With Evan Davis. The business dinner where some of the rich guests grope young hostesses. Plus Boris and the NHS, suicide amongst students, Bitcoin and Hugh Masekela.
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Is this the most grotesquely sexist
charity event anywhere?
The business dinner where
some of the rich guests
grope hostesses, and
an auction prize is plastic
surgery for the wife.
Stag night type shenanigans,
at the Dorchester Hotel,
raising money for Great Ormond
Street among others.
We'll hear the details of what went
on at the Presidents Club dinner
from the FT's undercover reporter
who was there.
Are we surprised that this goes on?
Should we be outraged?
Also tonight, this is
how you mine diamonds.
And this is how you mine Bitcoins.
Why are huge numbers
of supercomputers now being used
to conjure up cryptocurrency
from thin air?
Your running costs are 25% of
revenue which makes net profit 75%,
which is a very high margin.
Leaving home for the first time.
It's not always easy
being a student.
With the suicide rate rising,
should we worry more
about their mental health?
If you're paying so much and you're
kind of getting little back,
you should think that all the extra
stuff around that, all the support
and all the pastoral care that
you can get, should be
at least adequate.
It's not how you'd expect
charities to make money.
A dinner for some top business names
at the Dorchester Hotel last
Thursday - a men only event -
at which the rich get
drunk and are then turned
on by attractive young hostesses,
who have to put up from some
of the guests with groping
and from a minority worse.
A kind of raunchy stag
night, in black tie.
We can only bring you fleeting
pictures from inside,
as the hostesses' mobile phones
were locked away beforehand.
The women also had to sign
But what we have, we can report
as the Financial Times sent two
women in as hostesses,
in an undercover investigation
Now the event does raise money
by the way, a couple of million.
And it is an annual bash that has
been going for many years.
But in the wake of the Harvey
the dinner seems like a piece
of the worst of the 1980s -
or 50s even - crashing
into the modern era.
Is this the night that
in the city and at the top level
of business are exposed?
Our business editor,
Helen Thomas, reports.
A 5-star London location. The guest
list scattered with big names and
big wallets. And innocuous billing,
the President's club charity dinner.
This was a charity auction like no
other. Last week, according to the
Financial Times, 360 men from
British business, politics and
finance came to a black-tie event
here. 360 men but no women except
they were joined by 130 hostesses.
Young women, reportedly chosen for
their looks, who are given short,
tight dresses to wear. The women,
who were paid £150, were paraded in
and distributed around the table.
Later in the evening, the paper
says, hostesses were groped,
harassed or propositioned. The
Financial Times had two women under
cover at the event. According to
them, hostesses reported men
repeatedly putting hands up their
skirts. One said an
skirts. One said an attendee had
exposed his Venus to her. According
to the charitable trust's last set
of accounts for 2016, the Presidents
Club received donations and income
from an annual event...
And it raises a lot of money. In
2016, the charity pulled on an
income from its dinner and donations
of over £2 million. It donates to
various charities involving children
and children's health. Its chairman,
Bruce Ritchie, and businessman David
Meller, who sits on the board of
education and the Mayors fund the
London. Mr Ritchie said tonight...
The organisers are appalled by
allegations of bad behaviour. Such
behaviour is totally unacceptable.
The allegations will be investigated
fully and appropriate action taken.
The Presidents Club hostesses had
been selected by an agency. It was
compared by David Walliams. There
were tabled by WPP, property company
Frogmore. Among those listed as
attending were British business
figures like Peter Jones and Tim
Steiner was a bit is not clear if
all the men listed attended on the
night. Also the newly appointed
education minister. The founder of
artistic events said this is a
really important charity fundraising
The newly appointed education
minister said he did not stay long
enough to comment on the occasion.
Others declined did not respond to
request for comment. This is an
outdated event which raises money
for good causes for that many of the
men may not have been aware of the
particular characteristics. Some
expressed dismay. Still, a secretive
men only event feels unusual in
today's modern environment.
today's modern environment. Throw in
the hostesses who reportedly had to
sign nondisclosure and agreements
and allegations of Miss behaviour
and it feels very odd indeed. Big
names and big money gives the
Presidents Club mask of
Helen Thomas there.
We should say that there's no
suggestion any of the men named
engaged in inappropriate behaviour.
