In this week’s New Statesman: Vietnam – the last battle

John Pilger returns to Vietnam | David Laws: Why we rejected Labour | Mehdi Hasan on the unelected K

this issue

In this week's New Statesman, John Pilger returns to Vietnam and finds that the country's last great battle is to keep at bay the forces that pour trillions into corrupt banks and wars while destroying the means of civilised life. Also this week, we feature a report by Rob Brown from Ireland, which has gone from Free State to failed state.

Elsewhere, in the politics column, Mehdi Hasan criticises Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, for straying into party politics.

And, in the economics column, David Blanchflower warns that the banking collapse spreading across Europe might soon be too big a mess for the bailout fund to clear up.

Also, don't miss David Laws on why the Liberal Democrats rejected Labour, a riposte to Andrew Adonis's review of his book last week, Rachel Cooke on what The Battle for Barking reveals, and Neal Lawson and John Harris on the future of centre-left politics.

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

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LISTEN: Boris Johnson has a meltdown in car crash interview on the Queen’s Speech

“Hang on a second…errr…I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

“Hang on a second,” Boris Johnson sighed. On air, you could hear the desperate rustling of his briefing notes (probably a crumpled Waitrose receipt with “crikey” written on it) and him burbling for an answer.

Over and over again, on issues of racism, working-class inequality, educational opportunity, mental healthcare and housing, the Foreign Secretary failed to answer questions about the content of his own government’s Queen’s Speech, and how it fails to tackle “burning injustices” (in Theresa May’s words).

With each new question, he floundered more – to the extent that BBC Radio 4 PM’s presenter Eddie Mair snapped: “It’s not a Two Ronnies sketch; you can’t answer the question before last.”

But why read your soon-to-be predecessor’s Queen’s Speech when you’re busy planning your own, eh?

Your mole isn’t particularly surprised at this poor performance. Throughout the election campaign, Tory politicians – particularly cabinet secretaries – gave interview after interview riddled with gaffes.

These performances were somewhat overlooked by a political world set on humiliating shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, who has been struggling with ill health. Perhaps if commentators had less of an anti-Abbott agenda – and noticed the car crash performances the Tories were repeatedly giving and getting away with it – the election result would have been less of a surprise.

I'm a mole, innit.

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