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.


 
 
 
 

17 things the proposed “Tulip” skyscraper that London mayor Sadiq Khan just scrapped definitely resembled

Artist's impression. See if you can guess which one The Tulip is. Image: Foster + Partners.

Sadiq Khan has scrapped plans to build a massive glass thing in the City of London, on the grounds it would knacker London’s skyline. The “Tulip” would have been a narrow, 300m skyscraper, designed by Norman Foster’s Foster & Partners, with a viewing platform at the top. Following the mayor’s intervention, it now won’t be anything of the sort.

This may be no bad thing. For one thing, a lot of very important and clever people have been noisily unconvinced by the design. Take this statement from Duncan Wilson, the chief executive of Historic England, from earlier this year: “This building, a lift shaft with a bulge on top, would damage the very thing its developers claim they will deliver – tourism and views of London’s extraordinary heritage.”

More to the point, the design was just bloody silly. Here are some other things that, if it had been built, the Tulip would definitely have looked like.

1. A matchstick.

2. A drumstick.

3. A cotton ear bud.

4. A mystical staff, of the sort that might be wielded by Gandalf the Grey.

5. A giant spring onion.

6. A can of deodorant, from one of the brands whose cans are seemingly deliberately designed in such a way so as to remind male shoppers of the fact that they have a penis.

7. A device for unblocking a drain.

8. One of those lights that’s meant to resemble a candle.

9. A swab stick, of the sort sometimes used at sexual health clinics, in close proximity to somebody’s penis.

10.  A nearly finished lollipop.

11. Something a child would make from a pipe cleaner in art class, which you then have to pretend to be impressed by and keep on show for the next six months.

12. An arcology, of the sort seen in classic video game SimCity 2000.

13. Something you would order online and then pray will arrive in unmarked packaging.

14. The part of the male anatomy that the thing you are ordering online is meant to be a more impressive replica of.

15. A building that appears on the London skyline in the Star Trek franchise, in an attempt to communicate that we are looking at the FUTURE.


14a. Sorry, the one before last was a bit vague. What I actually meant was: a penis.

16. A long thin tube with a confusing bulbous bit on the end.

17. A stamen. Which, for avoidance of doubt, is a plant’s penis.

One thing it definitely does not resemble:

A sodding tulip.

Anyway, it’s bad, and it’s good the mayor has blocked it.

That’s it, that’s the take.

(Thanks to Anoosh Chakelian, Jasper Jackson, Patrick Maguire for helping me get to 17.)

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

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