Certainly, now we all know
about the dinner, we can expect
a debate about what it tells us.
But let's hear from the FT reporter
who acted as a hostess that night.
Earlier I spoke to Madison Marriage.
I asked her what the atmosphere was
like. Incredibly loud. Huge amount
of testosterone in the room. 130
women hired as hostesses and you
could have a drink or two on the
You could have a drink on the
I am not an experienced
hostess I have spoken to several who
say that is very usual.
tell you there would be some
groping? How reasonable would it be
that women expected what was going
I was warned that people
might be annoying.
What was your
experience of the physicality?
groped several times. I know
numerous other hostesses said the
same thing had happened to them. It
is hands on skirts, hands on hips,
on stomachs of arms going around
your waist unexpectedly. Not
high-level groping. One of the
strangest things you could be
talking to a man and he would
suddenly start to hold your hand.
Where you surprised by what you
found that you were told they might
be annoying and you are paid a
couple of hundred quid for this was
updated not think that is what you
This event has been
running for 33 years. We knew such
things went on which is why we
wanted to go in there and see it for
ourselves. I knew stuff like that
might happen on the night but I was
not 100% sure. There are plenty of
other women who have no idea that
was the kind of event it would be.
One woman told me that she was
shocked. She was asked if she was a
prostitute on the night.
the other women? What are the
Aspiring lawyers, marketing
executives, film producers,
ambitious young women. You had the
students and you also have models,
actresses and dancers who do a lot
of hostess in work on the time to
make ends meet because their work is
not very regular.
Your behaviour was
controlled by your side of it, the
agency. For example, at the toilet.
I was followed and asked, where are
you going and when will you be back?
The quick. At three in the morning I
had done a ten hour shift and worked
in an office beforehand. I was
exhausted. Depressed but I had a
long day ahead of me on Friday.
was the worst you saw on that night?
Clearly there was a lot of grabbing
and groping going on.
The worst I
was told by a host Tess was a man
taking his Venus out in the course
of the dinner. The other one was
another man telling hostess to down
her glass of champagne, rip off her
knickers and dance on the table. I
cannot believe it still goes on in
dazzling 18th of it is shocking.
Eye-macro some people would say,
women go for it.
Sam go back time
after time. -- Sam go back.
women find it is fun and receive job
offers. That said, I spoke to
several women... Today I spoke to a
woman who said it was the worst job
she had ever done in her life. If
you want to run an event where women
are voluntarily walking in in
knowledge they will be groped, Vine,
make that clear in the hiring
process. That was not made clear.
Many women did not have a clue what
they were letting themselves in for.
The Dorchester hotel said it had a
zero tolerance policy over groping
of any employees.
Nicola Horlick is the Chief
Executive of Money and Co.
She worked in senior city
jobs for many years.
Are you surprised at this? I am
seldom speechless but when I read
that article I was somewhat
speechless. I felt I was reading
about something that happened 40 or
50 years ago.
The Lap dancing
culture in which you might see this
as on that kind of spectrum.
that still go one? Occasionally you
read about Christmas parties where
they have ended up in a lap dancing
club but not on the scale it used to
happen in the 80s and early 90s. I
thought we had moved on from this.
WPP, their biggest communications
company in the country have said
they will not be having any
association with this event in the
future and they did not know about
what went on. What is your
impression of the clients? How do
you think they justified to
themselves sitting in something so
obviously not? Their host says it is
the most un-PC event in the year.
What do you think about them?
don't know how anyone can justify
it. Can you imagine a group of women
getting together and hosting a
dinner getting some young guys
You could not imagine a
Chippendales type thing on the
I don't think so but it is
highly and rightly we would organise
such a thing. It seems so weird, so
out of keeping with the present day.
The Hollywood thing a slightly
different. Hollywood is not
organised in the way that large
companies are. It does not have HR
departments. Lots of producers are
acting on their own good you can see
how that could have happened in
2017/ 18. With this site you have
major companies, highly regarded
business people. What about their
wives? What will I think now they
have seen this footage?
divided viewers to women. I bet HR
departments all have very good
policies, written policies on
employment and equal pay and then
they go off and do a night like
It is very hard to understand.
