As is usual at this time of year I allow myself a look back.
This is not a review of 2017 per se, but how the year was for me.
Therefore, it is an entirely subjective and personal adumbration of the last 12 months.
Consequently, please treat this tour d’horizon on that basis.
Firstly, it was quite a year on Planet Fitba.
Brendan Rodgers and his Bhoys delivered the Invincible Treble.
The Tom Rogic goal that won the Scottish Cup is, for me, one of THE historic goals for Scotland’s most powerful club.
I watched the match in an Irish pub in Lisbon.
I was there for the 50th anniversary of that day in May.
The nine-year-old me wasn’t allowed to travel to Lisbon in 1967.
However, my uncle by marriage did take my scarf.
On the 25th May this year I was in a taxi with Henrik Larsson’s next door neighbour and long-time friend.
The driver was taking us to Stadio Nacional.
The scarf had made it back after 50 years.
I smiled all day
Celtic went 69 domestic games unbeaten beating their own British record set at the time of Willie Maley.
For the second season in a row, Rodgers navigated his side into the group stages of the Champions League.
This puts the Parkhead side into another financial postcode from the other clubs in Scotland.
Across the Clyde 2017 was a hilarious omnishambles even by the calamitous standards of Sevco.
In twelve months they have had three managers.
The Admirable Warburton turned on the TV back in February to find out that he had resigned.
Sevco still owes him money.
Then there was Pedro.
I loved his pressers.
He made big plans for Sevco’s inaugural campaign in Europe, but they met with little Progrès.
The caravan has passed on, but the Ibrox clientele is still howling at the moon.
Then Derek McInnes debacle suggested to The People that the hot seat at Ibrox might not be so tempting after all.
Of course, everyone else already knew that.
The Sevco job isn’t so much a poisoned chalice as a toxic chamber pot.
As the year closed it was that nice young Master Murts in charge.
As the year was drawing to a close the Penny Arcade was dropping for a lot of The People.
Off the field, it wouldn’t be Sevco if there wasn’t a lot of court action.
Craig Whyte walked and Dave King was bang to rights.
My reportage on the Sevco sitcom here has been evidence-based at all times.
With each passing month, my earlier reports have been largely vindicated.
Sometimes I have to wait a bit longer for a story to be proven correct.
In the summer of 2017, the Big Tax Case was finally concluded when the UK Supreme Court rejected the appeal.
The stenographers tried to sooth The People, but the verdict is in.
Rangers (1872-2012) cheated for a decade.
The titles won during that period are fraudulent.
Like Lance Armstrong’s victories and Ben Johnson’s medals, they are tainted.
Consequently, the record must be amended with an asterisk.
Of course, the Fitba Fourth Estate merely looked the other way when the incontrovertible case for sporting integrity was advanced.
It was seven years since I had broken the story on the basic arithmetic of the Big Tax Case.
It was a nice feeling to see it finally concluded in a legal sense.
Now only the chaps on the 6th floor at Hampden are holding out against sporting justice.
They’re lucky in that the local media are on the same page as the world-class administrators at the SFA.
As 2017 draws to a close I think even The People realise that their beloved basket of assets is rather fucked.
The Penny Arcade has finally dropped.
What has been inflicted upon the customer base at Ibrox since 2012 is crueller than anything that Stanley Milgram or Philip Zimbardo ever did in the name of science.
If my information on the current state of Sevco finances is correct then 2018 will not be any better for The People.
Of course, they’re unlikely to believe me, but I’m sure that you do dear reader.
The traffic on this site over the last 12 months has been consistently excellent.
The analytics thingy tells me that most readers return again and again.
Outwith Planet Fitba 2017 was a worrying year.
The Trump Presidency looks like the West Wing sscriptwritingteam have hired some of the guys that bash out editions of the Sevco shit show.
If it wasn’t so serious the weekly offering from Designated Gobshite would be hilarious.
Everything about the Trump Presidency keeps coming back to Russian involvement.
This is Cold war 2.0 instigated by a senior KGB officer who became top man in Moscow.
