IT'S been a tough 24 hours for deposed council leader John Williams and his Conservative group.

He must have known the writing was on the wall as he made his way to the polling station in the Hatch and Blackdown ward as it opened at 7am yesterday.

Taking him front on was LibDem Ross Henley, an erstwhile top man at the Deane House - a battle of the big beasts of the Blackdowns.

Yet he hung on until the bitter end when the poll closed before making his way to Wellsprings Leisure Centre for the count to bravely witness his personal humiliation and the brutal decimation of the Tories.

He must have known a flurry of red cards was coming as he trudged onto the five-a-side court in the sports hall where the counters were busily piling up the ballot papers.

As he clears his desk in the Deane House today, he will surely ponder as he empties his bulky 'things to do drawer' - so many plans, so little to show for it, as his opponents will claim.

Then to the achievements drawer, where he'll sort through the well-rehearsed themes of a balanced budget, garden town status for Taunton, thousands of new homes, consultants indicative images of proposed developments in his 'memos to me'.

But the electorate has decided that at the end of the day it all boils down to walking the walk, not just talking the talk.

On the many occasions I have interviewed John Williams he has been nearly always genial, sincere and determined to do what he felt was the best for his beloved Taunton Deane, although he was thin-skinned whenever he was the target for criticism dished out by political opponents and even fellow Conservatives.

His kindly Somerset burr hid an astute business brain that has seen him build a successful construction business, Wrencon - some wag unkindly said his tenure at the helm of Taunton Deane Borough Council was more like Wreck-con.

In recent years he seemed like Nero fiddling with idea after idea as Taunton burned.

Plenty of proposals for Firepool and Coal Orchard, but little movement apart from piles of rubble - the message 'we will deliver' became more and more unbelievable.

As the election approached we were told Coal Orchard will start soon, yet still no bricks on the ground. We've managed to get agreement for something to be built on Firepool, more than 11 years after it was vacated by the town's flourishing market - a hotel the taxpayer will have to fund, while it would be run risk free by the private Hilton company.

Then there was the fiasco of the pedestrianisation of three Taunton streets, with dates set for their implementation which still hasn't happened. The news this week that a car ban will come in this month on a 50-metre stretch of St James Street was only released on election day after the County Gazette discovered the plans.

None of these projects has enthused the public at large, but Mr Williams spouted the mantra 'consultation, consultation, consultation' - that's all very well, but surely you have to listen to what people say for any consultation to be a valid exercise.

Unfortunately, those failures will form part of Mr Williams' legacy, while in earlier days he worked hard to keep the council's finances in order through some decidedly rocky times.

Now for a little bit of moniker - as if Nero wasn't bad enough, he was compared to another unsavoury leader and nicknamed Kim John-un.

That was a reference to his apparent dictatorial manner within his group, who were said to be ordered how to vote at meetings with a tight whip. Unfortunately for Mr Williams, unlike the North Korean front man, he was unable to glean 100 per cent of the votes in the election.

Those who named him Uncle John were presumably paying tribute to his position of elder statesman, but calling him John Wallyams was simply unkind.

To return to the accusations of an iron-fist approach to leadership, there were rumours that it was 'my way of the highway', which he strenuously denied.

But it is enlightening that a number of Tories who jumped the sinking ship have been voted back in by the electorate - Dave and Kelly Durdan who ripped up the Conservative cards and stood as Independents, as did Jean Adkins.

They heard the alarm bells and made the titanic decision to leave the party they loved. Roger Habgood also heard the alarm and turned on his leader while remaining in the party. All four were re-elected.

Many of those who ignored the blaring alarm bells failed to survive and accompanied Mr Williams as he and his loyal and trusted lieutenant, deputy leader Mark Edwards, went down with his ship.

After his demise, a clearly stunned Mr Williams tried to put on a brave face, but he seemed possessed of a genuine disbelief that people didn't think he was doing a good job. Brexit or lack of played its part, but the few who made an effort to vote were not happy with what has and what hasn't happened locally.

Back to Mr Habgood. He only recently revealed the open secret that he intended to remove Mr Williams from the leadership and was hoping to head up a Conservative-majority council.

He worked hard to visit every street as he canvassed in his ward, so hard in fact that he had no time to shave and his moustache grew into a beard ahead of the election.

His reward may well be the top job within the Conservative group, but he'll only have nine councillors to lead.

So what comes after judgement day?

Well, as they say, to the victor the spoils. And there's a widespread perception that plenty of things have been spoiled by the previous administration.

There is much that needs fixing.

And there's a whole new council to lead. The LibDems were not big fans of the merger between Taunton Deane Borough and West Somerset Councils.

But things are what they are and they'll have to spend wisely the council tax collected from residents of the two patches.

And who will lead them?

Simon Coles has been the leader of the LibDems in opposition at the Deane House, but will he want to carry on?

Or will there be a power grab by former leader Ross Henley now he's back? New boy Mike Rigby is known to be highly respected by some of the party, although he only recently signed up, having served as an Independent county councillor. There are certainly a large number of LibDem councillors to choose from.

Whatever, the LibDems must be aware that during their time in opposition they have lumped plenty of criticism on the Conservatives and John Williams in particular.

Now's the time for them to show what they're made of - remembering there's another election in four years.