One of the interesting aspects is
the nondisclosure agreement. The
other thing is the contracts of the
hostesses saying the club should not
be held liable for any actions of
members, staff or attendees that
amounts to harassment. Can you say
they have no responsibility for
whatever anyone does?
sign away your rights in a contract.
What does the city need to do now?
For a lot of people it will be a bit
of a shock. Not a shock that it was
happening, the shock that it is
A big shock. Also that it
was in aid of charity and charities
like when Tallman Street and St
Thomas 's Hospital are recipients of
this money. -- great Ormond. They
must be wondering whether their name
should be associated with it. I hope
this event will not be happening
next year. Let's put it this way. It
is 35 years since I went into the
city and I am a little bit sad that
things have not really changed that
I was also interested that
some women said they got some job
offers from people.
What is going on
there? That is also quite curious.
It is a strange way to go about it.
Nowadays is it is terribly rigid.
You cannot say I met an attractive
young woman and have offered her a
That sounds highly strange
was even graduate recruitment is
very orchestrated and it is very
hard for a senior executive did
tenor others here want this goal to
work with me.
In your junior days,
sexism was rife.
No, I was fortunate, I worked for a
bank in the City that was a
fantastic organisation, a true
meritocracy, and I was made a
director in my 20s and because I
reach that at an early age after
that people respected and
fortunately I have never been put in
that position but I am concerned
about girls put in that position at
Nicola thank you. We
have to say they're meant who did
not know what was on the agenda.
not know what was on the agenda. I
understand Nadhim Zahawi. Was
invited by David Meller, the
businessman, not the former
Conservative Cabinet minister. This
David Meller is the director of
Department for Education where
Nadhim Zahawi. Was appointed
minister. I understand they left
this event early because they felt
it was a bizarre and uncomfortable
event. It was worth pointing out he
has been to the event before. That
is before he was elected an MP in
2010 but as I understand it he felt
the event was completely different
to the event he attended last week.
I was told a senior member of David
Cameron's cabinet did attend this
event whilst they were a member of
David Cameron's cabinet. I have to
say I have not been able to verify
It's been a funny old
few days in politics.
Just when Theresa May's
position was looking stable,
there was sudden backbench chatter
that she was lacking
"Dull, dull, dull", said
one, Nicholas Soames.
And then a sudden Boris
Johnson initiative -
How did his demands go down? Asking
for extra money for the NHS and then
Downing Street keen to say no member
of the Cabinet mentioned any bigger.
This was not a great day for Boris
Johnson and indeed Theresa May led
to the isolation of Boris Johnson at
this cabinet when she opened it by
saying it is an important discussion
by the NHS and we need to have these
discussions in private and we around
this Cabinet table want to be able
to spend the additional money the UK
can spend after it leaves
can spend after it leaves the EU on
the NHS but now is not the time to
do that and she was supported by
almost every member of the Cabinet
apart from Michael Gove, still there
with Boris Johnson and I understand
there was a very strong
intervention, pointed intervention,
by Amber Rudd, singling out Boris
What did Boris Johnson's
It would be fair to say
he is chastened this evening. He
said to his friends he was mocked
said to his friends he was mocked up
-- mucked up. His frustrations with
Brexit and the way it has been
negotiated are well known and he has
concerns about the Prime Minister's
overall timidity. But he is
admitting the Cabinet gave him a
kicking. I am told he regarded Amber
Rudd's intervention as personally
offensive but there is one silver
lining. He believes Philip Hammond's
robotic response, I gave the NHS 5
billion, means people who want in
the Conservative Party to protect
the NHS might be thinking of turning
to Boris Johnson rather than the
Too many students are
taking their own lives,
while at university.
We know it can be hard for some
young people to cope,
a long way from home
for the first time.
And it is hard for family
and old friends to spot what's
going on from miles away.
The numbers have been rising
shockingly over the last decade.
In 2016, 146 full-time students
killed themselves in England
and Wales, almost a 60% rise over
the ten years before.
In a few moments,
we'll ask the big question -
how can universities help students
cope with the stress
and any associated confusion,
loneliness or depression?
But first, let's hear from Bristol,
a city that has experienced the pain
of several student suicides
in the last 18 months.
James Clayton has been there today.
