The Sleazy State: How the Web of Patronage Works / Day 2: Blowing the whistle on the 'spiv culture' in Whitehall: The 'Moles'

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The Independent Online
ANONYMOUS CALLS and letters from whistle-blowers trickle in weekly to Rhodri Morgan, the Labour MP for Cardiff West, offering detailed inside information on malpractice in quangos, writes Mary Braid.

With the Public Accounts Committee and the National Audit Office stretched by the growing quangocracy and quango meetings closed to the public, Mr Morgan said MPs rely heavily on staff to blow the whistle on alleged misdemeanours.

'I was very frightened about coming forward,' said David, a Welsh Development Agency employee who provided Mr Morgan with vital information on its disastrous pounds 300,000 privatisation attempt. 'You have to be so careful. You put your job and family on the line.'

Mr Morgan believes Welsh moles who risk 'jobs and mortgages' are motivated by political antipathy towards the Conservatives and their quangos. But David believes in the WDA and the need for quangos. He just wants them to be accountable and properly monitored.

'In the late 1980s the WDA's public service ethos became polluted with spiv culture and top executives began to treat the agency like a fiefdom,' David said. 'I was primarily motivated by anger at what I saw. These people saw the rules and regulations as something to get past.

'And yet this was Joe Public's money - yours and mine - that was being wasted. The foreign trips and free cars stick in your throat.'

David believes as many as 20 of the WDA's staff have given information to Mr Morgan and other MPs. 'It was so frustrating to watch Rhodri get so close so many times in parliamentary questions but not quite get there. In the end I decided to help.'

Last month he and his colleagues passed a vote of no confidence in the management of the WDA. They insist that the board is ignoring recommendations in a critical report of the agency and are angry that top executives are still in place.

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