Ian Birrell

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

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Ed Balls has ruled out a return to politics - for now

For Labour to now turn round and rubbish what it stood for damages politics even more

The flip-flopping highlights the depths of the party’s predicament

Sturgeon on election night

The Union is at great risk... but it shouldn’t be preserved at all costs

If the Scots seek independence, their desire should not be resisted down south

David Cameron speaks outside of Downing Street

A stunning victory that leaves Cameron awash with political capital

Now he must secure his legacy by governing as a compassionate Conservative

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

Election 2015: Despite the flaws, our political system has much to be proud of - especially when compared to many other nations

For all the grumbling, 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?

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Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine