In this week's New Statesman: could the recession return?

Is this the double-dip recession? | John Pilger: Obama’s permanent war | Rufus Wainwright interview.

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Following the final Budget before the election, this week's New Statesman warns of stormy waters ahead for the British economy. In our cover story, David Blanchflower predicts that the economy could suffer a "double-dip" recession if public spending is cut too early.

Elsewhere, our political correspondent, James Macintyre, tells the story of how Alistair Darling fought off his Labour opponents and earned a reputation as a man you could trust in a crisis. But he reports that Darling may walk away from politics altogether if Labour loses the election.

In the columns, John Pilger attacks Barack Obama's "permanent war"; Rafael Behr looks at the political implications of the lobbying scandal; Sophie Elmhirst explores the rise of the political wife; and Andrew Stephen warns that Obama's health-care reform bill is riddled with flaws.

In The Critics, Rufus Wainwright discusses death, failed love and Lady Gaga with Suzy Klein; Rachel Cooke gives her verdict on Sophie Dahl's new television series; and Ryan Gilbey reviews the latest superhero film, Kick-Ass.

Also don't miss our special feature on the greatest political songs of all time. You can listen to the top 20, including Bob Marley, John Lennon, the Who and Marvin Gaye, on our website now.

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George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Cabinet audit: what does the appointment of Liam Fox as International Trade Secretary mean for policy?

The political and policy-based implications of the new Secretary of State for International Trade.

Only Nixon, it is said, could have gone to China. Only a politician with the impeccable Commie-bashing credentials of the 37th President had the political capital necessary to strike a deal with the People’s Republic of China.

Theresa May’s great hope is that only Liam Fox, the newly-installed Secretary of State for International Trade, has the Euro-bashing credentials to break the news to the Brexiteers that a deal between a post-Leave United Kingdom and China might be somewhat harder to negotiate than Vote Leave suggested.

The biggest item on the agenda: striking a deal that allows Britain to stay in the single market. Elsewhere, Fox should use his political capital with the Conservative right to wait longer to sign deals than a Remainer would have to, to avoid the United Kingdom being caught in a series of bad deals. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.