by RAY FLEMING “NEW Labour would never have happened and three election victories would never have been secured without Gordon Brown. A remarkable man. A remarkable servant to this country.” Tony Blair's praise for Gordon Brown in his farewell speech to the Labour Party Conference yesterday was generous. Why, then, did he not add these words: “I therefore endorse him as my successor”? Was the reason to be found in another part of the speech in which the Prime Minister said that politics was first and foremost about “being a fully paid-up member of the human race before being a fully paid-up member of the Labour party”? Without saying so Mr Blair appears to have backed, or at least not discouraged, those who think there should be a contest for the person to follow him. Given the words he used to praise Mr Brown yesterday it is difficult to see why he should take this line. If Mr Brown has character flaws, which is the criticism most frequently heard of him, they are unlikely to emerge in the course of leadership election. His record as Chancellor should be enough. Tony Blair was in his very best speech-making form yesterday and there was no doubting the genuineness of the standing ovations he received from the party members. It was an occasion when he was entitled to receive the plaudits for his role as a co-architect of New Labour, an innovation which has changed British politics fundamentally.