Earlier this month, a third-year law
student studying at Bristol was
found dead. The university has said
it was a suspected suicide. In the
last 18 months, seven students are
believed to have taken their lives
at the University and the deaths
have put the spotlight on how
universities can help students with
mental-health problems. Numerous
studies have found that students are
increasingly reporting mental health
illness in further education. One
study by the Institute for Public
Policy Research found students are
at risk in a unique way, a cocktail
of stressful factors including
financial, social and academic
There is a toxic mix of
things impacting on this generation.
That includes unrealistic
expectations they have of
themselves. This can be compounded
by the fact with the advent of
social media, students never have
any downtime, and often feeling
inadequate because what they see is
the highlights of each other's
Universities have a duty of
care towards students but what that
duty in tales is not clear.
our duty of care as a university is
to be alert to the fact we have
increasing numbers of students with
additional support needs. And to aim
to support those students in order
that they are able to engage with
their studies and make the most of
their time at university and also to
recognise we are not a health
service, as the question indicates,
it can be a grey area.
university says it is improving
pastoral care, investing in £1
million additionally annually in a
student well-being service but not
everybody is impressed. This is the
well-being editor at the Bristol
student newspaper. Is there an
expectation students should expect
better services including mental
students pay so much for academic
help and get their degrees so
especially if you pay so much anger
little back, you should think the
extra staff, the support and
pastoral care should be at least
adequate. For students to feel they
have somewhere safe to go. Are they
adequate here? At Bristol, no. I do
not think... I think they recognise
things need to change but they are
scrambling after the rise in mental
health issues and it should be the
other way round.
ultimately fall into a grey area.
Legally adults but often only just.
As the mental health needs of young
people are changing, some are
increasingly looking at how
universities can meet the needs of
students. The question is, how big a
role can they should they be
With me in the studio
is graduate Vivienne Isebor,
who spent months looking for mental
health support at her university.
And joining us from Bristol
is Professor Steve West,
chair of Universities UK's
Working Group on Mental Health
in Higher Education and
Vice-Chancellor of the University
of the West of England.
Your experience, you had a bad time
in your final year, and was being at
university, did it make it more
difficult than being at home?
different being a student? The fact
you are away from home, especially
staying on campus, and everybody is
busy, so even having friends on
campus does not necessarily mean
someone is checking up on you, but
the stress of deadlines and trying
to stay on top of things it is hard
to feel connected and part of
something and if you are struggling
you can fall through the net and
You can retreat and
people notice you are not around as
much that they do not know something
You can go under the radar
and because you are busy and your
parents are not able to see.
number of suicides and other
mental-health problems seem to be
rising faster than student numbers.
Is there an easy answer to what is
going on or is it just diagnosis and
I do not think it is
diagnosis and reporting, although
that is getting better. 50% of
school leavers go to university, a
massive increase in numbers coming
into universities. The social
constructs they are leaving and
going into adds pressure. I think
universities are beginning to
recognise that we need to do more
than just is what required in terms
of statutory responsibilities. We
need students to flourish and we
need to do more work.
Is it your
contention the rise is mainly just
because many more people are going
to university and you expect more to
have problems, or is there something
else going on?
There is something
else going on because what we see is
more people entering university
declaring they have mental
ill-health as they arrive at
university. As they transition into
the University through it, we see
increasing demand as they go through
the transition. They are vulnerable
young people experiencing a
continuum of ill-health as part of
their overall mental health.
talk about treatment. You knew
something was wrong and wanted help.
You had to wait ages? It was
constantly signposted. My GP
signposted me back to university and
they signposted me to a counsellor
and a signpost is me on again and it
was a cycle and when I got help it
was three months after I first went
to see the GP.
By that time, you got
help in the end, is that right?
the end I got CBT off-campus but it
was a referral through the
counsellor at the University.
those three months, how serious was
It was pretty bad. I
was missing lectures and seminars. I
was missing deadlines. I had friends
able to help me through and get on
top of a few things but I was not
able to do my degree.
When you got
help, the waiting time was so long
you had to skip a year and do it
They gave me an extension is
part of the circumstances but it was
quite squashed so I could not hit
the grade I wanted.
treatment kept up with student
numbers of the provision of services
with the numbers who have problems
when they arrived?
We have seen
massive increases and there is
variability in the sector. The
project we are running, the step
change project, it tries to identify
best practice in universities and
evidence -based soup to support
What would be your
To create an
environment where students feel
empowered to seek help, and an
entire community of staff and
students working together to support
each other. Having permission to
have conversations and to say it is
OK to not be OK is an important
step. We can start to target
resources in an appropriate way.
