Ian Birrell

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

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The Independent around the web

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?

Davos: Come on, corporate giants. Open up to us

If our Government wants to tackle avoidance, it should compel big businesses to publish exactly how much corporation tax they pay. Luckily Labour support the idea

In unison: Much of Mali’s music has been banned since last year’s Festival in the Desert

Musicians of Mali fight for nation's soul

As Islamist militants try to take over, suppressed artists show support for the French

It is vital to step in now and stop the deadly march of these extremist militias in Mali

If Mopti fell, it would plunge 120,000 into the arms of the Islamists, with their segregation of sexes, banning of music and brutal interpretations of sharia

For too long the West has been blind to Africa's true nature. Now, we risk being left behind

Turkey, France and Holland are building trade links with resurgent African nations

Churches' hostility to gay marriage only underlines their impotence

It may be low politics or high principle but the Government is right to push for this

Ms Dorries, to her credit, told Mr Wales they would not write a ‘whitewash’ report

When naive good intentions meet corrupt kleptocracy

Tagging along on an all-party trip to Equatorial Guinea, Ian Birrell saw how reality can quickly be forgotten

Man of the hour? 'Genius strategist' Lynton Crosby

Lynton Crosby is a disastrous signing for the Tories

He's been hailed as the "Wizard of Oz", but there are limits to the wizardry of the man who'll be running the Conservative election campaign.

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Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor