In 1975 Seamus Heaney wrote ‘Whatever you say, say nothing’, that, as many will remember was a different time and a different type of say nothing. 
However it seems that we have taken Heaney’s sentiment to our hearts and that time of silence has trained us to be just that, silent. 
As I write this we have had 522 days without a government in Stormont, 522 days where our MLAs have received payment for being MLAs, when not being MLAs. 
I don’t deny that many good politicians have been busy doing constituency work and other laudable things. But they have not been MLAs. This might not directly be their individual fault but it is their collective responsibility to fix it. It is said that an MLAs job is 70 per cent constituency work 30 per cent legislative. If that is the case why have we continued to pay people for not doing at least 30 per cent of their job? I know if I didn’t do 30 per cent of my job I wouldn’t get paid for it and I work for an organisation I established. 
We have moved on from 1975, however, it seems like we as a community have got so use to ‘them’ taking care of it and ‘us’ having no power we are just allowing this stalemate to continue.
Democracy survives on accountability but that relationship only works if we hold those we place in positions of power to account. 
For the first six months of our failed government FactCheckNI estimated that MLAs and office holders - yes, some still receive increased payments for holding office positions that are not even in position - received £2,333,188 in salaries. This has now risen to £5,832,970. 
Even if we take the fact that MLAs do 70 per cent of their work outside Stormont at a minimum we have gifted them £1,749,891 since they took up their posts. I can think of many other deserving places for that money; health care, local schools, road infrastructure, community and arts development. The list could go on. And this does not take into account the social and economic damage done to the North because of a lack of a functioning government.
What saddens me most though is how much we have accepted the status-quo. We will only get better when we demand better. We have come through some very tough times and we have had leaders that took great risks, leaders that stepped way out of their comfort zones and saw the bigger picture. That is what we need now. 
My fear however is that not only do we not have those leaders in today’s political establishment. We can’t have them, given our current political system. We need the politics of forward thinking not backward looking. We deserve politicians who seek solutions not see problems and we should have the courage to demand this of them. 
On August 28 - two months from today - we will be the longest functioning democracy without a government. It is time we said enough is enough. This is not about the colour of your flag it is about the colour of our money. 
We deserve better, we should demand better and dare I paraphrase Heaney’s great words, ‘Whatever you say, say something’ and keep saying it.