The Casual Vacancy – #6

My sixth post about The Casual Vacancy. It is now Wednesday, three days after Barry Fairbrother’s death. We are starting to see that Barry, as a Councillor, was on one side of a vast debate about the removal of a housing complex called the Fields. Howard Mollison, was on the opposing side, trying to rezone the town to remove the Fields, and give the complex to Yarvil District Council, instead of Pagford. With Barry’s death, a Casual Vacancy (hence the title) has occurred, and someone will have to fill his place. It seems like we have the likely contenders, Miles Mollison and Colin Wall, but this story is not just about the vacancy, it is about much more than that. It’s about rich versus poor, as the human reality of the Fields, is beginning to get lost in the politics, and those who need help, aren’t getting it.

Wednesday

I

  • Krystal Weedon didn’t go home on Monday and Tuesday, after a bad fight with her mum, which seemed to be about those boxes we saw when Kay came to visit, which apparently were holding computers, but Krystal would prefer they didn’t hold other people’s belongings for them, especially when it might be stolen (maybe a rash, bigoted assumption), when Krystal just doesn’t want her mother to have money
  • Oh, Krystal stole Tessa’s watch, I don’t understand why though, is it not possible for her to not steal, or is there something I’m missing
  • Terri was paid for holding the computers with heroin, which is why Kay found it when she was there
  • Krystal, poor Krystal, no wonder she is angry
  • Terri doesn’t seem that bad when she is clean, but I can feel Krystal’s disappointment that things weren’t good for Kay’s visit
  • Krystal is almost the parent in the family, having to clean the place up and sort everyone out
  • Is having a social worker that cares, a bad thing?
  • How terrible that the one place Krystal has felt accepted, is crumpling away because Barry has died, hopefully she can keep with the rowing team, and keep feeling accepted by her peers. They need a new coach, and Krystal doesn’t seem confident they will get one
  • Is the stealing to remind her of the people she likes?
  • I can see that this story is becoming more about Krystal and the effect of Barry’s death on her life, than it is about an election, someone will replace him on the Council, but who will replace him for Krystal?
  • Kay is back for another visit, good to see that she is actually trying as a social worker
  • Krystal is so desperate to keep her family together, even if it is a dysfunctional one, I almost see her as a better person than Fats, who hates his parents for a completely different reason, but he couldn’t care less if the family was split apart
  • So it is the methadone that makes Terri tolerable
  • Kay has really kicked up a storm, and now she doesn’t see Terri as fit to keep Robbie, and she warns Terri that a token effort when she got him back is not good enough, so they are going to have to have another case review
  • Kay seems like she really does want to help, and she lays out the facts, and urges Terri to own up at the clinic and take responsibility to show her commitment to the program, and this advice, is foreign to Terri, she has only known to lie to people, and Kay has given her something new, and has told her that if she doesn’t change Robbie will be taken
  • I actually like Kay now, more than I did, I felt sorry for her earlier about Gavin, but now I see that it is Gavin that I should feel sorry for, because he doesn’t see that Kay is a good person, and if he doesn’t love her, he should let her go. Kay is just the change the Weedon’s need

II

  • Does volunteering make Shirley feel special?
  • She did it to meet the Queen? And also get the gossip, not really the most selfless intentions
  • I wonder if Howard knows about Shirley’s ‘unfavourable’ upbringing, or does she keep that secret from him
  • Aubrey Fawley, I forgot about him
  • Ruth and Shirley, unexpected friends
  • Shirley really does hate Sam and thinks Miles only married her because she was pregnant, and it was the ‘right and honourable’ thing to do
  • Ruth shares Shirley’s hatred of Sam, for a different reason, envy
  • Simon wants to run for Councillor! So it will be Simon v Miles v Colin!
  • Simon just wants the bribes he thinks that Barry got
  • He was born in the Fields, which means Howard won’t be happy with him, though would get get any votes?
  • ‘How you put your name forward’? What does that mean. Shirley isn’t running, does she mean support, not sure

III

  • I think that teacher thought that teaching might have been easier and less stressful
  • So Fats could be doing well but chooses not to, I don’t understand that, if you can do something, why waste it?
  • Oh, poor Sukhvinder!
  • Fats you disgraceful bigoted ARSEHOLE! Don’t you ever make fun of people. You are a cowardly pigfaced bully! How dare you post pictures and comments on Sukhvinder’s facebook page, and make rude comments straight to her face
  • Andrew, I know it is hard to do this to a friend, but you have to tell him that bullying is not okay
  • You made her cry, Fats you are a bastard (may be true too)
  • Really, a teacher should be able to comfort a pupil, and touch them, overprotective laws
  • Whole class in detention, I doubt it!
  • Wallah and peanut? Those nicknames make no sense
  • Bit unfair for them to cop the blame, when they did nothing, but Fats really does deserve punishment

