JACQUI Smith, Britain's Home Secretary, is proving to be the worst occupant of that job since - well, since the last occupant, and the one before that, and so on back through the years. The truth is that very few politicians leave the Home Office with their reputations intact, let alone enhanced.

However, that having been said, it must also be said that Ms Smith seems to be bidding to prove that she is more than capable of making wrong decisions as any of her predecessors. Her decision to refuse entry to Britain of Geert Wilders, the leader of the anti-immigrant right-wing Freedom Party in the Netherlands, makes no sense at all. Mr Wilders is an Islamophobist - he compares the Koran to Hitler's Mein Kampf and has produced a short film in which scenes of 9/11 are interspersed with quotations from the Koran. His intended visit to Britain was in response to an invitation from a member of the House of Lords to show his film there. In the Home Secretary's view that would “pose a genuine, present and significantly serious threat to one of the fundamental interests of society - community harmony and therefore public safety.” But what about another “fundamental interest of society” - freedom of speech? If the House of Lords is in such a state of dissatisfaction with society that it can be roused to threatening public safety by a provocative film then its reform is more urgent that had previously been thought.