Whether you have the right to vote in next week's Townfield by-election or not, and even if bothering to vote is the last thing on your mind, spare a thought for the people of Zimbabwe.
NOT everyone in the borough will be aware there is a council byelection next week in the Townfield ward of Hayes, but we'd all agree our precious democracy should never be taken for granted.
Am I being over dramatic,inappropriate or insensitive,to link our little poll with the terrible goings on in Zimbabwe, where a dictator has forced a sham election in which he was (laughably) the only candidate?
We are quick to put our country down, yet are envied by people all over the world for our right to question anything - from mad cow disease or the plethora of CCTV cameras to the possibility of 42 days' detention, or even how our politicians spend their pocket money.
Imagine the Zimbabweans being able to attack Mugabe like we have criticised Gordon Brown recently; try to picture being deprived of food and shelter,never mind a free vote,by our own leaders.
Whatever our political persuasions, we know our secret ballot really does decide who wins elections, be they local, European or national.
Even the powerful Ken Livingstone couldn't insist he was staying on as London Mayor after he lost the vote.And he,like us, wouldn't have had it any other way.
I don't live in Hayes, but next Thursday I will make a point of remembering that only a few miles down the road, people won't have to stain their fingers red to prove they have voted. Or be stained with their own blood if they don't.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE: You will be as intrigued as me to discover that a Hillingdon Council officer who recently left the borough was, and still is, a performing member of the New Seekers.
Although he doesn't date as far back as 1971, when their hit single I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing appeared, the established line up for tours in 2006 and 2007 consisted of: Paul Layton, Donna Jones, Francine Rees, Mick Flynn and Mark Hankins, Hillingdon Council's former community safety officer.
I saw Mr Hankins at many a council meeting over the years. Oh, if only I had known.
LAST WORD: In answer to all those jokers who remembered my first B-m@il when I wrote about Nelson Mandela: no, I wasn't invited to his recent 90th birthday bash.
THIS week and every week, BARBARA FISHER looks at issues that affect us all - the issues that get you talking. You can join in by emailing barbarafisher@ trinitysouth.co.uk