European cities are flying the union flag to campaign against Brexit

A pro-European sandcastle in Southport. Image: Getty.

The wait is over – Britain’s EU referendum is finally here. The nation’s long nightmare is over, or possibly just beginning (delete according to result and taste).

The cities of Europe, though, have been making their own feelings about the vote pretty clear. Madrid's City Hall was illuminated in red, white and blue, to show its support for the Remain campaign:

 

In Warsaw, the Union flag was projected onto the side of the Palace of Culture building, complete with hashtag:

 

In Vienna, a huge Union Jack was projected onto the side of the MuseumsQuartier – which, Wikipedia tells us, is the eighth largest cultural area in the world (citation needed).

 

In Florence, Michelangelo's David was wearing a jaunty new outfit:

 

The German news magazine Der Spiegel made this its cover last week:

(Okay, Der Spiegel isn't technically a city, but we wanted something German.)

And back in London, a bunch of Parisians tried to give out croissants at Kings Cross station  ("Operation Croissant") to persuade waverers to vote Remain.

But, according to the Guardian:

the Electoral Commission said Operation Croissant was illegal under a law that prevents the use of food, drink or entertainment to influence voting.

The croissants were baked in Paris on Wednesday morning and transported to London on the first Eurostar train of the day. But the plan to give them out to commuters was thwarted when police intervened.

They were forced to give out cards instead.

 

The first results from today's referendum will start coming in the early hours of the morning. Our colleagues Helen Lewis and Stephen Bush will be liveblogging all night over at the Staggers.


 
 
 
 

TfL is offering you the chance to stop two proposed Bakerloo line stations from having stupid names

Bakerloo line trains at London Road depot, mournfully wishing they could continue their journey to the south. Image: Getty.

Ever wanted to name a tube station? Well boy is this your lucky week. The latest round of Transport for London's interminable consultation on the proposed extension of the Bakerloo line from Elephant & Castle to Lewisham, hopefully due to arrive at some point in the early 2030s, is asking your input into names.

Necessary background blah blah blah. The most efficient way of running a metro line is to have it cross the city. The Central Line, for example, doesn't just allow west Londoners to get into the city centre: it allows east Londoners to do the same, and for everyone to get about within the city centre to boot. All that and it's only one line. Amazing really, isn't it?

But the Bakerloo line, unusually, isn't doing all this, because it gets to the south-eastern-most edge of the city centre and then gives up. That doesn't just mean that south east London remains the bit of the capital most poorly served by TfL's rail network, although it does mean that – there are no stations inside the yellow box here, look:

The tube/rail desert, with the rough location of the proposed new stations marked. Image: Google Maps.

It also means that the line through the centre isn't pulling its weight compared to every other line, because it's a lot more useful to commuters coming from the north west than from the south east. That's great if you want to get a seat for the six minutes it takes to get from Elephant to Embankment. It's not great if you're, say, in charge of London's transport network and want to sweat your assets.

Anyway, the plan for some time has been to extend the line under New and Old Kent Roads, down to New Cross Gate and Lewisham. A later phase may see it take over the Hayes branch of the South Eastern Rail network, but one thing at a time. The official map of the proposal looks like this:

Ooooh. Image: TfL.

Old Kent Road 1 and Old Kent Road 2 are obviously rubbish names for stations, so the latest round of consultation suggests some alternatives: Old Kent Road or Burgess Park for the northern one, Old Kent Road or Asylum for the southern.

CityMetric has long argued that naming stations after roads is stupid: either the road is long enough that it's not a useful name because who knows if you’re at the right end or not, or short enough that it's only useful to people who already know an area. The fact that two different stations might revel in the name Old Kent Road seems to me to prove this point pretty nicely – so if I had my way TfL would go with Burgess Park and Asylum. The latter, named for both Asylum Road and, well, what used to be an asylum, seems particularly cool to me.

Alternatively, buses terminating at the former have sometimes said "Old Kent Road Dun Cow" after a long dead pub, and naming a tube station after some livestock is amusing too, so, Dun Cow, why not?


Meanwhile the latter site, next to the junction between Asylum Road and the Old Kent Road, is sometimes known as Canal Bridge, because it used to be where the Old Kent Road crossed the Surrey Canal. The latter is long gone – although more bridges across it remain in Burgess Park, which is nicely surreal – but naming tube stations after two things that aren't there any more would be amusing too.

Anyway, the point is: please don't call either of these stations Old Kent Road, the world is confusing enough as it is. Now go vote.

Incidentally, one thing TfL has already decided is that there won't be a third Old Kent Road station, at its northernmost point, the Bricklayers Arms junction. This seems a shame to me, but I suppose they know what they're doing.

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and on Facebook as JonnElledgeWrites.

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