Gordon Brown made a not especially hilarious joke yesterday in his conference speech by saying that if he were to praise Alistair Darling as the best chancellor of the exchequer ever, the media would write the headline "Brown snubs Brown" - or that he was rubbishing his own decade as chancellor.
But Brown did indeed snub Brown yesterday. The prime minister put the boot into the Brown years at Number 11, or his own tenure as steward of the British economy.
His remarks that the banking crisis had exposed the dangers of free markets were intended as an attack on the Tories.
But it's probably only effective as an indictment of the Her Majesty's opposition for those who have been asleep since 1997.
To state something that is obvious to almost anyone except the prime minister, New Labour - the creation of Tony Blair and a politician called Gordon Brown - was defined by its conversion to the notion that the market is usually a more efficient allocator of capital than the state.
New Labour was - more than anything else - a rejection of post-war Labour's attitudes to the respective roles of the public and private sectors.
Blair and Brown repudiated a long-standing commitment to centralised, state-owned and state-delivered public services. They abandoned a predilection for planning the shape and structure of the commercial sector. And they ditched an instinct to intervene in the affairs of our biggest businesses.
Which grounded them firmly where much of the electorate had journeyed in the Thatcher years. And helped to deliver that historic landslide 12 years ago.
So it is by no means a trivial political event that Gordon Brown should make an explicit attack on what he called a "bankrupt ideology" that "markets always self-correct but never self-destruct".
So what's going on?
Well, it's a somewhat delayed reaction to that recent spot of bother for banks, which - as you don't really need me to tell you yet again - was to a large extent caused by the mis-pricing and misallocation of capital by the free market on a magnificent scale.
This wasn't just any old failure of markets. It was a system breakdown that has prompted a theological crisis for most mainstream economists and an existential crisis for those whom we trusted to deliver financial and economic stabiltity, viz regulators, central bankers and finance ministers.
And for politicians in the centre ground, such as Gordon Brown, there's something of an ideological crisis.
It's all very well to say, as he did, that "what failed was the right wing fundamentalism that says you just leave everything to the market and says that free markets should not just be free but values-free". But for years his government was seduced by this so-called fundamentalism.
New Labour may not have privatised and marketised (oh horrid techno-babble) the entire state, but it was a devout convert to the idea that the public sector should interfere as little as possible in the activities of the private sector and should extend the reach of the market to the way that the public sector buys stuff, builds stuff, finances stuff and supplies stuff.
The reach of the market was lengthened very considerably on Gordon Brown's watch.
But if Brown no longer trusts markets for the efficient allocation of precious resources and the optimal pricing of goods and services, what does he trust?
It is plain that state intervention in the private sector is on the rise. That vanguardist of New Labour, Peter Mandelson on Monday delivered a remarkable sermon on the virtues of what once would have been called industrial meddling.
But what, for Brown, are the appropriate new boundaries between private sector and public sector?
If markets are no longer the best guarantor that resources won't be wasted in commerce or public service, what is the new insurance policy of optimal resource distribution?
It's all very well to ditch a faith, if it can't be sustained by the facts. But I suspect that voters will want to know what will fill the vacuum.
And although bashing bankers' bonuses may resonate with many, it's not really a comprehensive industrial or economic policy.