Ian Birrell

Ian Birrell is a former Deputy Editor of The Independent and co-founder of Africa Express. He writes regularly for all Independent titles.

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Eritrean asylum seekers arrive in southern Italy (AFP/Getty)

Eritrea is Africa's North Korea - but UK bureaucrats won't accept its citizens are refugees

The Home Office has accepted assurances from Eritrea’s ruthless regime that any people returned home would be safe if they signed an apology and paid extra taxes

Caring for vulnerable people is put on a par with stacking shelves in supermarkets

Low pay for care workers endangers the old and infirm

Places of sanctuary must stop becoming hellholes

Emmanuel Opoku received exceptional exam results after being brought up in the UK, but then discovered that he had to pay international student tuition fees

Britain's immigration hysteria is hindering the progress of our best pupils

Hundreds are being blocked from university because they are not technically citizens

Migrants on board an overloaded wooden boat are rescued some 10.5 miles (16 km) off the coast of Libya August 6, 2015. (REuters)

The inconvenient truth about migrants is very different to what Cameron would have you believe

Many of those migrating have relatively high household incomes and good levels of education. It takes money to move abroad - even by boat across the Mediterranean

Jeremy Corbyn is ahead of all of his rivals in the Labour leadership race

Vote Jeremy Corbyn! If Labour does, it will soon get over its left-wing fantasy

His rivals are dismal and his party devastated, which means that he may be the best person to shore up Labour in the short term

A woman marks '420 Day' in Hyde Park by smoking a spliff

Slowly but surely, the Western world is coming down from the hallucinatory war on drugs

Small steps in Derbyshire and Durham on cannabis are one more sign of progress towards a saner world

David Cameron’s decision to approve air strikes against Isis has caused former servicemen and women in the Gulf to reflect

Britain should beware falling deeper into a Middle Eastern war

David Cameron has said that country must 'step up and do more'

The future of the BBC will be examined by the new board, and a green paper in the coming week

The BBC stumbles from crisis to crisis with inept management and stifling bureaucracy - but how we would miss it

You only have to go abroad to be reminded of the extraordinary service it provides

Syrian refugees shortly after arrival on Lesvos

The political response to Europe’s migration crisis has been shameful

Many migrants are doing what you or I might in their circumstances

Tony Blair has the lowest trust rating of -31

The post-Iraq lives of Bush and Blair. The comparison does our former PM no favours

Blair has focused on building up his fortune. Bush too hit the highly-paid speech circuit, but there seems to be a sense of atonement in his work with military veterans

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The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea