Lisbon, Leipzig and interesting times

The last time I watched a Celtic match in O’Gilins Irish Pub in Lisbon Tom Rogic settled matters with two minutes to go.

Last night I was in very fine company in the same establishment as Brendan’s Bhoys bested a very handy Bundesliga side.

When I watched the Wizard of Ox do the business against the Dons two years ago, I was in the Portuguese capital to celebrate 50 years of winning the Big One at Stadio Nacional.

This week, as my Twitter folk will know, I was in Lisbon for the Web Summit.

Every year the event gets bigger and better.

To think that this started in Dublin in 2009 with a few young Irish lads who were into tech.

Pretty amazing stuff.

It’s so big now that you will find yourself in a situation where you really do want to be able to be in three places at once.

The best session for me was being in the front row to listen to Raffi Krikorian of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in conversation with Sam Biddle of the Intercept.

The talk was titled “Hacking Democracy”.

The guy from the DNC talked about how their party was hacked in 2016 by “foreign state actors”.

He means Russia, just in case you’re wondering…

Moreover, he said that he and his colleagues in the DNC tech team were in an “arms race” to constantly beef up their defences against future hacking attempts.

When I was at the Web Summit the story broke in DC of President Putin’s guy putting down Jim Acosta of CNN.

Trump’s behaviour was an attack on the Fourth Estate right out of the box.

For the avoidance of doubt, the confrontation between the CNN reporter and the 45th President of the United States is just what the Founding Fathers envisaged.

That one day there would be a “mad king” in the White House and there had to be checks and balances on executive power.

Congress has a job to do, but so does a free press.

In our little parish of Planet Fitba, you see what happens when the succulent lamb is on the menu.

Sir David Murray made sure that he only ever received grovelling coverage.

The death of Rangers in 2012 in 2012 should have been the teachable moment for the mainstream media in Scotland.

However, in the last six years, they’ve doubled down on the churnalism.

Another strange event took place while I was in Portugal.

In Fair Caledonia, the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon used the term “anti-Irish racism” in answering a question in the Holyrood parliament.

Therefore, as my kids would say, that means that it’s definitely a thing now.

For if Ms Sturgeon formally recognises that anti-Irish racism is extant in her country then perhaps she will finally answer my questions on the subject.

Regular readers will know that I submitted an inquiry to the First Minister’s office to ascertain her view on the comments of Ms Mhairi Black MP.

The Paisley-based politician had thought nothing of dismissing second-generation Irish people in Scotland as “plastic Irishmen”.

She had said this in an interview to the official magazine of the Holyrood Parliament.

I wrote to Ms Black and sent her a copy of Minority Reporter.

It was my hope that the LGBT analogy I had used about a hidden ethnicity would strike a chord with her.

Despite some prevaricating from her office, she did not reply to my questions.

I then submitted an enquiry to the office of First Minister who is Ms Black’s boss in the SNP.

Just like the Paisley MP the leader of Fair Caledonia did not respond.

In fairness, her very personal PR guy did his best to dissuade me.


The most unedifying thing to appear on my phone this the week was the klan trying to pretend that they were genuinely concerned with child protection.

This was my response on Twitter.


I keep hoping that at some point I will find a moral boundary that the klan will observe.

Discover Phil’s dramatic play Rebellion