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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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

It will be a miracle if this ceasefire lasts – and even if it does, Putin comes out on top

We must hope it does, but Putin, having provoked the war, emerges undoubted winner if it does

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New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
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Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms
What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist? Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories

What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist?

Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories
Chinese web dissenters using coded language to dodge censorship filters and vent frustration at government

Are you a 50-center?

Decoding the Chinese web dissenters
The Beatles film Help, released 50 years ago, signalled the birth of the 'metrosexual' man

Help signalled birth of 'metrosexual' man

The Beatles' moptop haircuts and dandified fashion introduced a new style for the modern Englishman, says Martin King
Hollywood's new diet: Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?

Hollywood's new diet trends

Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?
6 best recipe files

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Get organised like a Bake Off champion and put all your show-stopping recipes in one place
Ashes 2015: Steven Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Middlesex bowler claims Ashes hat-trick of Clarke, Voges and Marsh
Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Atwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
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Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works