It reads like the draft of a Tom Clancy thriller, but it is destined for the non-fiction shelf.
Only Thomas Jefferson can save us now.
Because, if the checks and balances within United States Constitution manage to control and curtail President Trump then that will be the most telling proof that America really is great.
This side of Impeachment I worry for the world and particular for the inhabitants of the Korean Peninsula and I have a very personal reason for that.
That is where the Big Fella is currently working.
To calm the anxiety of his old dad my son thought it a good idea to cycle right up the DMZ electrified fence and send me the pics!
Fearless doesn’t begin to describe him.
He’s home next June and his mother and I are counting the days.
In his absence his two siblings are killing it at university.
Number One Daughter is in the home strait of her degree and she’s already been snapped up by Big Pharma for their high flier programme.
They’ve hired a star.
Baby Doctor is now officially half way through her medical training and that stuff is already embedded into how she now lectures me about my health.
My three young Irish millennials every day convince me of the wisdom of rearing them on their grandfather’s island.
They’re part of the global Gaeltacht, Gaeilgeoirí and culturally confident.
Moreover, they have benefited from a life experience a world away from that of their parents.
They’ve grown up in a country that values them as Irish people.
Wherever they go in the world their Irish passport is an official recognition of who they are.
We’ve been discussing these official travel documents over Christmas and my trio were laughing like drains about the Brits and their blue passport nonsense.
I think that their derision is fully justified.
For the twenty years they’ve been a growing here in Donegal the Partition line has blurred away to nothing.
Then there was Brexit.
That act of self-harm in the UK has certainly put the partition of this country back on the political agenda in both Belfast and Dublin.
So, in the law of unintended consequences, it is no bad thing.
It has been fascinating from my vantage point in a Border county to watch the UK become the Sevco of Europe.
In 2017 Theresa May proved herself to be the Pedro Caixinha of political timing.
Her calamitous decision to call a general election in June wiped out the Tory majority and put them in bed with the DUP.
It was instructive to look at the collective horror on the faces of the good people of England as they realised just what Arlene Foster’s party actually stood for.
The RHI scandal in Norn Iron is a breath talking saga of cronyism and corruption by the DUP.
It was, literally, public money going up in smoke.
The reporting on the scandal justifies a serious hat tip to excellent journalism there.
Sinn Féin took the outrageous stance that the DUP should deliver on what they had signed up to in the St Andrew’s agreement.
I am referring to the need for an Irish language act in the Six Counties.
It has become the “one man one vote” civil rights demand of this generation of Northern nationalists.
The symbolism of this desired piece of legislation cannot be overestimated.
As the nationalist community in the Six Counties continues to grow then the utility function of the Northern statelet as a vehicle for unionism seems to be on borrowed time.
2017 saw Ireland lose one of its greatest sons, Óglach Martin McGuinness was a singular man.
In time historians will judge him to be one of the most important figures in Ireland’s long story.
He towered above those he negotiated with in London.
In 2017 Downing Street resembled the set for a remake of Fawlty Towers.
The last twelve months has been like a slow moving Suez Crisis for the Westminster political class.
Like Sevco, they have ideas of their place in the world that have no basis in reality.
It won’t end well.
Sevco in Luxembourg and the Brits in Brussels.
I’m seeing a pattern here…
Actually, I have an image of David Davis stuck in a hedge in Brussels arguing with the Brexiteers that he’s got this.
In 2017 the Irish government found itself in a rather unique position in 2017.
For the first time in centuries a polity based on this island held power over the one on the Thames.
Quite simply the Irish government could prevent the Brexit negotiations moving onto Phase 2.
Our legitimate concerns about the reintroduction of a hard border enraged the Brits.
Sadly, it didn’t take long for the old racist stereotypes to emerge in London.
The British government backed down at the 11th hour, but I have learned never to underestimate the duplicity of Perfidious Albion in these matters.
That’s how we got the Border in the first place.
However, this time our gallant allies in Europe appear united in their determination to put manners on the Brits.
Meanwhile Narn Arne is still Bradaish.
