Matthew Norman: Jamie chooses an unlikely role model for his pupils

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The Independent Online

Should you have missed the Channel 4 trailers, be warned that Jamie Oliver's philanthropic menu will be extended on Wednesday night to include education.

In Jamie's Dream School, 20 unqualified school-leavers will be exposed to the inspirational musings of celebrity teachers, and what a line-up of he's gathered, with Cherie Blair lecturing on the law, and Simon Callow bringing alive Romeo and Juliet.

But soft, what light through yonder classroom window breaks, to illuminate politics to the young? Heavens above, it's only Alastair Campbell! All that's known so far of his efforts is a trailer in which he proselytises the power of peaceful protest. For the explanation of how anti-terrorism legislation was used to arrest a young woman for reciting the names of Iraq war dead at the Cenotaph, we must be patient.

In the meantime, hats off to Jamie for a signing well-judged to deflect any carping about this being an infantile publicity stunt, and commiserations on failing to land other, equally well-qualified tutors. I gather he came close to landing Rab C Nesbitt for personal groomingJohn Galliano for multicultural fashion (Lesson 1: Adapting Your Sheitel for Ladies' Day at Royal Ascot), and the Beverly Allitt-Harold Shipman double act for the medical module: "The appliance of medical ethics from cradle to grave".

* And so to John Yates, who did his best over cash for honours but continues to take stick for his work on phone-hacking. With a High Court judge asking the Met to cease protecting its mates at Wapping, this seems the moment to bolster John's confidence with another instalment of "Yates of the Yard Down The Ages", in which he targets his rigorous detective techniques on historic crimes. Today we find him emerging from a wormhole into a Chicago garage on 14 February, 1929. "Right, what's all this then?" "What's what?" "These seven corpses, Mr Capone, riddled with bullets." "Well, they were depressed, see, as they never got no Valentine's cards." "Lovelorn suicides you mean?" "Yeah." "Fair enough. Thanks for clearing it up."

* Preparatory to Colin Firth's Oscars coronation, Ed Balls reflected in the Mail on Sunday on his battle to overcome a stammer (congenital, he believes, since his father is a sufferer). "At secondary school I noticed it more and more," wrote Ed, "[then] in 2004, I went on Any Questions. Friends wondered why there were delays when it was my turn to speak ... My dad rang me and said, 'You've got the same thing as me.'" Mmm. If it took Balls Père 20 years to notice, either Ed's stammer was never as bad as he hints, or his dad lacks the most minimal ability for observing animal behaviour. Michael Balls is a zoologist.

* If the Yes, Prime Minister stage show is one tenth as good as the telly shows, book now. The episode shown on a cable channel on Friday, "Whisky Priest", which concerned the sale of British arms to foreign nasties, had a timeless quality. The distinction is that Jim Hacker's government had deniability when it came to claiming not to have a clue where they would end up.

* As for the closing lines, these also felt pertinent. Hacker: "I fully understand that you are purely committed to means and not ends." Sir Humphrey: "As far as I am concerned, minister, there is no difference between means and ends." Something there to spark a debate in Mr Campbell's classroom?

* Whether or not it's turning 50 in a few weeks, something ails William Hague. The Foreign Secretary's loss of mojo – evident to some since his cost-cutting hotel bedroom arrangements became public last summer – has become blatant since this week's fiasco over Gaddafi's travel plans. If a mid-life crisis has turned William's mind to a fresh start, I can help. Repeating false rumours from Twitter about the Colonel being en route to Venezuela without any attempt to confirm them qualifies him for one new career. I hereby offer him holiday relief work writing this diary whenever he fancies a crack.