Ian Birrell

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

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‘We fought for years, so why should we give up now? Our spirit will never be broken’

Egypt's brutality exemplifies the contortions of confused Western foreign policy

As part of its fight against terror the West is backing a repressive regime that has jailed 40,000 dissidents like Yara Sallam
Rahem Stirling during on of England's matches

World Cup 2014: Foreign players are not to blame for England's early exit

Greg Dyke is wrong. International talent in the Premier League can only improve the standard of everyone’s game

Tony Blair meeting troops in the port of Umm Qasr, Iraq in May, 2003

Tony Blair has moved beyond parody in his latest attempt to absolve himself

Even if you put aside the most obvious flaw in his argument, that the invasion of Iraq and its appallingly bungled aftermath clearly upset the stability of the region

Room Service: The Quin, New York

Beaux-Arts beauty is brought back to life

David and Samantha Cameron voting earlier this week

I really welcomed the coalition, but now...

The horse-trading by the Tories and Lib Dems has been a disappointment, but what follows the election may be even worse
David Cameron and his wife on their holidays

Being one of our political masters is nice work if you can get elected

As MPs prepare for another holiday, it's about time they started thinking more about how their breaks look to voters

As Sepp Blatter, Richard Scudamore and Greg Dyke prove, football's chiefs keep scoring own goals

Presumably Fifa was dazzled by Qatar's reputation as a footballing powerhouse
Mothers of the missing Chibok school girls abducted by Boko Haram Islamists gather to receive information from officials

What can be done about Boko Haram?

Instead of holding up signs on Twitter, our politicians could tackle the pin-striped pimps who corrode communities with their greed

The enemy within: Nixon despised the hippie culture that saw academics, writers and rock stars promoting the use of hallucinogens

High time to end this immoral drugs war

Though he toyed with drug reform, David Cameron abandoned it for fear of hostile headlines. Yet the path from prohibition is a modern, conservative and radical step which makes sense politically, too

It's about time the Lib Dems started asking themselves what they are for

This is the key question for Clegg’s dwindling band of Lib Dems – and it is one they struggle to answer these days

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Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn