A timely reminder
Yesterday marked 20 years since the Chinese army gunned down hundreds, if not thousands of its own people in Tiananmen Square, Beijing.
I watched the BBC's coverage with great interest as the event back in 1989 had a really big effect on my teenage self. As a 14 year-old I was just getting into music, girls and going out but the Chinese fight for democracy in their capital was perhaps the first time I felt I was consciously witnessing history in the making and when it ended in mass bloodshed the first time that got a real sense of the terrible injustice and cruelty man can inflict on itself.
As the various survivors talked about the horrible events of June 4 and Kate Adie described their 20 years of exile, harassment and persecution it made me think about how lucky I am.
The political system in the UK has come under strong criticism in recent weeks with the expenses scandal, the electorate's seeming inexorable increasing apathy and powerlessness.
But as I watched the programme about Kate Adie's return to China, thought about my recent trip to China and how despite the massive increase in material wealth that some of the people in the country how politically powerless the were I noticed my polling card on my coffee table.
I always try and vote, even in local elections as these are. But that polling card reminded me that no matter how bleak it can seem in Britain at times I can always cast my vote to get someone elected and if necessary stand myself.