In this week's New Statesman

The lost John Lennon interview and more . . .

The centrepiece of our 100-page Christmas issue (on news-stands today) is a long-lost interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. It dates back to December 1968, and we publish it here for the very first time.

Elsewhere, we have essays from Richard Dawkins on Darwin and the accidents of life; William Dalrymple on India, globalisation and the rise of religion; and Leo McKinstry on the truth behind the bombings of Hamburg and Dresden.

In Columns, Mehdi Hasan explains why President Obama is facing his Vietnam, David Blanchflower counters the Tories' class war, and Gaby Hinsliff looks at how the recession is reshaping our domestic landscape.

Plus, check out Hunter Davies's alternative football awards for the year so far, including the funniest moment and rudest commentator; and try our legendary NS Christmas Quiz.

Jon Bernstein, former deputy editor of New Statesman, is a digital strategist and editor. He tweets @Jon_Bernstein. 

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En français, s'il vous plaît! EU lead negotiator wants to talk Brexit in French

C'est très difficile. 

In November 2015, after the Paris attacks, Theresa May said: "Nous sommes solidaires avec vous, nous sommes tous ensemble." ("We are in solidarity with you, we are all together.")

But now the Prime Minister might have to brush up her French and take it to a much higher level.

Reuters reports the EU's lead Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, would like to hold the talks in French, not English (an EU spokeswoman said no official language had been agreed). 

As for the Home office? Aucun commentaire.

But on Twitter, British social media users are finding it all très amusant.

In the UK, foreign language teaching has suffered from years of neglect. The government may regret this now . . .

Julia Rampen is the editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog. She was previously deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines.