The gun (envelope) was loaded with the ammunition (nomination papers) and handed out (sent to every Conservative Councillor). The opportunity was there to close the chapter on thirteen years of rule, marred by numerous luxury trips to the USA, anonymous dinner dates on the rates, and extravagant expensive fleet of luxury cars...
But they bottled it. Not one of them returned the paper before the due time, noon yesterday.
Paget-Brown, Ahern, Coleridge, even Dotty Weatherhead saw their backbones crumble at the feet of this weakened lame duck leader.
Cockell has been mismanaging the borough for the last few years, the same way as he mismanged his business exporting tobacco to impoverished African nations from the bowels of the Tory Office. He has been dumped by the council association he chaired, the audit commission is to be disbanded, and yet again he failed to make it onto the honours list. But he still manages to cling onto the keys of the Leaders Office in the town hall.
At the peak of his earning power he was earning over £100,000 a year from the public purse and if he had been enobled could have added around 50% more each year. Now he has to slum it on just the Leaders salary of a cool £70,000 - should be enough to keep his pet dogs in the lifestyle to which they have been accustomed.
There was one faint glimmer of hope, out of the sadness of the passing of Simon Milton - however that was dashed when Bojo appointed someone else other than Cockell to fill the void. Bad luck for the Rotten Borough, wise move from City Hall.
So now we are lumped with Cockell for another year. "Tried and tested" you may think? More like "tired and interested" in squeezing more money out for what could be his final year (if you believe what you read in WestEnders). Desperate to leave a legacy he has sanctioned the crazy notion of Exhibition Road, a looming financial disaster at Holland Park School, the crushing of local people with the North Ken Academy, approved stringent cuts when all the time sitting on a pot of over £170 million in the bank for a rainy day.
So why did no one launch the challenge, what are they so scared of?
This is a modern British democracy, you dont run the risk of being whisked off to a Siberian Gulag.
Tony Blair had a mantra, three words "education, education, education". Cameron had three letters, "nhs".
Tory Councillors have three letters also "SRA". The "Special Responsibility Allowance" that is paid to councillors who are bestowed "special responsibility" by the Leader and his team.
Those destined for the top job are either in receipt of one, some relatively handsome amounts; while others are hoping for a seat on the gravy train so wont risk all their hard work brown nosing their way to the top in mounting a challenge they could lose, and be put out of the inner circle.
There is just one hope left, and that is in Buffy Buckmaster wheeled out as Chairman of the local party. He has to live up to the image of the man in the grey suit with the high waisted trousers and have a word with Cockell on the nod that its time to go, the same way he did previously.
Its time do whats right for the borough, not whats right for Cockell and his minions.