That has a prevention effect as much
as a curative one?
need to get to the point where we
are working with students and staff.
We all have mental health and have
periods where our mental health is
poorer in other periods. We need to
be on to work with that as well as
provide treatment with services and
charities when people are falling
into mental ill-health. There is a
continuing but we need to engage
with the entire community. To work
with schools and parents as well as
Thank you both.
If you are feeling emotionally
distressed, and would like details
of organisations which offer advice
and support, go online to
Or you can call for free,
at any time, to hear recorded
information - 0800 066 066.
Whatever happens to the prices
of Bitcoin and its many derivatives
over the next few months,
and they've been volatile to say
the least over the lsat few,
the consensus is that the technology
underlying Bitcoin -
called blockchain -
is highly valuable.
It is the security of
the system, and it manages
the supply of Bitcoin.
And one of the clever
things about blockchain,
is that it is made to work
by a disparate set of self-appointed
custodians, called miners.
The whole brilliance of blockchain
is how it creates scarcity
and security of Bitcoin,
while managing to reward miners
for making it all hold it together.
The miners don't even have to go
underground or dirty their hands.
Our technology editor, David
Grossman, has been looking more
closely at what they do.
Lost in a cryptocurrency maze,
which is pretty fitting,
like their most famous incarnation
Bitcoin, are based on extremely
These puzzles are programmed
into the source code for Bitcoin.
Roughly every ten minutes or so,
a new puzzle is released
and computers all over the world
race to solve it.
Because the value of Bitcoin has
gone up so markedly over
the last year or so,
well, this activity has become
more and more popular.
It can be fabulously lucrative.
It's called Bitcoin mining.
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin don't
have a central register.
Their strength comes from having
what is called a distributed ledger.
It's a blockchain.
The blocks on the blockchain contain
details of every transaction
in the currency's history.
As new transactions happen,
they have to be placed in blocks
and added to the change.
-- the chain.
A new block contains roughly 2500
new transactions and,
to validate the new block,
each one contains the answer
to the puzzle from the last block.
This is the work the Bitcoin miners
are doing and if they, like me,
succeed and solve the puzzle first,
well, their reward is 12 and a half
freshly released Bitcoin.
And then, well the whole process
starts again with a new puzzle.
The more computers and more
computing power that is actually
mining Bitcoin, the more secure
the network is from some type
of cyber attack or attempted theft.
The Bitcoin miners are also
processing the transaction,
so if I were to send a Bitcoin
to you, a miner would actually
verify that that transaction
was legitimate before it was added
to the blockchain, which is simply
a ledger of all the Bitcoin
transactions in existence.
# Working in a coal mine,
going on down, down #
Working in a coal mine,
oops about to slip down.#
So what does Bitcoin mining
actually looked like?
Well, it is taking place
through those doors.
I'm in a facility somewhere near
London, that's all I can tell you.
We're not allowed to give
its precise location.
You may be able to detect already
something about Bitcoin mining.
It's incredibly noisy and it's
about to get a whole lot noisier
when we go in there,
so we need these.
And the first thing you notice
in here is it's not only
extremely noisy, it's
extremely hot, as well.
Today's miners aren't
the grimy-faced men
of granite of the past.
Today, they have
silk pocket squares.
They produce around 100 decibels.
It is basically like a jet
getting off the ground.
Can you open it up
and we can have a look?
Don't show the combination!
So these are Bitcoin miners?
Vlad runs 63 mining computers.
It is like a hairdryer, isn't it?
This is, he says, a spectacularly
Of course, there is no
guarantee in anything,
even if you buy dollars or the euro,
there is no guarantee,
because the price keeps
changing - its volatility.
You can guarantee your
result in Bitcoins.
Basically you already know
the network difficulty.
You can keep track of it.
You know the performance
of the miners and you know
your running costs,
so it is quite easy to calculate
your net profit in Bitcoin.
What you don't know is the Bitcoin
exchange rate at any given time.
So you of course depend
on Bitcoin's volatility.
What is the profit
margin in an industry
like Bitcoin mining, now?
The profit margin, it doesn't really
matter where you are,
you can be in the UK,
China, Iceland and other countries.
