Andrew Marr calls it the great disruption of our age, the rise of liberalism, but, or so he suggested in his Show on Sunday (18 September) this is in-turn getting disrupted.
He called it the death of liberalism, and to discuss it, ostensibly reviewing the Sunday newspapers, was Nigel Farage and the Green Party’s one and only MP, Caroline Lucas.
So is it the death of liberalism, asked Marr?
Farage said: “It depends on what you mean by liberalism” suggesting that actually the body of opinion that is under threat, is “a metropolitan elite, backed by big business, who became out of touch with voters." Caroline Lucas responded by saying “this idea that a metropolitan elite has a monopoly” about caring for human rights is a Feragian myth, that the ideals and morals that Farage says apply to this elite, are actually held by the majority of people.
There is an ambiguity here. Lucas puts emphasis on human rights at the core of her ideology, and she interprets the rise of the right as a threat to these values, Farage seems to be saying that it is the errors of this metropolitan elite, pandering to the interest of big business, who are the problem.
Farage and Lucas seem to hold the same view – a distrust of big business. Yet their prescription is light years apart.
And that brings us to Brexit, there seems to be an odd alliance between much of big business, advocates of capitalism, liberals and the Green Party over immigration, although the alliance does not totally hold together on the subject of free trade and TTIP (The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). The new movement, what Farage calls the anti-metropolitan elite, but you may want to call it a Trump/Farage movement, a kind of Frumpism – might agree with Lucas and indeed Bernie Sanders on free trade, but disagree on the issues of immigration, and the treatment of ethnic minorities.
But the anti Frumpist movement falls apart. Lucas blames austerity from the rise of this new movement, the very policy that many of her allies in the Remain camp advocated with such enthusiasm.
Meanwhile, while Farage warned that the row between Germany and Eastern European countries over migrants and quotas was the most serious crisis the EU has yet faced, Ms Lucas focused on a map of the world showing the migrations of people fleeing from war zones. She also suggested that climate change will exacerbate the problem of global migration.