Author Archives: Fintan O'Toole

Fintan O'Toole

About Fintan O'Toole

Fintan O'Toole is an Irish columnist, literary editor, and drama critic for The Irish Times, for which he has written since 1988.

Nicola Sturgeon’s ally in her push for Scottish independence – Boris Johnson (The Irish Times, Jan 17, 2021)

Brexit has rubbed the noses of the Scots in their status as junior partners in the union. They have been told repeatedly that their vote against it means nothing, and that their duty is just to suck it up.

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Assault on US Capitol showed Trump where his market is now (The Irish Times Jan 12, 2021)

There’s an American cliché: Run it up the flagpole and see who salutes. It emerged from the advertising industry in the Mad Men era. It’s what you do with an idea that’s a bit outlandish but that just might work; … Continue reading

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Trump’s insurrection has been advertised for months

Spare us, at least, the mock horror. On the morning after the US presidential election of November 4th, The Irish Times ran a headline: “At 2.23am, the US president launched an attempted coup.” This was merely factual reporting.

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The attorney general exemplifies the growing influence of right-wing Catholicism under Trump.(NYRB November 5, 2020 )

The logic is not just that their votes are outside the rightful order of the American state but that they are the malign means to undermine it. To suppress those votes would be to uphold the authority not just of … Continue reading

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Johnson’s breaking of Brexit pledge is smart-arse duplicity (Irish Times Sep 11, 2020)

Everybody knows Boris Johnson can lie for England. To his supporters, it was one of his best assets.

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Night and Day (NYBooks Aug 26, 2020)

But a broken nation is not a macrocosm of a broken family. It cannot be healed by love and understanding alone, by religious faith and “small acts of kindness.”

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The Unpresident and the Unredeemed Promise

Resolution can come in only one of two ways. Trump’s boast that he can do whatever he wants will have to be imposed by state violence. Or there will be a transformative wave of change.

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FINTAN O’TOOLE. Donald Trump has destroyed the country he promised to make great again (Irish Times 25.4.2020)

Usually, when this kind of outlandish idiocy is displaying itself, there is the comforting thought that, if things were really serious, it would all stop. People would sober up. Instead, a large part of the US has hit the bottle … Continue reading

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FINTAN O’TOOLE. Boris Johnson. The Ham of Fate (New York Review of Books, 17.7.2019)

When things are too serious to be contemplated in sobriety, send in the clown.

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FINTAN O’TOOLE. Brexit Britain is wallowing in dangerous talk of national humiliation (The Guardian 15.6.2019)

The UK can only feel humiliated by the EU if it expects to be superior. This poisonous idea should be banished.

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FINTAN O’TOOLE. Today Britain discovers it cannot escape history. (Irish Times 16.1.2019)

Today is supposed to be historic, one of the most epic moments in the long life of the Westminster parliament. So why does it not feel like that? The tabling by a British prime minister of an agreement on the … Continue reading

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FINTAN O’TOOLE. Saboteur in Chief (The New York Review of Books).

Writing about her friend the famously unpleasant Evelyn Waugh, Frances Donaldson reflected that. 

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FINTAN O’TOOLE. How Brexit Broke Up Britain (New York Review of Books, 13.11.18)

So, at long last, it seems that the negotiations on Brexit between the United Kingdom and the European Union have produced a draft agreement. We do not yet know what it contains but it will be a compromise that falls … Continue reading

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FINTAN O’TOOLE. ‘Yeats Test’ criteria reveal we are doomed (Irish Times 28/7/2018)

There are many ways to measure the state of the world and economists, ecologists and anthropologists labour mightily over them. Opening the Yeats International Summer School in Sligo last week, I suggested another one: the Yeats Test. The proposition is … Continue reading

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FINTAN O’TOOLE. The long Irish 19th century is finally over (Irish Times)

We are, finally, reaching the end of Ireland’s long 19th century. I don’t mean that Ireland didn’t have a 20th century or that many momentous things did not occur within it. The visible landscape changed dramatically and so did social … Continue reading

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FINTAN O’TOOLE. Trial runs for fascism are in full flow.

Babies in cages were no ‘mistake’ by Trump but test-marketing for barbarism.

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