So it is.
It amused me to see the ongoing clamour in the Six Counties for Irish Passports, as the folk sending in their forms self-dine as “Loyalists”.
Now, I would hate to have to live in that head!
The self-styled PUL community (Protestant Unionist Loyalist) presented a baffling image to the world.
At this stage pity is the main feeling that they evoke in me.
Across the water the turn out shell of Grenfell tower was a shameful image of a society that doesn’t value people.
Here in Ireland the homeless crisis shames us all.
The numbers of rough sleepers in Dublin is appalling.
However, our trendy Taoiseach thought it was all under control.
2017 was a significant year for this writer.
In the summer I submitted the draft of my debut novel to my publisher.
The project had started on a train journey from Dublin to Cork in 2006.
I was travelling to meet a sound comrade when I was a journalist with An Phoblacht.
He’s now a Sinn Féin TD and I can, with more than a little justification, call myself a writer.
It was originally a screenplay and a very successful film director was engaged with the story.
As with many of these projects, it was stillborn because of the inability to raise the necessary finance.
That was in 2008 and it remained on the shelf until the final months of 2016 when I decided that 2017 would be the year that it would be finished.
It might one day make it onto the screen.
That said I’m happy if I never have anything to do with Hollywood.
2017 was the year that the veil was drawn back on the darkness of Tinseltown.
Hopefully, the fall from grace of Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein marks a cultural change in Hollywood.
Of course, sexual harassment isn’t confined to the movie industry.
If you put someone like Damien Green in a political thriller it might seem far-fetched.
Last month, with the editing finished and the acknowledgments section written, it was a strange day when I submitted the finished work.
The project is still under wraps, but I can’t wait to see the cover design.
That’s the bit I can claim no credit for.
The provisional publication date is March 2018.
That represents a personal triumph, but 2017 was also a year of major tragedy for me.
In September I bore the weight and felt the crushing sadness of carrying my mother’s coffin.
She was 90, she simply slept away. It was her time.
Every time I visited her over the final couple of months I knew it might be the last time I would see her.
Each time there was hidden tears as I walked away quickly. There are tears now as these words blink to life on the screen.
It is a type of broken heart that never fully mends.
Like me Bridget grew up in a country that never wanted her.
When she attended primary school in Baillieston in the early 1930s the teacher decided that the young Murphy girl would do better in life if she was given another first name.
I laid all of this out in Minority Reporter.
For the last ten years of her life the care staff who were visiting her at home would call her Bridget.
It was like she had got something back.
The circumstances under which she brought me successfully to term were tragically heroic.
I owe her everything.
The week I was arranging Bridget’s funeral I was re-taught a tough lesson that a lot of people talk the talk, but when it comes down to it they crumble when they’re threatened by the Ibrox klan.
An anti-racist charity that doesn’t want to upset racists might be the daftest thing I’ve ever heard of.
It is one thing to have Madiba Nelson Mandela as your hero, but if you can’t face down racists for a single day then you might just be in the wrong line of work.
Next year this blog will have been around for a decade.
You can view the site archive here.
The first major story that it tackled was the Famine Song controversy in 2008.
The response of the klan back then was to threaten and smear your humble correspondent.
Their clear objective was to silence the messenger in order to neutralise the message.
I’m Bridget’s son.
A decade on from calling out the genocide choir at Ibrox my work is not yet complete.
However, the belief system that created the Famine Song is more loathed by decent folk in Scotland than The People could have imagined possible in 2008.
The Volkstaat on Edmiston Drive is now home to Español Glasgow.
The death of Rangers in 2012, and the independence vote in Glasgow in 2014 has shown their Über Britishness to be out of date and out of place.
However, there is still much to do.
Official Scotland has yet to decisively act with good authority against the fascist subculture within their midst.
I have done my part, both as a journalist and a writer.
Others cannot claim the same.
That was my 2017.
I hope yours had more happiness than heartbreak, more successes than setbacks.
If, like me, 2017 was year of personal loss and sadness then I hope that the year ahead is better to you.