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The SNP And Tories Are Having A Ridiculous Banner Battle In This Scottish Town

That's when good neighbours disagree over the constitutional future of the UK.

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Welcome to the waterfront of the charming town of Helensburgh in the west of Scotland.


The holiday resort – known for its little pubs, historical sites, and impressive views of the Firth of Clyde – seems far away from the partisan election rammies taking place across Scotland's TV studios and city centres.

However, one building in the town has become the unlikely embodiment of the election campaign in Scotland as supporters from the two main opposing sides – the SNP and the Tories – have nested inside the very same building.

The pro-independence SNP's local hub moved into the downstairs of a building on the town's waterfront for the election campaign without realising the upstairs is occupied by a staunchly pro-UK supporter of the Scottish Conservatives.

The result, on the otherwise peaceful seaside street in Helensburgh, was these diametrically opposed window displays at the start of the campaign.

The SNP check mated by a local company in the offices above them on Helensburgh sea front πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

According to a Helensburgh SNP official, the three large Union flags were hung up against the upstairs windows within days of the SNP moving into the downstairs office last month to set up their campaign hub.

Clearly pleased with the stunt, the pro-UK side then added a slightly larger fourth Union flag outside the building on the balcony directly above the SNP's branch office.

SNP Helensborough get some new upstairs neighbours LOL

"They were put up in response to us moving in," said Michelle Van Der Stighelen, a policy officer from the SNP branch. "We’ve had it since around May 8 and the Union Jacks went up within a few days of us moving in as a direct response."

So, was the flag battle over? Was it bollocks. The pro-UK side added a huge banner to its display, urging locals to "vote Scottish Conservative and Unionist".

A remarkable display of political partisanship a from private U.S. company @PerryGolf in Helensburgh #snp …

The people who put up the pro-UK flags have been named on social media as the local golf touring business Perry Golf but, when contacted by BuzzFeed News, they denied that the company or anyone associated with it was responsible.

The SNP branch believes the building is occupied by a "private business", but did not want to attach a name to it.

@PerryGolf I see your Helensburgh franchise are active in UK politics.

But the battle wasn't over – the SNP branch met to decide how to respond to their pro-UK cohabitants as "a bit of banter and a bit of fun", and came up with their own banner idea to embarrass their upstairs neighbours.

After recruiting the help of some people with ladders, they put this up this cheeky edition to undermine the pro-Tory banner.

The @ScotTories rented a floor in a building for their banner in Helensburgh. Owned

The SNP poster – disguised in Tory blue – adds an addendum to the upstairs banner, making it say vote Conservative "and get..." a whole range of nasty things.

Advantage SNP.

Was that enough? No. The pro-UK side then took down their Tory poster, so now it looks like the SNP is advertising all of the nasty things themselves – advantage Tory.

Van Der Stighelen said the upstairs pro-Tory banner came down within hours of their additional banner, adding: "We’re just seeing another Tory U-turn – the minute you challenge them on their policies they scurry away and rip down their banner!"

At the time of writing, the SNP's faux-Tory poster in Helensburgh is still up, however there is expected to be a ceasefire on the banner war as soon as the weather takes a turn for the better in the town.

"We’ve left ours up because we have no ladders and it’s raining, but we’ll take it down," said Van Der Stighelen. Asked if that will be the end of the war, she said: "I would hope so but, hey, it’s a free country."

Jamie Ross is a Scotland reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Edinburgh.

Contact Jamie Ross at

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