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[Readings]

MAGA Carta

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From a video recorded in October 2020 by a shopkeeper in Liverpool, England, documenting an encounter with local police officers.

shopkeeper: Can I help you?

officer 1: The area’s not open today.

shopkeeper: It’s open.

officer 1: Have you been told you’ve got to be shut?

shopkeeper: No.

officer 1: You’ve no guidance on that?

shopkeeper: No.

officer 1: You’ve not seen any government guides on that?

shopkeeper: Why are you here?

officer 1: We’re here because someone reported you being open when you shouldn’t be.

shopkeeper: Would you leave? I don’t want to enter into any contract with you.

officer 1: The contract being?

shopkeeper: I don’t want to enter into any contract, sir.

officer 1: I’m not really sure what you’re talking about.

shopkeeper: Do you want to read that sign on the door, then, please?

officer 2: No. Just summarize it for us, please.

shopkeeper: It’s Article 61 of the Magna Carta.

officer 2: The Magna Carta obviously didn’t know about COVID-19, did it?

shopkeeper: Would you read it?

officer 2: I’m aware of the Magna Carta. I’ve been and seen the original documents. But obviously we’re in a little bit of a pandemic at the moment.

shopkeeper: Are we?

officer 2: Yeah.

shopkeeper: I don’t think so.

officer 2: Scientists—

shopkeeper: What scientists in particular?

officer 1: We’re not getting into a back-and-forth over scientists. It’s current regulation that shops should be shut.

shopkeeper: Sir, I appreciate you. But as I said, I don’t consent, and I don’t wish to enter into any sort of contract with you.

officer 1: What sort of contract?

shopkeeper: What am I? What do you see me as? Am I a man?

officer 1: If you identify as a man, you’re a man.

shopkeeper: I am a man. Therefore, I don’t wish to enter into any sort of contract with you, sir.

officer 1: You’re not making any sense to me, mate.

shopkeeper: Would you like a cup of tea?

officer 1: I’m all right, thank you. I’ve just had one. Do you plan to remain open?

shopkeeper: We will be staying open.

officer 1: So you’re adhering to all the social-distancing regulations?

shopkeeper: I’ve got nothing to say.

officer 1: Okay. Thanks for your time.

shopkeeper: Do you want to read that sign before you go?

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February 2021