Brexit & the Beautician: The Unlikeliest EU Champion

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 7/09/2016 03:13:00 PM
Brexit's aftermath has literally had everything, from Tinky Winky to a hairdresser being the UK's would-be savior.
You couldn't make it up. It makes the [political drama] House of Cards look like the Teletubbies - Conservative MP Nigel Evans.

The  utterly misguided outcome of the UK referendum on remaining in the EU has revealed the true colors of a large collection of heroes, rogues, opportunists and others. Amid once-in-a-lifetime market swings, the character of any number of individuals is becoming evident. For instance, crass opportunism, backstabbing and betrayal have characterized the race to succeed outgoing PM David Cameron, the [pardon the language] dingbat who has roiled the global economy in his efforts to keep his party from "banging on about Europe."

Odious characters are found on both the government side--Cameron, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and so on--and the opposition side--the Labour "leader" Jeremy Corbyn who refuses to resign despite almost all support for him having disappeared among the party's MPs. (His non-effort to get his traditionally pro-EU party to vote "Remain" was the last straw for many.) So many bad guys, so little time.

In a recent post, I have raised the legitimate legal question of proceeding with Article 50--the formal process of leaving the EU--without parliament voting to proceed. Article 50 refers to leaving being possible "in accordance with its own constitutional requirements". The UK, of course, has a common law tradition:
Britain’s lack of a ‘written’ constitution can be explained by its history. [T]he British Constitution has evolved over a long period of time, reflecting the relative stability of the British polity. It has never been thought necessary to consolidate the basic building blocks of this order in Britain. What Britain has instead is an accumulation of various statutes, conventions, judicial decisions and treaties which collectively can be referred to as the British Constitution. It is thus more accurate to refer to Britain’s constitution as an ‘uncodified’ constitution, rather than an ‘unwritten’ one.
Among the key principles here is that parliament is sovereign:
It has been suggested that the British Constitution can be summed up in eight words: What the Queen in Parliament enacts is law. This means that Parliament, using the power of the Crown, enacts law which no other body can challenge. Parliamentary sovereignty is commonly regarded as the defining principle of the British Constitution. This is the ultimate lawmaking power vested in a democratically elected Parliament to create or abolish any law.   
Now, who would you expect to be first to point this out to Conservative lawmakers who intend to circumvent parliamentary deliberation on triggering Article 50 by making the [incoming] prime minister do the deed? Big law firms, perhaps? Actually, the first challenger is--as the title suggests--a hairdresser by the name of Deir Dos Santos:
A U.K. man, described by his lawyer as an “ordinary guy,” filed the first lawsuit seeking to slow Brexit through the courts.

The bid for a judicial review contends that Parliament, not the prime minister alone, must vote to trigger Article 50, which starts the two-year process to leave the European Union, said Dominic Chambers, a lawyer working on the case. Judge Ross Cranston will hold a hearing July 19 to set a timetable for the proceedings.

“The purpose of a judicial review is to correct the executive when they have gone wrong,” Chambers said Friday. “We say the executive will be abusing their powers if they give an Article 50 notification without the approval of Parliament.”
Some fanfare for the common man, please:
A spokesman for Cameron declined to immediately comment on the lawsuit. Chambers said he represents Deir Dos Santos, a U.K. hairdresser. Dos Santos "is just an ordinary guy," Chambers said. "If his rights are going to be taken away, he wants it done in a proper and lawful manner."
When push comes to shove, heroes emerge from the unlikeliest of places. The Brexiteers would like to make a non-binding, advisory referendum into something it is not. Worse, they disregard the huge number of folks who disagreed with them by reinventing parliamentary sovereignty by remaking it into prime ministerial authority:
Oliver Letwin, the minister overseeing preparation for the exit negotiations, told lawmakers July 5 that the prime minister is responsible for starting the exit process, rather than Parliament, citing advice from government lawyers. Those comments prompted the first challenges in what could grow to a wave of lawsuits, Chambers said.
This looks like a legal battle that's set to run and run. Remember, though, who had the guts to be the first in line to contest this nonsense. Whoever Deir Dos Santos is, sensible people the world over are in his debt. In the end, it doesn't take any special insight to figure out that leaving the EU is akin to self-inflicted harm of the highest magnitude.

Let Deir Dos Santos show us the way.