Ian Birrell

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

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When democracy has blood on its hands

The International Criminal Court was designed for those monsters accused of the world's worst crimes, but democracy has some unexpected consequences

Corrupt, ineffective and hypocritical: Britain should give less aid, not more

It is hard to take seriously South Africa's outrage over Britain's withdrawal of aid

We subsidise firms that keep workers in poverty

The Conservatives should back a Living Wage for workers. It would show they cared about ordinary people, while cutting some of the ground beneath Labour

All we can agree on is that welfare’s in a state

Our complex, wasteful system benefits the rich while the needy are left to struggle with bureaucracy

Protesters in London demand that Sir David Nicholson go

Sir David Nicholson: The man they couldn't hang

The decision to back the NHS chief is morally wrong, and has lost the coalition a rare opportunity to gain trust on health

David Cameron needs to stand up for what he really believes in after Eastleigh humiliation

Eastleigh was a humiliation for the Tories. It was so disastrous that party spokespeople were not even pretending there were silver linings in their dark clouds of despair.

From Banks to the 'big six' energy companies - more capitalism, not less of it, is the answer

As the world is getting more prosperous, the Western share of wealth is declining. It's a new world order and we must get used to it

The Dilnot review has forced us to face the fact we're all living longer. How afraid should we be?

The Coalition deserves credit for confronting a thorny issue, but focusing on middle class concerns about losing homes ignores the plight of many others

Stafford Hospital: it's the vulnerable and old who are victims of our blind faith in the NHS

This Government has taken positive steps to reform healthcare, but we must face up to a fundamental truth - events at Mid Staffordshire were tragic but far from unique

Save lives Mr Cameron, but don’t imagine you need to save Africa

Why does Cameron think Africa is in need of redemption?

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Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?