Have you ever got obsessed about something pointless? From my experience, it is usually a side issue in your life. Someone scratching your car or a perceived injustice that doesn’t seem important in the long run.

How weird then to find our whole country trapped by the obsessive hamster wheel of Brexit debates that never find a resolution. Round and round we go – and how many citizens of York are better off for it?

The real problem is that the whole Brexit project was sold in such diverse ways. To some it offered a chance to take a pop at the establishment that had cut their public services to the bone.

Millions of people’s life chances had worsened, creating an understandable desire to send a message of defiance to the ‘establishment’.

For others, immigration justified leaving the EU. For many there were notions of ‘taking back control’, expressed by promises of ‘sovereignty’. How painfully ironic then that the Brexit envisioned by Theresa May’s ‘deal’ offers nothing but subservience to EU institutions we no longer have a say in.

Well, they say be careful what you wish for.

Personally, I wish we could talk about more pressing matters in our fine city. And in the world at large.

Here are a few of things I would love to be debating if we weren’t bogged down by Brexit.

First off, a young person I know, an apprentice electrician, often grumbles how he will never be able to afford to get on the housing ladder, even after he has qualified. His evidence? The highly skilled, impressive guy who is mentoring and training him can only afford to rent, despite being at the top of his game and having a young family to support. The problem is that York house prices are sky high while affordable, secure tenancies are not available.

Why are we not debating that? Personally I am sick of the mainly younger citizens of York being denied access to decent housing when they wish to start and bring up their families. Let alone single people who wish to live with dignity struggling to find a home.

Or how about the real issue of our age? Not Brexit, which is mere politics, but the looming inevitability of climate disaster.

This is both a global and local question. Meanwhile, the government’s record on fracking and cutting subsidies for renewable energy is beyond irresponsible. If the respected scientists cited by the UN’s recent IPPC report giving mankind 12 years to avoid a rise in world temperatures by 2 per cent since industrialisation are correct (and many scientists believe they underestimate the true crisis) we must act today.

Locally, councillors on City of York Council have voted almost unanimously in favour of declaring a climate emergency, also to make York carbon neutral by 2030. That is much to be applauded. But only if intentions are matched by concrete, road-mapped steps to achieve this ambitious target.

Public trust in politicians from all parties is justifiably low. To win our faith back, they must actually make things happen on the ground. Likewise, they must honestly measure the effectiveness of their policies and report back to us, the people who entrust them with power, so we can judge if they are meeting our society’s needs.

Brexit is distracting us from too many problems already impacting on people’s lives. I, for one, am deeply alarmed by years of deliberate underfunding of our NHS and social care systems as the government quietly manoeuvres those life-saving public services towards privatisation. Yet how often is this creeping process even highlighted, let alone debated?

Sometimes it feels our country is led by a greedy, incompetent elite fit only for kicking balls into open goals. As soon as they face issues of real magnitude, they retreat behind waffle and misinformation, leaving the rest of us to deal with the mess.

Their instinct seems to be protecting their own interests, even at the nation’s expense. The whole Brexit obsession cannot be resolved soon enough. Then those creating austerity Britain might have nowhere left to hide.