Brown in Dundee
I doubt if many, even in Team Brown, recognised the allusion to one of Dundee's more famous MPS.
But, being a keen historian, I feel sure that Gordon Brown himself knew exactly what he was saying.
Mr Brown was addressing the Scottish Labour Party conference in Dundee's Caird Hall.
In passing, he told delegates that his government had acted on the global economic crisis - because "action this day" was their responsibility.
That phrase was used by one Winston Churchill, Liberal MP for Dundee from 1908 to 1922.
In those fourteen years, he occasionally addressed rallies in the selfsame Caird Hall.
Admittedly, the phrase borrowed by Mr Brown does not date from Churchill's Dundonian phase - but from a substantially more challenging time when he served as Prime Minister in World War II.
Those words were appended to a memo from Churchill demanding action to resolve difficulties at the Bletchley Park intelligence station.
I do not for a moment suggest that Mr Brown was translating himself into Churchillian mode.
For one thing, the rhetoric in this conference speech fell somewhat short: perhaps he was understandably tired, perhaps it was partly a deliberate effort to disown political knock-about and sustain the crafted image of serious, grave statespersonship.
But perhaps too, it was a subterranean echo, a reflection of the severity of the global economic crisis.
Perhaps that was why Mr Brown borrowed a phrase redolent of efforts by one of his predecessors to tackle a rather different crisis.
There was substance here: pledges to act at the G20 summit to tackle banking bonuses and tax havens while seeking agreement on a new global framework for international financial regulation.
There was a Scottish political section too - a prolonged attack upon the SNP and their policy of independence.
But still, to this observer, it appeared just a mite flat, just a little low-key.
Then again perhaps Mr Brown has calculated that people in these troubled times are not ready to accept soaring speechifying.
And, of course, Gordon Brown has not had his troubles to seek of late. He has had to be resilient.
As Churchill observed: "Politics is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year.
"And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn't happen."