It sometimes takes other people's adversity to make you realise how lucky you are. Today I am feeling lucky to be a citizen of the UK.
A couple of weeks ago we had the chance to vote in European elections and in local elections. For a variety of reasons I chose not to; I still have my unposted ballot papers. I may not be enamoured with the choice of candidates we had, and the behaviour of many UK polititians recently has been nothing to write home about
(at least not positively). That said, I have never voted in an election and worried that my vote might not be counted or that others may get more than one bite of the cherry. Having worked in the past both as presiding officer (the manager of a polling station) and as a ballot counter, I have every confidence that results published here are exactly as they should be.
Sadly, it seems that not everyone around the world can have the same confidence. In Iran at the moment there is substantial evidence to suggest that the results of the recent election are not true.
So, it may sound odd but, thanks to the people of Iran for making me realise how lucky I am. Good luck in your struggle for democracy. Hopefully we will one day see a situation where you can afford to be as blasé about your vote as I was. Sadly it seems, that is not today.
My friend Mehdi
is covering the Iranian situation, you might like to take a look at his blog.
to see some photos of the Iranian protests that have been published in the UK.