Quotes of the week

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There is not an anti-English bone in my body. I have forgotten more about English history than most Tory MPs ever learned.

Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party

It would be dishonest to say that I'm beyond ambition, but the fires of ambition are rather tepid these days.

Chris Patten, ex-governor of Hong Kong, on his political future

No taxation without respiration.

Steve Forbes, magazine proprietor and Republican presidential hopeful pledging to scrap death duties

Rarely, if ever, in the arts has so much money and effort been wasted

Peter Longman, director of the Theatres Trust, on of Lottery funding for the arts

The Christmas season with its noxiously upbeat carols is a living hell. Oafishly hearty Santa Claus can bloody well keep his damned distance.

Camille Paglia, feminist icon

There was some suggestion that I might raise the odd contract that was around. I didn't bother. Trade promotion is not a proper use of my budget.

International Development Secretary

Clare Short on not lobbying for British business in China

The idea of noble blood is an anachronism, but we should recognise that there is a true nobility in independence.

Tory life peer Lord Archer of Weston-super-Mare

The best advice I could give William Hague is to resign, spend more time with Ffion, and let some other poor sod try and square the circles. Only someone as mad as John Redwood is fit for this unhappy role.

Ken Livingstone, Labour MP

I don't think it's possible to stop him by decent means ... You can't put a black ball in elections like that.

Michael Foot, former Labour leader, calling on the Labour leadership to allow Ken Livingstone to stand for mayor of London

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