Quotes of the week
"What galls is the notion that Tory MPs throw in almost as an afterthought that her lack of a sense of humour was just a minor failing of no more significance than being colour-blind, say, or mildly short-sighted. In fact, to have no sense of humour is to be a seriously flawed human being. It's not a minor shortcoming, it shuts you off from humanity. Mrs Thatcher was a mirthless bully and should have been buried, as once upon a time monarchs used to be, in the depths of the night."
Alan Bennett, playwright.
"There will be a lot of climate change. The south of Europe may become closer to what North Africa is now. Should we be scared? That doesn't help. We may be scared but I don't think we should be. We should be clear-eyed."
Sir David Attenborough, naturalist.
"Choosing the apprenticeship path and doing a foundation degree and then going on to university, you will always have the advantage over many of your university colleagues because you have earned your spurs in the business world before going to university, so you are going into university as a trained person, you are not coming out as an untrained person."
"There's children, including my own, who can't remember, well perhaps didn't even know in the first place, whether the Romans, the Egyptians or the Greeks came in which particular order or whether the Vikings were their antagonists, protagonists, sons or daughters."
Michael Gove, UK Education Secretary.
"I think it is an extraordinary tribute to the life and work and teachings of Jesus -- that they couldn't actually blaspheme or make a joke out of it. They were satirising closed minds, they were satirising fundamentalism and persecution of others and at the same time saying the one person who rises above all this is Jesus. . . and I think that the church missed that."
Rev Prof Richard Burridge, Dean of King's College, London, on Monty Python's Life of Brian.
"You can't go in and talk to your bank manager any more. That would be hard enough, but now you are ringing a call centre. You never get to talk to the same member of staff and the letters from the banks are all standard letters. This is a huge breakdown in the banking system."
William Prior, founder of the Phoenix Project charity.
"Reading is no longer something that everybody does as a matter of course. Reading is becoming a kind of specialist activity and that strikes terror into the heart of people who love reading."
Ruth Rendell, author.
"I recognise that this national infrastructure project is important, but I can't ignore the health concerns."
Dr James Reilly, Health Minister, in a letter to his Cabinet colleagues about EirGrid's pylon plan in 2007, which has just been published.
"You have freedom in what you can say as an independent, but there is also strength in numbers. I am a great believer in party politics."
Lucinda Creighton, former Fine Gael junior minister.
"Setting up a new party requires a huge amount of hard work and more hard work and more hard work and financial assistance, but that's up to themselves if they want to do it."
Paul Kehoe, Government Chief Whip, on suggestions that Ms Creighton might be considering establishing a new party.
"I thought the people in that showbiz circle were my friends. Almost the second I got pregnant and wasn't able to go out and party, they were suddenly quite nasty. It feels pretty shit when you walk into a room full of people and you can feel the eyes looking at you and people laughing."
Lily Allen, singer