Like a vampire with its victim in a 1960s Hammer Horror film, Brexit continues to suck the life out of politics and society.
It is not as though we don’t have other problems to worry about. Homelessness has doubled since 2010, while in the same period real wages have flatlined. The housing crisis continues, local government cuts continue to bite at local services.
And Russia continues as a threat to the UK, while billionaire Russian oligarchs continue to trade freely in the City of London, as my colleagues on the Foreign Affairs Committee reported last week.
Yet everything is Brexit and more Brexit. The subject is obsessing the ideological Brexit extremists in the government who are holding the Prime Minister to ransom, so that they can get their preferred harshest form of Brexit through.
One result of this is that there are very few votes in the Commons at present.
When a Bill passes through Parliament, the same text must be agreed by both houses. So, once we in the Commons have passed it, the Bill goes to the Lords, who can then amend it. These Lords amendments then come back to the Commons, and we must accept or reject the changes.
If we reject the changes, the Lords must vote again, and the process of passing the Bill between the two houses is known as ‘ping-pong.’ The convention is that the Lords will not endlessly ignore the Commons and will eventually defer to the Commons as the elected chamber.
That’s where we are with Brexit, with the Lords having passed 16 amendments which the Commons must also agree. But the government cannot be sure of a majority so is not tabling the Lords’ changes for debate.
The question of the Irish border is one problem: if we are not in a customs union with the rest of the EU then there will need to be border checks in Northern Ireland, but this runs contrary to the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to the Northern Ireland conflict. I am appalled that for some, Brexit is more important than the peace deal.
The big manufacturers around Chester, like Airbus, Vauxhall, and Toyota, all need a customs union to maintain their supply chains and not add billions in costs. These companies bring jobs and wealth to our area, so we can’t ignore their needs.
Brexit at all costs is not an option for me. A deal that risks manufacturing jobs and peace is not acceptable. But currently, we are just twiddling our thumbs and waiting for the government to make its mind up.