There are no fewer than 30 inquiries into – and some 200 police working full-time on – the News of the World hacking scandal, according to the new Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe.
He declared the fact as if it showed just how much effort Scotland Yard was putting into a case it once treated with such lethargy. We would rather think that it showed just how confused and diffuse the various investigations into this scandal are becoming.
Yes, it is a case of some complexity. And yes, there are big issues involved about the behaviour of sections of the press and the reluctance to pursue action by the police and politicians. The number of inquiries, however, reflects more the desire of politicians, the police and News International to show that they are doing something in response to the wave of public disgust at the extent of the hacking.
We don't need them all. When it comes to disaster or scandal, the surest way is the most direct and the most focused. Knock off the nought from 30 and we might get there quicker. If not, Scotland Yard's "Operation Weeting" will become "Operation Waiting" and we'll be here for years before the full truth comes out.