But roughly, usually, your running
costs are about 25% of your revenue.
Which makes a net profit of around
75%, which is a very high margin.
That's why lots of
people are in it now?
Yes, I think so.
There is huge concern
about how much energy is now
being spent Bitcoin mining.
All those computers churning
away all over the world.
Estimates vary about how much
power they are using.
Some say it's as much
as Monaco uses annually.
Others say it is the same
as Ireland's annual consumption.
I think what gets missed off in this
conversation is that the costs
of other aspects of our financial
system - the mining of the metals
that go in into our coins.
The operations of payment centres
and bank branches and ATMs,
paper currency and shipping all this
around, is also consuming
a lot of electricity.
It has a pretty big
carbon footprint as well.
When you compare Bitcoin's carbon
footprint to our current financial
system's carbon footprint,
it doesn't look quite as bad.
The amount of energy used by Bitcoin
is going up and up -
partly because people are using more
and more powerful
computers for mining.
The Bitcoin algorithm actually
adjusts the difficulty
of the problem to make sure it only
gets solved every ten minutes.
As the total computing power
engaged in mining goes up,
so does the difficulty.
Nobody really expected it
would become such a big thing.
So in the beginning you just had
people mining Bitcoin
with their laptops and computers,
so it was relatively
easy to get one.
Mostly people are using Antminers,
which come from China.
They are kind of very optimised,
very powerful graphics cards,
but only can do one task.
They can only mine Bitcoins,
so you can't use them
for any other currencies,
apart from Bitcoin cash.
So which direction is this
currency going now?
The only thing we can say for sure
is the Bitcoin mines
will fall silent one day.
Bitcoin source code only allows
the creation of 21 million Bitcoin,
which, at the rate the puzzle
is being solved every ten
minutes, will hit in 2140.
What a Bitcoin will be worth next
week is hard enough to predict,
so who knows what the economics
of this cryptocurrency
will be by then?
South Africa is mourning
the death of Hugh Masekela.
He was not just one of the old guard
of anti-apartheid campaigners who,
exiled in 1990, stuck with the cause
and saw his homeland transformed.
He was also a legendary jazz
trumpeter who used his music to make
a political point.
Known as Bra Hugh in his home
country, he was 78 and died
of prostate cancer.
He'd been diagnosed in 2008,
and had been campaigning for men
to get regular check ups.
So, we thought we'd close
the programme today by hearing
British jazz saxophonist and Radio 3
presenter, Soweto Kinch -
a friend, collaborator
and admirer of Masekele -
play out with a jazz tribute to him.
But before we do, let's talk to him.
He was, I got muddled in my dates.
He was excised in 1960, all the way
through to 1990. An extraordinary
long time. He really was out of the
country. He actually managed to be a
very effective anti-apartheid
campaigner from outside.
You have to
remember there were thousands of
X-Files just like him, not just
musicians but mechanics, lawyers and
doctors who cast away from their
native land and had to make do in
Mozambique, Nigeria. One thing that
struck me in the few shows I played
with him whether of former X
with him whether of former X --
exiles who had come to remember.
story was he was using politically
charged music to motivate. What was
A lot has been spoken
about his political fight and being
an agitator. In my personal
interaction with him he was calm and
charming. There was a real fire
between his eyes but an ability to
galvanise people through sometimes
Joy and celebration is quite a
I remember there
was a time when very ambivalent
attitudes towards the ANC existed in
the West and whether it was a good
force or a terrorist force. Maybe it
was that you were talking about.
Absolutely. I don't think the same
tension between terrorist and read
fight was there with people in the
diaspora. He was instrumental,
particularly in the song, Soweto
Blues, which was recorded to
commemorate what happened in 1976.
Instrumental in getting the story
out there. That is what I owe my
The musical legacy, their
musical style, how would you
He managed to
embody something we all strive for
as jazz musicians. It is about
finding their own voice and
articulating their own culture and
background. That is what he did. He
revolutionised the way phrasing was
done with the trumpet.
is the phrase. You have been to
South Africa so many times they
named the township after you.
You are going to play for us
now. Thank you for that.
That's it then for tonight.
Emily is here tomorrow
but here to play us out
with Hugh Masekela's Grazing
in the Grass, here's Soweto Kinch.