Fintan O’Toole: For the first time since 1171, Ireland is more powerful than Britain

There is far too much at stake to take any pleasure in this bizarre political reversal

Role reversal: British prime minister Boris Johnson and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar  at Government Buildings, Dublin on Monday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Role reversal: British prime minister Boris Johnson and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Government Buildings, Dublin on Monday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

It is foolish to read too much into body language, but what we saw in Dublin on Monday morning was startling. The Taoiseach was calm, clear, sure of his tone, which was neither aggressive nor ingratiating.

Boris Johnson was deeply uncertain, unable to stand still at the podium, hesitating between tones – patronisingly matey or grandly demanding? He exuded, not the confidence we would usually take for granted in a visiting British prime minister, but an unease bordering on complete disorientation.

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