, we, erm, that'll be a matter for the OBR, but yes, that's...


That's the trajectory that we are going on, so, yes,


we believe that this is the right approach.


Given the information that we have in front of us,


given the profile of the demography of this country, is that we do need


to move towards 68 coming in earlier than was previously.


Now, you will be aware that Theresa May spoke on LBC today,


and she said, in terms of all of these leaks


from the Cabinet, that no minister is unsackable.


Now, erm, you know who the leakers are -


Well, I don't know who the leakers are, but I think whoever the leakers


How many strikes before they are out, do you think?


As I say, I don't know who the leakers are, and I don't


know if the Prime Minister knows who the leakers are.


The important thing is that the Cabinet works


constructively together, that we have meetings which are held


in confidence, and in particular, that we stand behind the Prime


But you're one of her biggest supporters,


you are steadily with her - it must be very frustrating, should


Well, I think when it comes to the personnel of the Cabinet,


that is quite literally above my pay grade.


But I think all of us in the Cabinet owe the Prime Minister loyalty.


And I think my sense is that the vast majority


of the Parliamentary party want us to get on with the job.


It means we have to face up and do some of the difficult things that


governments have to do, like what we're doing today.


And we've got to demonstrate that we're governing for the good


of the British people as a whole, and I think we can do that,


I think we are doing that, I think every day goes on,


But we're all looking forward to a recess, too.


While we are preoccupied with Brexit negotiations,


we are not the only European country locking horns with the mother ship.


Today the EU gave Poland a week to halt judicial reforms that


would put courts under direct control by Warsaw or face punishment


for undermining democracy in the largest former communist


Trouble has been brewing over democratic rights


in Poland since the election of the Conservative Law and Justice


Here's our Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban.


Why has it come to a head now? It has been drip, drip, but a series of


issues caused this to come up now in Brussels. Last week it was steps to


put people on the committee that chooses all the judges. The Supreme


Court as well, two different bits of legislation going through which


increase the influence of Parliament in the selection of the judiciary


and the EU is saying that threatens the separation of state powers and


is incompatible with membership of the EU. What are the implications


for the EU? They have been murmuring darkly about article seven measures.


It has never been brought in before. It would be a big step and that is


saying you no longer meet the criteria necessary to belong to the


EU because you have taken steps to undermine democracy. They will not


do it immediately and there are some big questions. They can start the


process by majority rule, but if it gets to the sanctions point, which


is saying you are suspended, you cannot take part in meetings of the


EU, that requires the agreement of Hungary which has an assertive


leader as well, and it could veto sanctions. It could be quite the


damage and ongoing stand-off between the Eastern European countries,


Poland and Hungary and the EU. We did ask the Polish


government to join us I'm joined instead by


Kamila Gashuk Pihovitch - she's the spokesperson


for the opposition Modern Party. She joins me from the parliament


building in Warsaw, from where she has just stepped out


of the debate. We hear the protests outside. Can


you tell us what is going on in the chamber and also outside? At the


moment we have a commission on human rights and justice ongoing. The


subject is the act of liquidation of the Supreme Court. I have chaired


meetings and the current government represents nothing more than


populism and nationalism. It has opened a wound with Polish


democracy. At the moment we have three acts which aim at the total


liquidation of the independent judiciary system. The first act


dismissed all people in the Supreme Court and the new person who will be


appointed, the new judges, will be the minister of justice, a


politician from the Law and Justice Party. It is against the


constitution. All the opposition parties have a lot of amendments


here and you are trying to talk this out. Actually at the moment since a


couple of days we have thousands of people demonstrating all over Poland


peacefully but systematically against this liquidation of the


independence of the Polish judiciary system. I think that also the


lawyers Association started seriously thinking about some kind


of hunger strike to defend the Constitution, defend the human


rights if all these three acts will be implemented. Speaking about


Poland as a democratic country could be an overstatement in a few days.


If you are saying talking about Poland as a democratic country could


be an overstatement, you must think it is possible you will have article


seven triggered against you. On the other hand, this government was


elected with a large mandate at the end of 2015. Do you think Poland


will be set aside from the European Union? What will it be? This huge


mandate, I am not sure it was a huge mandate. Poland is comprised of 38


million citizens and only 4.5 million voted for the ruling party


at this moment. They do not receive the right to change the Polish


constitution, but they tried to do this with the ordinary acts, the act


of dismissal of the judges in the Supreme Court. We heard today from


the EU a very strong statement that the European Union sees what is


happening in Poland at the moment. Law and Justice broke the Polish


constitution, law and justice broke all those laws on which the European


Union was built. The European Union sees that the Polish government, the


Law and Justice Party government threatens Polish journalists. Thank


you very much for joining us. It is important to underline... OK.


Before we go, in an unbridled abuse of presenter power this morning,


I insisted we end the show with Scotland versus England


at the European Football Championships in Utrecht tonight.


It is the first real opportunity. It has been taken. Clean off the line.


They find it. And Taylor again. What an effort from her. It is on the


side and history is made. A free header and then touched in. It is


six right at the death. After the thunderstorms that


affected many over the last couple of days, things are coming down, but


that does not mean dry all the time. We will see some rain in the morning


in eastern areas and that will clear way to give brighter skies. It will


stay wet for a good part of the day in the far north of Scotland.


Sunshine and showers


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