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Stop MLAs' pay until Assembly restored

So the "deadline" for sorting out the mess at Stormont has been put back a third time and we are to have another General Election. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

An announcement by the Secretary of State that he can find a way of stopping the salaries of MLAs, their political assistants and special advisers at Stormont (who are paid from the public purse) until we have a functioning local Assembly, would go a long way to cheering me up.

Schools and the NHS, despite heroic efforts by staff, are in real difficulties - as are most public services. Teachers and nurses can't traipse daily in front of TV cameras to say how difficult their jobs are; they don't get paid if they withdraw their labour.

It is so tedious to watch party leaders and their grim-faced supporters telling us on news bulletins how they can't work together. Don't pay them until they can.

When we do have to vote again, perhaps a supplementary box could be added to the bottom of ballot papers, below candidates' names, with an opportunity to vote for "none of the above".

That might be a popular choice for many voters.



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