Ian Birrell

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

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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

As gay people celebrate, the treatment of the disabled just gets worse

With more spending cuts looming, are we content to leave one minority locked out of society as second-class citizens?

Ukraine crisis: There is no moral equivalence between Moscow and Kiev

This is potentially the biggest crisis in Europe since the bloodstained Balkan wars

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General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'