The MOB has never been a pretty sight, writes Martin Smith.
Whether they’re villagers with staves and fiery torches on their way to Frankenstein’s castle or a football hooligan crew in full flow.
A mob takes on a mentality of its own which is by definition the lowest common denominator of its members.
Even when it’s led by an educated and genuine group trying to do nothing but good the mob will eventually take its own path.
As in the case of climate change sceptic Johnny Ball.
Bouncy and slightly batty he may be but you have to doubt there’s a bad bone in his body.
Yet, because he dares to have an opinion which goes against the mainstream monsoon of received wisdom on the environment and the problems we face, he has been vilified on the internet, pornographic websites have been set up in his name and a campaign started stating that he ‘should not be allowed near children’.
Mr Ball once said that spider flatulence causes more global warming than anything else - and was booed off stage at an atheism and science show.
You’d have thought they’d have had more sense.
The problem is once people attach themselves to a group it becomes part of their personality, their beliefs, a reflection of who they are.
When someone has an alternative view some feel that identity is being undermined.
Good old Johnny I say.
Let’s have a few more identities undermined, it might even bring about a wider debate.
He calls the green lobby’s prophecies of global doom ‘worry science’ and ‘alarmist nonsense’ that has some kids believing the planet has about 40 years left.
It has always seemed odd that the the earth that has survived billions of years, millions of earthquakes, meteors, ice ages and volcanoes might be about to fall apart because of what we have done for the last 200 years.
No doubt we need to clean up our act but those with counter opinions should not be forced to suffer the wrath of the mob - whether it’s carrying pitchforks or ipads.