Council banner warning issued as independence referendum battle heats up in East Dunbartonshire

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CAMPAIGNERS hoping to sway floating voters in next year’s independence referendum have been told the council will have “zero tolerance” for unauthorised banners.

The warning came after a large ‘Yes’ banner, signed by a number of independence supporters, was attached to a fence in Kirkintilloch Road, Bishopbriggs.

The sign was taken down shortly afterwards, but raised the possibility that such publicity stunts could become commonplace in the run-up to the vote on September 18 next year.

However East Dunbartonshire Council chiefs have said that any political banners on public property will be removed, in line with a policy which has seen similar banners advertising businesses and charity events controversially ripped down - although it was pointed out that the council would have no power to deal with banners placed in public view on private property.

Grace Irvine, the council’s head of neighbourhood services, said: “The council has a zero tolerance approach to unauthorised advertising and will remove any advertising materials displayed on public property.

“However, this banner has been hung up on fences belonging to the supermarket ASDA and the council was therefore unauthorised to remove it.”

Willie Wilson, group spokesman for the East Dunbartonshire ‘Yes’ campaign, welcomed the “spontaneity and surprise element” of the Bishopbriggs banner, and claimed that his group had no knowledge of who was responsible for it.

He said: “It has all the hallmarks of a teenage prank, and this is what fascinates me - where did it come from?

“The referendum is the biggest event in our lifetime, so the emergence of spontaneous, grassroots enthusiasm like this is, to me, refreshing and healthy.”

He added: “I would not find it objectionable if the Unionists were to discover such a spontaneous expression of support among a large bunch of teenagers, which is what this appears to be.

“I do wonder about the legality of the ripping down and removal of this poster and I’m equally curious about who felt so insecure about their cause that they felt they could not accept a bit of teenage art hung on a fence.”

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