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"You do not need to be a colourful character to be a politician. That way you end up with buffoons. You need serious thinkers" - Stephen Dorrell, who has quit the Shadow Cabinet to become a one-man think tank.

"I think I have peaked too early. Everyone will be sick of me by the time it comes to vote" - Ken Livingstone, Labour MP, on his chances of becoming Mayor of London.

"Soundbite and slogan, strapline and headline: at every turn we meet hyperbole. The soaring inflation of the English language is more urgently in need of control than the economic variety" - Trevor Nunn, artistic director of the National Theatre.

"Maybe some people find I have been impatient with them, but I won't accept that as arrogance. I know who I am myself. After all, I spend a lot of time with myself" - Robin Cook, Foreign Secretary.

"Some modern things are terrible. I can't imagine people wasting money on them. But other people's tastes are different and what I think looks rather like a horrid big spider crawling around might in fact be a work of genius in a couple of centuries" - Baroness Thatcher on art.

"Politicians are always corrupt: that's the one true constant. I know that one day I want to get involved in politics" - Brenda Schad, Wonderbra model.

"I would come to the conclusion, no, I wouldn't wear one. I think it could be a bit draughty" - Denis Law, former Scotland and Manchester United striker, when asked if he, like the England and Manchester United midfield player David Beckham, would ever wear a sarong.