Will Gatti & Daniel Finn


Who’s a Selfish Giant then?

Walls. I know I said ‘giant’ but it’s walls that set me thinking. We were always good at walls. Not as good as the Chinese, of course. They built one so long you can see it from Mars, if you happen to be going there. But generally, over here, we’re good at them, not the wattle and daub variety for holding up a thatched roof full of mice and spiders but the stone ones.

In my view they were an import from Europe, though, technically speaking, I don’t suppose we should call William the Conqueror a European; he was a Norman with a rubbish haircut. But he and his chainmail-crew were big into walls, great big castle walls to be precise. They splattered them all over the country to keep those Anglo-Saxons, that’s us, out. It must have been pretty scary having one of those castles suddenly looming up over the little town you lived in all your life.

I don’t think that idea – the great wall to keep ‘them’ out and us in – has really ever gone away. You can even, if you fancy, have a posh wall now with an electric gate.

Most countries have a wall around them, not made of stone, but the wall is there all the same and you can’t get in, even if there are wolves biting at your heels, unless you have a magic pass that will let you through the door, in other words, a passport.

I’ve never been to Israel so I don’t know how you get through their wall. You can see that one alright. It snakes through the country, no windows or doors and so tall there is no peeking over it either. It makes me think of Oscar Wilde’s brilliant story, ‘The Selfish Giant’.

Maybe our politicians should read it. Who knows, they might even learn something.