Diary: What if Yates of the Yard had investigated Brutus?

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The Independent Online

With top level detective work, as with Grand Slam tennis, confidence is king, and even the most resilient of officers is vulnerable to the corrosive acid of self doubt after public humiliation. So an alkaline antidote is required for John Yates, who was promoted to Acting Deputy Commissioner of the Met as reward for acting out the part of someone seriously investigating the News of the World... dramatic history's most convincing portrayal of a serving policeman since Kenneth Williams in Carry On Constable. So I am pleased to introduce the confidence-rebuilding feature Yates of The Yard Down the Ages, our first instalment finding the time-travelling cop transported to Rome in March, 44 BC. "Right then, what's going on here?" "It ain't what it looks, Clouseauus Maximus, I never touched him." "Mr Brutus, you are holding a knife stained with Caesar's newly shed blood." "Yes, but I only pulled it out from his chest to try to save him." "Come, come, sir, I heard him cry, 'Et tu, Brute?' with his last breath not two minutes ago." "No wonder in all this commotion, chief, but you misheard. What he cried was, 'Yeti! You brute!' It was the abominable snowman, it come rampaging aht the Senate, and done him with the blade." "Honest?" "Straight up, guv. Why'd I want to kill him? He was like a father to me." "In that case, Mr B, sorry to have troubled you, and you're free to go. Case closed."

* Would that it were so easy to be charitable about executives at News International who told Yatesy there was nothing more to see here, show's over, on your way, etc. In fact, the Government might want to legislate to create a new offence: conspiracy to save police time.

Picking one highlight from this vexing affair is a struggle, but the nod goes to long-suspended NoW reporter Dan Evans. In the race for Excuse of the Month, Dan faced strong competition from both David Cameron (went to Rebekah Brooks's for dinner solely because she is "a constituent"), and Charlie Sheen (rushed to hospital with "a hernia"). But Dan takes it for explaining that he inadvertently accessed Kelly Hoppen's voicemail, having called the interior designer for entirely innocent reasons, after the keys on his phone "became stuck". Sheerest genius.

* If Rupert does get around to sacking Mr Beck – and I'd take 4-6 that he does before the year's out – there might be a transatlantic opening for our own leading shock jock. Jon Gaunt remains an arch News Corp loyalist despite losing his Sun column and the gig on defunct SunTalk radio. His stirring defence of Andy Gray and fellow Coventry native Richard Keys – that poor, poor city; Godiva, the Luftwaffe, now this brace of beauties – on 5 Live early last week looks, with hindsight, exquisitely well timed.

* Without wishing to dwell on yesterday's events in Melbourne, thanks to Eurosport for indulging the old theory that laughter is the best medicine. During the last change-over before Novak Djokovic completed his win, the broadcaster ran a tourism commercial with the seductive tagline "Egypt... where it all begins." Perhaps so, but where will it all end?

* The public-relations side of things goes just as swimmingly for Mr Murdoch in America, where leading rabbis have taken a full-page newspaper ad to complain about Fox News and Glenn Beck. You may recall how Glenn accused George Soros of collaborating with the Nazis as a Jewish teenager in Hungary in terms closely modelled on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The good news for Rupert is the dog who hasn't barked is Melanie Phillips, who would blog lividly about the cancer of anti-semitism if she heard a Farming Today report about crops being threatened by damaging dews. If Mr Beck (on whose show, coincidentally, she has been a regular guest) has said nothing to offend Mad Mel, there can't be a thing in it. The other good news is that the rabbis placed their advert in Rupert's Wall Street Journal, so he's made a few bucks there. Swings and roundabouts.