I’m really quite glad that JK Rowling has included bullying and cyber bullying in this ‘section’ and that it may be developed later in the story, because it is an issue that needs addressing, and I want to make a few, fully fledged comments here too. I don’t think people need to be told what cyber bullying is, and everyone knows bullying, we’ve all see it, and heck, we’ve all experienced it at least at some point in our lives, I have, and I’m sure you have too. One thing that annoys me is the lack of understanding that some of the older members of the community have for cyber bullying and even bullying in general (and I stress that this is some not all people). Some people seem to remember bullying as a way to ‘toughen kids up’ to ‘teach them lessons about life’ and that ‘it never did me any harm’. That may be true, that to you, bullying never did you any harm. You were in fights, and that was it. I can’t talk about what it was like in the ‘old days’ when the internet wasn’t around, I’ve grown up with it, so I have no idea what school was like back then, and I believe that you were more likely to get bullied by teachers with canes and other implements than you might have been from other students. Times have changed, the internet has been a major part of that. Name calling and teasing has always been a part of growing up, there have always been bullies, and there have always been kids that get picked on, usually because they don’t fit in, or a different. But now, kids can’t escape it, and Sukhvinder is a prime example of it, when Fats sends rude pictures to her, just because she isn’t like the other girls. Some of the older generations may just say, well you can just turn it off, you don’t need facebook or phones or whatever. And that may be true, we could just turn it off. But though facebook or mobile phones may be a source of bullying, it is also the way everyone communicates these days, its the way to keep up with what’s going on with your friends, and to let them know what your doing too. So kids don’t want to turn it off.

For some reason, all the media coverage, seminars in schools, lectures, and numerous examples of when bullying (both online and in person) have gone too far, and have had serious repercussions for the bully, and for those bullied, including suicide, nothing has worked. Maybe it is ingrained in teenagers and children, to bully, to pick on those who are seen to be weaker, who are different, and the computer provides an ‘anonymous’ way to attack them, without having to see them, without having to see the impact of what you are saying, without having to face them. But I don’t see why bullying has to remain a thing that happens. All kids get bullied to some degree, but there are those that are always picked on. Now the best advice is usually to ignore them, they are a bunch of idiots anyway, so who cares what they think. But when you are constantly worn down but such derogatory and degrading comments, ignoring it is not an option. And talking about it with someone isn’t easy, and sometimes it seems to make things worse, but the bullies need to find out that it is not okay, and they need to be punished. I don’t know what would stop a bully, I don’t understand how their minds work. I have to admit that I’ve said hurtful things to people, we all have, but I feel remorse about saying them, some bullies, don’t seem to ever show responsibility for their actions.

Bullying is such an important issue, and I’m glad JK has included it, but I hope to see something come from Fats bullying, I hope to see him learn his lesson, I hope to see Sukhvinder find out that she isn’t hated, she isn’t ugly and that she is who she is, and everyone else can get stuffed. But I will have to wait and see. I just hope that everyone in the real world, realises that bullying is the worst thing you can do to someone. You don’t know what saying that one mean comment about someone might do to them, you might think it is just innocent, and a bit of fun, but to them, it could make their lives hell, and may end up causing them to commit suicide. So think before you say things, and seriously, if you hear someone saying something or know someone is bullying someone else, you are a brave person to stand up and tell them that that is not okay. More people need to do it, the worst thing you can do is standby and let it happen, and I know it is hard, but it’s the best thing you can do to show that person that you don’t think it is right for them to bully. I just hope that one day, we won’t have to worry about our kids getting bullied, and they can live in a world, where differences are accepted, are respected, and almost celebrated. Being different, is awesome! You don’t need to be like everyone else, we are all special, and if other’s can’t see how special you are, then that is their issue.

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3 thoughts on “The Casual Vacancy – #6

  1. You wrote an excellent argument against bullying, but Fats is just laughing you off. He’s trying to “achieve a state of amoral grace, and be baptized backwards into ignorance and simplicity” and you’re “displaying an attachment to the kind of morality against which Fats was waging an increasingly determined war”.

  2. Oh, of course. Of course. I couldn’t agree with you more. I’ve spent so much time pointing out the holes in his philosophy, when Rowling doesn’t do it for me.

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