One wants to save the planet, the other wants to save the nation. Or at least that is how climate activists and rightist populists see themselves.

But do these two competing political tribes have more in common than they - and many of the rest of us - suspect?

As Extinction Rebellion does to London streets what far-right-inspired Brexitism is doing to the capital’s politics, some Britain’s columnists are drawing some unlikely comparisons.

Financial Times

Writer Janan Ganesh sees a common root for Extinction Rebellion and the new anti-immigration nationalism in No10: the 18th century thoughts of Thomas Malthus.

He said: “On the face of it, populists and environmentalists are the two least reconcilable movements in world politics.

“One defines itself against transnational governance and the other counts on it to abate climate change.

“One electrifies the middle-aged and older while the other mobilises the young.

“The crossfire between US president Donald Trump and Greta Thunberg on Twitter last month captured the acrimony in miniature. Such is the surface tension that we miss what unites the two sides. At the core of both movements is a mistrust of capitalism.

“For the populist, it undermines nationhood. For the green, it imperils all life. Their lines of approach are different, but both converge on a position that is recognisably Malthusian.

“Populists assume that immigrants leave less of the (presumably fixed) national wealth for native-born citizens. The greenest greens equate economic and even demographic growth with the depletion of the planet.”

Both groups are talking “hokum”. Mr Ganesh believes, but it is “compatible hokum”.

He adds: “Given time, the intellectual overlap might be the stuff of a political coalition.”

Mr Ganesh is not suggesting any formal voting between the two. But he reckons they could act as a pincer movement against some of the economic and political orthodoxies of the centre-left and the centre-right.

He added: “If anything, an alliance of greens and populists would be more coherent, at least in substance, and perhaps even in style. Both spit the word “liberal” (or “neoliberal”) as slander. Both have what we might delicately call an extra-parliamentary wing.”

The Scotsman

Veteran commentator Bill Jamieson has also seen the bridge from conservationism to conservatism. Mr Jamieson - a protestor himself in his youth - has some sympathy with the general long-term aims of ER, but less with their tactics.

He wrote: “The protests have a hysterical, ominously cultish air, with impossible demands for zero carbon in five years.”

Mr Jamieson adds: “For there is much in the climate change protest that appeals to the conservative instinct: the preservation of our planet, the protection of plant and species, a check on landscape destruction and unfettered globalisation, chronic car congestion and that greater diffuse but deadly loss of heritage, memory, constraint and personal responsibility.”

Here Mr Jamieson departs from Mr Ganesh. He sees ER in the context of classical economic theory, not as its foe. The protests, he said, “put pressure on governments, businesses and individuals to act. And that action is driven by an awareness - as Adam Smith so brilliantly set out - of our own self-interest”.

“Behaviour change matters. And for that alone, the underlying aims of ER deserve respect.

“Street protest can only take us so far. ER has to be more than bizarre displays and a platform for virtue-signalling by celebs. It needs to drop the infantilism and widen, not close, those broader roads to real and effective change.

Evening Standard

London has been hit hard by ER protests. Matthew D’Ancona in the UK capital’s local paper is quick to see a metaphor that might appeal to his Financial Times and Scotsman colleagues.

“The centre of London”, he says,” has been taken over by a group of highly disruptive activists, as smug as they are zealous; committed to their inflexible objectives to the exclusion of all else.” Such individuals, Mr D’Ancona adds, “are unimpressed by the rule of law, manipulative of the media, and combine an irritating insistence that they speak on behalf of the people with all the worst aspects of the privately educated”.

His pay-off: “So much, then, for Boris Johnson’s Government."