Ian Birrell

Ian Birrell is a former Deputy Editor of The Independent and co-founder of Africa Express

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A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station

General Election 2015: Despite all the seeming cynicism, our political system works

For all its flaws and fissures, our country is a pretty well-governed place

Prime Minister David Cameron speaks during a campaign visit to Chris Sedgeman Scaffolding in Penzance

General Election 2015: With not long to go, all the main parties need to up their game

Is it too much to ask that the leading lights might throw off their shackles, and project a positive reason to vote for them?

Hillary Clinton has everything going for her – except presidential promise

Given her lack of authenticity and campaigning record, is she really the best candidate?

Nigel Farage's party is seen as disreputable

Ukip is wilting in the heat of election battle — but perhaps the damage is done

Farage's crass brand of dog-whistle politics has shamefully found an echo in all three mainstream parties

Ed Miliband and David Cameron

Cameron and Miliband should have faith in their bolder policies

Parties must rise to election challenge

The current rate of construction is at its lowest since the 1920s; indicators suggest the best way out of the housing crisis is to build - and keep building

How to end the housing crisis: forget sentimentality and build on the green belt

Since the Coalition came to power, the average cost of a home in London has surged from £329,133 to almost half a million pounds

Immigration as a vote-winner: The two fastest-growing parties are positive about it

Is it coincidence the two have a positive outlook on this issue, by contrast with pessimism and hostility heard elsewhere in our political discourse?

Isis militants process down a street in the coastal city of Sirte in Libya this week; the group has heralded Libya as its ‘strategic gateway’ to attack Europe

With hindsight, was it wrong for the West to support the overthrow of Gaddafi?

British foreign policy should be biased on the side of democracy and human rights

The HSBC tax evasion files are just the tip of a probable mountain of tax avoidance hidden in tax havens around the world

All hail our select committees: asking the questions that public wants answers to

From Murdoch to HSBC bosses, a litany of controversial figures have now been put on the spot

Migrants are rescued off the coast of Sicily by Italian Coast Guards on Wednesday; 5,302 migrants have arrived from Libya since January

What would you do if Isis was approaching, and safety was only 70 miles across the sea?

Britain likes to pose as a force for decency in the world, but it's permitting hundreds of desperate people to needlessly die

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Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living