It's easy to forget, but Britain remains a beacon of democracy throughout the world. Election fever may mean that we sometimes get caught up in the tribal intensity of party politics. But it is worth stepping back from the hurly burly of the hustings to remember the essential freedom that we realise when we put a tick on a piece of paper and place it in an old-fashioned black box.

Our politicians may inspire or divide us, we may agree with their policies or we may hold them in contempt, but even if - or perhaps because - we struggle to predict the outcome we all share something that will unite us on the other side of the election - whatever our politics. We all enjoy a freedom to vote according to our conscience and to express our views openly and without fear of sanction. Not everyone in the world can say that. In Britain we can.