These poor desperate people need kindness not red tape | Emma Kay

Imagine what it is like to feel your life unravel like a tumultuous ball of wool amid the atrocities of war.

By Emma Kay
Tuesday, 22nd March 2022, 4:07 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd March 2022, 4:07 pm

Ukrainian determination has pushed their country to the forefront of world news.

Ukraine will forever be remembered as a ferociously brave nation facing a threat no Ukrainian deserves. Everyone around the world can see it, except in Russia. So many horror stories captured on phones. Never has a war been so documented by people other than journalists.

The world watches through a horrified lens at war crimes happening first-hand. The evidence is mounting and the need for these brave people to find safety is increasing.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

HOMELESS: People rest in a special room for refugees at a railway station in Lviv, western Ukraine. Picture: Yuriy Dyachyshyn / AFP/Getty Images

Yet, at the time of writing, our government’s initial response to accepting refugees compared to some other nations does, at times, make me feel ashamed to be British; tangling up applications in as much red tape as possible making applying for a visa as simple as baking a cake underwater.

The paperwork, expected by the UK for Ukrainians, mainly women and children, has more fences than the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The steps they have to go through are ludicrous, cold-hearted.

Those wanting a visa must create an account, upload proof of a qualifying family in Britain, upload proof of Ukrainian residency and show evidence of how they are related to their family in Britain or explain why they cannot provide said evidence. Documents must be translated perfectly into English with zero mistakes. They must book an appointment, through social media, to attend a specific centre in France, Hungary, Poland, Moldova or Romania to take a biometric test.

The need for a TB vaccination certification has been waived, though many are being asked for one anyway. All this from desperate people, many fleeing missiles that have destroyed their homes along with the very paperwork we are demanding to see.

This is the hostility shown to those who dare seek refuge here. A since-deleted tweet suggests fleeing Ukrainians could apply to be fruit-pickers. How embarrassing!

Humanity is the priority not making people jump through hoops and lose hope.


Scented felt tip pens are a must-have for any classroom or learning environment. These fragrant additions to my pencil case have proved popular among pupils of all ages. An apple-scented essay is far more fun than a bland page of notes.

I have also started to hunt for the old scratch and sniff stickers that were peppered on exercise books in the ’80s. Sadly, they are not easy to obtain these days. They should be brought back.

Even older pupils enjoy ‘scentive’ incentives. People need motivation more than ever after the pandemic. As we mature most of us become intrinsically motivated but children still need to learn that process. What better than something a little silly and sensory?


Rod Stewart posted a video on Instagram after buying some fingerless gloves, a glaringly yellow hi-vis vest and a lorryload of gravel to plug potholes that plague his street in Harlow.

His gallant action is his response to the lack of action from his local council. This direct action is a welcome emergence of a celebrity highlighting something that blights all our lives. Sometimes, tiny actions can make a massive dent in the humdrum of daily lives.

Rod’s using his influence to shame Essex County Council into confronting the problem, though their first response was about the ‘risk’ of such actions. Our Portsmouth potholes could definitely do with the Rod treatment!

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron.

Subscribe here for unlimited access to all our coverage, including Pompey, for just 26p a day.