Ian Birrell

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

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Even in Tony Blair’s 1997 landslide, the Tories romped home in Bexhill and Battle with an 11,100 majority

My glimpse of grass-roots politics had lessons for all the main parties

I found old voters, strong candidates and EU hostility in a safe Tory seat

Ukip candidate Mark Reckless has a nine-point lead over the Tories for his Kent seat, a new poll shows

Rochester by-election: The Tories are handing victories to Ukip

Attempts to pacify the rabble win them over briefly before they return even more rabid

Since seizing the Labour crown, Miliband has failed to follow the first rule of opposition

Either you define yourself quickly or others do it for you

Health workers in Monrovia, Liberia, recover the body of a suspected Ebola victim

The aid industry endorses human rights abuses, fuels corruption and missed the Ebola crisis

So why does British aid continue to flood in?

A Liberian burial squad carry the body of an Ebola victim in Marshall, Margini county, Liberia

The Ebola outbreak has produced some real heroes – but Western governments are not among them

The UK’s claim to be taking a lead in tackling the crisis does not bear scrutiny

Ukip activists from Scotland

We’re heading for a crisis in 2015 – whoever wins the election

Few ponder the potential implications of multi-party politics crashing against a creaking two-party system

A girl with suspected Ebola is led to an ambulance in Freeman Reserve, Liberia
David Cameron has vowed to 'hunt down' David Haines' killers

Another unspeakable act of barbarism by Isis only deepens the dilemma in the West

Ransoms? Raids? Media black-outs? What should the strategy be?

A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv

Why do we stand by and watch Putin?

It is shameful cowardice to pretend this isn't an invasion. We must act.

Six men charged with attempting to kill Rwanda’s former army chief Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa sit in court in Johannesburg. Four of them were convicted of attempted assassination yesterday

Assassins linked to Kagame regime

Rwandan president is implicated in funding hit squad of four men convicted of trying to kill his exiled army chief in  South Africa. Yet Western countries, including Britain, continue to pander to the murderous despot

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Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada