Conference diary III: per non cambiare nulla…

As ancient as Rome, as implacable as Sicily, is Lampedusa’s iron law of politics: “bisogna cambiare tutto per non cambiare nulla (everything must change, so that nothing changes) ”.

And so it was last night for two staffers overheard in the Midland bar:

“You’ll never guess who’s doing the Sue Nye job, this week at least”?

“No. Who”?

“Go on, guess”.

“I don’t know. Who?”

“Sue Nye”.

“Of course. Should have known.”

(Sue Nye has worked for Labour leaders since Callaghan. She was gatekeeper to Neil Kinnock and then to Gordon Brown from before the treasury till the last days in Downing Street. She is married to Gavyn Davies, the Goldman Sachs partner who also chaired the BBC).

Other at least interim team Ed Miliband staffers include Jonathan Ashworth (Brown, Harman), Rachel Kinnock (Blair, Brown, Team EM) and Anna Yearley (PLP, Brown, Team EM).

* * *

So just how dead is New Labour? Uncut has noticed that Labour officials still retain their  “@new.labour”  e-mail accounts. Will these now be ditched, heralding cyber chaos and a bonfire of the business cards?

* * *

As the stampede towards the shadow cabinet continues, Uncut learns that there may actually be some method in the madness. According to our sources, Labour whips have been phoning members of the PLP demanding that hats are hurled into rings. The rationale is that with such a ludicrously overcrowded field, votes will be diluted, easing the passage of favoured sons and daughters.

The new politics? No. Except in maybe bringing order to chaos.

* * *

Uncut shares the belief, widely reported today, that David Miliband will not stand for the shadow cabinet. So what else could he do to earn a crust and ward off senility? What about the soon-to-be-vacated job as managing director of the international monetary fund?

Although widely seen as Gordon Brown’s for the taking when it becomes vacant in October 2012, might David Miliband, ex foreign secretary with good EU links, be in with a shout? Current incumbent, Dominique Strauss-Khan, is widely expected to challenge Sarkozy for the French presidency in 2012 and would need to curtail his term early to mount a campaign.

Could we at last see David Miliband challenging Gordon Brown directly for the top job – this time at the IMF?

* * *

One of Ed Balls’ Uncut desert island discs – alongside Billy Bragg, Spandau Ballet, Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton- was Bach’s Partita No. 2. It is one of the most difficult pieces in the violin repertoire. Last night he shared with Uncut the surprising snippet that he used to play it. Or the beginning of it, anyway. Ed Balls was a teenage violin virtuoso.

If only we had known this earlier, when everyone was calling him macho.

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