In an increasingly dangerous world that is rapidly going to hell in a hand basket, national reputation counts for a lot, therefore it is imperative that governments and their agents do all they can to enhance that reputation and guard against incidents that put it at risk.
The actions of the lowest ranked government bureaucrats can have a detrimental effect in high profile cases which can generate disproportionate publicity, especially where celebrities are concerned.
Unlike Great Britain, the USA is an independent, sovereign nation and therefore has control over its borders and, quite rightly, it has the absolute right to decide which foreigners to allow in. When a controversial decision is made without an explanation, negative publicity is inevitable, the national reputation is affected and the nation as a whole becomes something of a laughing stock.
One such incident was the barring of the popular celebrity chef Nigella Lawson from boarding her flight to Los Angeles without an explanation. It must be noted that the authorities are not obliged to give an explanation but they should have been aware that this would fuel speculation and that in turn would call its competence into question, it would also have a negative effect on an already battered reputation.
The speculation over Nigella Lawson is varied and in many cases bizzar, the most plausible reason being the revelation during the trial of her domestic helpers that she had occasionally used narcotics in the past.
Word around the world is that the USA has strict guidelines on allowing people into the country who have criminal records, especially where drugs are involved and it is the interpretation of these guidelines, among other things, that is making the country a laughing stock.
To recap very briefly; Nigella hit the headlines when her husband and high profile art collector, Charles Saatchi, was photographed throttling her outside a restaurant in London. This precipitated a bitter divorce battle where Saatchi threatened to ruin her.
Coincidentally after his threats a trial of their domestic helpers followed and it was at this trial that Nigella admitted smoking marijuana and taking cocaine with her terminally ill first husband. It was suggested by a friend that use of these substances would help both of them get through what was obviously a trying, stressful time.
Despite attempts to label her as a habitual drug user and bad mother, her doctor was able to confirm that no long term drug use was involved and that she was drug free.
It has been suggested that Saatchi deliberately engineered the trial knowing that the resulting publicity would alert the American immigration authorities and have negative affect on her lucrative American television career. Some say that he is such a malignant piece of work he alerted them himself but this again is pure speculation.
As is the case with their British counterparts, American bureaucrats live in an isolated world where common sense is a nonexistent commodity and America's reputation suffered as a consequence. If past drug use was the reason for Nigella's exclusion and her presence in the USA constitutes a danger to impressionable children, how does that square with the legalisation of marijuana in Colorado?
It is this kind of glaring inconsistency that shows up the bureaucracy and makes them look petty. This however, is nothing compared to the British celebrities they do let in.
If the authorities are worried that the domestic goddess may be a poor role model for young Americans then what on earth kind of role model is Ozzy Osbourne, an out of control junkie who probably reaches more American kids than a television chef however glamorous.
A serial alcohol and drug abuser, Ozzie is quoted as saying: "I get high, I get f*cked up, what the hell is wrong with getting f*cked up" which will have a much more devastating impact on young minds than 'check the seasoning and add a little more salt and pepper if needed'.
Apart from biting the heads off doves and bats, Ozzy apparently desecrated an American shrine when he urinated against the Alamo memorial.
While Nigella gets banned, Ozzy gets a television series and an invite to the White House.
As bad as he is, Ozzie is an amateur compared the ultimate rock and roll icon, Keith Richards. Drug abuse has been as much a part of his life as music and to his credit he doesn't regret or apologise for his addled past. Keith has a mansion in Massachusetts and has recently bought a luxury apartment in New York.
(See Keef here)
It's not the fact that the authorities banned Nigella and rolled out the welcome mat for Ozzy and Keith but the fact that without an explanation it makes the American authorities, and by extension the country at large, look petty and incompetent before the sceptical world.
P.S. Along with millions of other punters, I'm a fan of all three so good luck to them all.