This point of view was exemplified by a supremely egotistical article in last weekend's Sunday Times by Michael Portillo, whose position in the 1995 Tory leadership crisis is seen by some (including himself) as analagous to Miliband's now.
Portillo wrote: "The premiership of the United Kingdom is almost within Miliband’s grasp, as it was for me in 1995. Unlike Cameron, Miliband could be prime minister without winning a general election, without even having to wait. He could be in No 10 by the end of June.
"If he does not grab it now, the opportunity may never recur. Brown will become leader, might lose the general election and condemn Labour to a decade in opposition. By which time Miliband will be a has-been, his best years spent fruitlessly harassing the Cameron government, for ever marked by his failure to seize the day, consigned to history as a vacillator. I can tell Miliband that this does not feel good."
Leaving aside the question of whether Portillo is over-estimating Miliband's current prospects, is he also over-estimating the strength of his own position back in that balmy summer of '95, forever etched on my memory as it was my first year in the Lobby?
I think he is. Over the years, a myth has grown up that if only Portillo had had the balls to challenge Major himself instead of letting John Redwood run as a stalking horse, he would have succeeded in dislodging the Prime Minister in the first ballot and gone on to defeat all-comers in the second.
It's a seductive theory, but it's not how I remember things. I recall a Tory Party that was split moreorless three ways - between those who wanted Michael Portillo to be Prime Minister, those who wanted Michael Heseltine to be, and those who couldn't care less who it was so long as it wasn't either of those two.
It followed that the only way either Heseltine or Portillo could have forced Major out was by working together, and I seem to recall one or two kites being flown to that effect. But the wily Major knew such a "dream ticket" was highly unlikely, which is why his "put up or shut up" gamble was always likely to come off.
The one time Portillo would undoubtedly have become Tory leader was in 1997 had he not lost his seat - but that is another political counterfactual.