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Policing is a cynical profession with sick, black humour used as a technique to keep you sane, but sometimes it hardens officers prematurely - Sir Paul Condon, Metropolitan Police Commissioner

For a man linked with satire he was without malice to anyone, although he did admit to pursuing an irrational vendetta against the late, great Gracie Fields - Richard Ingrams, former editor of 'Private Eye', on Peter Cook

I do hope you won't go on about my walking shoes - Gillian Shephard, Education Secretary, to a newspaper interviewer

The defining moment of mid-life crisis for me was Tony Blair's election. I felt quite safe with dear old John Smith. Now they are coming from behind, a younger man has got there before you - Tony Banks, Labour MP

The male mid-life crisis is non-existent. My life has been one of crisis all the time - Alan Whicker, author, traveller and broadcaster

The job of a councillor has reached a point of historic dullness. What is the purpose if you exist only to do the bidding of a hostile government in Westminster? - Michael Hart, fellow and tutor in politics at Exeter College, Oxford

It was quite a challenge, I don't think anyone has ever had to make a birthday cake for a horse - Ann Marshall, who made a 20-kilo cake for the Grand National legend Red Rum, to mark his 30th birthday

In leg-irons they have absolutely no chance of escaping. Therefore they won't get shot. This will save on medical bills - Ron Jones, prison commissioner in Alabama, where chain gangs have been restored