New fathers, political prisoners, traumatised presidential aides, resolute schoolboys, MEPs addressing unfriendly chambers - we all find that Shakespeare has magically anticipated our precise circumstances. How he was possible, I still don't understand; but there isn't a day I'm not grateful that he speaks to me in my own language.
Nobody likes a smart alec. Which is why it's always better for your career to be wrong and in company rather than right and on your own.
The 'EU in a Nutshell' is a miscellany of facts and anecdotes about the system which rules us. It's a book you can delve into in pursuit of a particular fact, or crack open for entertainment at virtually any page.
Political reporters no longer get to decide what's news. The days when a minister gave briefings to a dozen lobby correspondents, and thereby dictated the next day's headlines, are over. Now, a thousand bloggers decide for themselves what is interesting. If enough of them are tickled then, bingo, you're news.
The 'Robben Island Bible' has arrived at the British Museum. It's a garish thing, its cover plastered with pink and gold Hindu images, designed to hide its contents. Within is the finest collection of words generated by human intelligence: the complete works of William Shakespeare.
One way to think of the tax system is as a massive Swiss cheese. Each hole is an exemption created by a chancellor in pursuit of good headlines - a hole waiting to be filled by the clever accountants who work for Starbucks or Jimmy Carr.
Conservatives the world over need to grasp the difference between being pro-market and being pro-business. Sometimes the two positions happen to coincide; often they don't.
The complexity of a tax system is every bit as damaging to competitiveness as the overall tax rate. The more convoluted the tax code becomes, the more time we have to take off work to comply with it.
On any measure, Spain's bank rescue has been a disaster. A hundred million euros have been added to the national debt, ten-year bonds are at a record high and the country's credit rating has been downgraded three notches.
I am not the Conservative Party's health care spokesman. I'm fond of Andrew Lansley, and I strongly support David Cameron as party leader.
The fact that Thomas Jefferson owned slaves doesn't devalue what he wrote.
I think public life for me has a slightly didactic role, OK.
I am, 'Guardian' readers keep telling me, a xenophobe. Never mind that I speak French and Spanish, that I love Europe, that I've lived a high proportion of my life abroad. The fact that I oppose the political amalgamation of the European Union's states is ipso facto proof that I dislike foreigners.
That's the problem with very high taxes - they don't redistribute wealth; they redistribute people.
The U.S. states that allow for citizens' initiatives tend to have fewer laws and lower taxes than the ones that don't. But the beauty of the system is that it encourages the spread of best practice.
When you repeat, in that wooden and perfunctory way, that our situation is better than others, that we're 'well-placed to weather the storm', I have to tell you that you sound like a Brezhnev-era apparatchik giving the party line.
Every human on the planet is descended from both slaves and slave owners. What makes Britain unusual is not that we engaged in the disgusting trade, but that we eliminated it. Our political institutions led us, earlier than many, to the conclusion that freedom was the highest virtue.
The Tea Party movement and the Occupy movement were both, in a sense, complaining about the same thing, namely the use of public money to rescue failed banks.
A trillion here, a trillion there and pretty soon you're talking about real money.
Progressives and conservatives alike lean, unconsciously, towards particular conclusions, and then scrabble around to rationalise those conclusions to themselves.