IF Brexit has taught us anything, it’s that we need more Irish media in our lives. At a time when Westminster’s political commentators stagger around like punch-drunk bums trying to keep up with the chaotic strategies of a warring and fractured Conservative Party, some of the best and most incisive writing has come from Dublin.

Step forth the remarkable Fintan O’Toole, the gifted commentator of the Irish Times, who has spent the last few months taking a scalpel to the decomposing body of British politics.

O’Toole’s critique of the Brexit fiasco hinges on the notion of “English exceptionalism” – the commonly held view that England is one of the world’s exceptional nations, and that its history and character set it aside from normality. It is a comforting myth, but one that is being slowly worn down as successive waves of global reality hit the beach.

A united European Union has exposed Theresa May’s hopeless negotiating strategies while consistently protecting Ireland’s interests. Meanwhile, the dysfunctional US Presidency has shredded what remained of the tattered “special relationship” with America.

And at the height of England’s discomfort, an ungrateful bunch of brigands to the north seem to think they can stand on their own two feet, without the generous subsidies that are doled out to them through the Conservative Party’s famed generosity.

When will the world learn?

In his recently published book, Heroic Failure: Brexit And The Polities Of Pain (Apollo), O’Toole pushes the metaphor still further and defines England’s dilemma as a reaction to winning the Second World War but losing an empire.

O’Toole sees Brexit as a crisis of English identity. “If the choice between shooting oneself in the head or in the foot is the answer to Britain’s long-term problems,” he recently wrote, “surely the wrong question is being asked.

‘‘It is becoming ever clearer that Brexit is not about its ostensible subject: Britain’s relationship with the EU. The very word Brexit contains a literally unspoken truth. It does not include or even allude to Europe. It is British exit that is the point, not what it is exiting from.”

O’Toole is one of Ireland’s great cultural commentators, and we are enriched by his witty and uncompromising observations, but it is only recently with the proliferation of the political web that he has become so widely known via Twitter recommendation. He has been a critic for the Irish Times since 1988 and has more than 20 books to his credit, but it is Brexit and the misapprehensions of English nationalism that has brought him recently to the fore.

I first met O’Toole at Glasgow’s Tramway theatre in 1990, where we shared a stage with the theatre critic Joyce McMillan at a conference on modern European theatre, where he displayed his trademark qualities: curious intellect, respectful debate and an unshakable belief in Celtic enquiry.

What I most liked about him was his willingness to see both strength and weakness in his own culture, speaking eloquently but sometimes brutally about the realities of theatre in the context of Irish nationalism.

In his 2009 book Ship Of Fools, How Stupidity And Corruption Sank The Celtic Tiger, he took that scepticism to its conclusion and eviscerated the boom-and-bust cycle of the recent Irish economy. Paradoxically, it was a book that was used by some critics to mock Alex Salmond’s theory of an “arch of prosperity’’ reaching out across the north Atlantic which an independent Scotland might join. Most of those critiques were of course highly selective, pointing to the crisis of the Irish economy, never its remarkable growth or its capacity to recover.

One reason that O’Toole’s writing has only recently become fashionable in Scotland is the skewed nature of our “broadsheet press”. It is virtually impossible to pick up a copy of the Irish Times in Scotland’s capital city, and to my knowledge, even in Glasgow, a city with a substantial history of Irish immigration, there is not a single Irish title editionalised for Scotland.

That is in marked contrast to London-based editorial titles such as The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail and the Express, all of which have Scottish editions. There is also an obvious consequence: all of these titles are either broadly or vehemently Unionist, and are in the main so resistant to the idea of an independent, or even a federal, Scotland, that the fresh air of curiosity is rarely allowed to permeate.

NOR is O’Toole alone. Another prominent Irish writer, Tony Connelly, RTE’s long-time Brussels correspondent, has ploughed similar furrows. His recent book, Brexit And Ireland: The Inside Story Of The Irish Response, should be required reading in Downing Street and at the editorial desks of the BBC in London.

Connelly’s unique understanding of European diplomacy enriches every page and unpicks the issues that will snag not only the outgoing British state, but the independent Ireland that remains in the EU.

His previous book, Don’t Mention The Wars, is a witty but revealing catalogue of events since the Second World War and how the national stereotypes of France and Germany have played out to Britain’s humiliation in the Brexit negotiations.

Yet again the myths of English exceptionalism loom large, and an incoherent resentment towards Germany and a sneering indifference to new European states such as Latvia, Estonia and Slovenia, has bewitched a country that is deeply unhappy with its changed role in the world.

The problem for Scotland is not simply being led by donkeys, but the daily drip-feed of ideologies and prejudice that the presence of the editionalised London press and a London-led BBC leak into our lives.

Ireland is our near neighbour, we have tangled historic links and meet periodically as part of the so-called British-Irish Council, but for all that we are pitifully under-exposed to Irish media and to the ideas that are debated within their culture.

On Thursday, BBC Scotland’s flagship six o’clock news carried a report by Glenn Campbell from Dublin. It was unusual and refreshing in equal measure. We are so accustomed to seeing Scottish journalists report from Westminster that when the rules are broken, they can produce more enlightening reports.

The poverty of thought that is coming from the intellectual salons of London is characterised by malign attitudes to the so-called “backstop”. Ingrained in the debate is ignorance about the partition of Ireland, grudging disrespect for Ireland’s success within Europe and a palpable misunderstanding of the border as a site for trade. It is a problem largely of Britain’s doing which is now being hysterically blamed on Ireland, the IRA and, in some fevered versions, even the EU itself.

Only very recently, MPs on the Bedlam wing of Brexit were musing that it would be easier if Ireland re-joined Britain, so the EU could be seen off in glorious partnership, and the Daily Telegraph flew the futile kite that the Good Friday Agreement – an international treaty – might be torn to shreds.

Contempt for Ireland is palpable. Many Brexiteers huffily blame the backstop on what they see as the conniving Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Only last week one senior unionist claimed that Varadkar, who has an Indian father, was “trying to be more Irish than the Irish”. It would take a plumber schooled in ancient blockages to establish what prejudices were coursing through that particular comment.

I invite Fintan O’Toole to try to unravel that quote. He has been the acidic poet of Brexit so far, describing the English dream as “a surreal casino in which the high-rollers are playing for pennies at the blackjack tables while the plebs are stuffing their life savings into the slot machines. For those who can afford risk, there is very little on the table; for those who cannot, entire livelihoods are at stake.”

We need more Irish media in our lives and to lance the delusionary boils of modern Britain, and the sharper the scalpel the better.