Inside Lines: Council killjoys try to bar Italia from waving the flag in Soho

Judging by the flags and bunting everywhere, the whole country is deep in the thralls of World Cup fever – except in a curmudgeonly corner of Westminster City Council.

For the last four World Cups, Bar Italia, a popular eaterie in the heart of London's Soho, has been festooned with Italian flags together with a banner stretching across Frith Street towards Ronnie Scott's famous jazz joint with a banner proclaiming "Forza Azzuri" and "Good Luck Italy". But last week, just a few hours after it had been put up, planning enforcement officers from the council ordered owner Tony Polledri to take it down or face legal action. Whether it was because of planning permission or that old standby, "elf 'n' safety", wasn't quite clear, but Signor Polledri, whose family have run the restaurant for over 60 years, made it absolutely clear he wasn't going to comply. Instead he e-mailed London mayor Boris Johnson pointing out that an Italian flag and banner have been a World Cup tradition "in what is the last remaining piece of Italy in Soho". He vows: "They can do what they like. The banner stays until after the last kick of the World Cup." As yet he hasn't heard anything more from the council jobsworths. Whether Boris had a word we don't know, but here's one for them anyway: "guastafeste". That's the Italian for killjoys.

Surbiton High flyers

Spelbound, the amazing gymnastics group who brought sport to the footlights by winning 'Britain's Got Talent', have given a decent percentage of their £100,000 prize money towards refurbishing the Surrey gymnasium where they have been schooled. But it was back to school for real for three of them, Katie Axten, Abigail Ralph and Amy Mackenzie, who all had examinations last week at Surbiton High, whose Gifted and Talented programme has produced not only the spellbinding trio but nine GB gymnasts and 14 national skiiers, including Chemmy Alcott. "We feel it essential we nurture talent and celebrate sporting achievement," says principal Ann Haydon. If only all schools thought that way.



Robertson shows mettle

Having secured sport a £50 million-a-year boost from the Lottery by 2012 to help deliver a mass participation legacy from the Olympics, new sports minister Hugh Robertson is also keeping his pre-election promise to cut the expensive quangos down to size, with UK Sport, Sport England and the Youth Sports Trust brought together under one roof and synergised by the end of the year. "There will be no more squabbling over territory. We are going to get this cracked," he says. The departure of UK Sport's chief executive John Steele to the Rugby Football Union may inadvertently help facilitate such a "merger". While Robertson has no say over the appointment of a successor, doubtless he will be keeping a keen political eye on the list of applicants. The loss of Steele is a blow to UK Sport but in the former Northampton Saints player, coach and executive director, the RFU have gained one of sport's most able and popular administrators.



New balls, please

Adam Booth, manager of David Haye, quaintly reckons the Hayemaker will be taking a risk should he fight timid but big-punching Audley Harrison who, he says, "may find his bollocks and David's chin at the same time".



insidelines@independent.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: KS2 Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee