When she arrived at Lincoln Drill Hall for BBC1’s Question Time last Thursday, Rachel Bull took a seat towards the back of the audience, never imagining that she would speak during the live television debate.
At first, 35-year-old Mrs Bull listened quietly to the panellists discussing issues such as the future of the High Street and the scandal of supermarket burgers contaminated with horse meat.
But when the topic shifted to immigration in her family’s home town, Boston in Lincolnshire, she found she could remain silent no longer.
After hearing Cambridge University professor Mary Beard airily dismissing claims that migrant workers were overwhelming the market town, office manager Mrs Bull almost leapt from her seat, waving her hand frantically in the air until she caught the attention of presenter David Dimbleby.
‘Boston is at breaking point. All the locals can’t cope any more,’ she said, her voice trembling with emotion and outrage. ‘You go down to Boston High Street and it’s just like you’re in a foreign country. It’s got to stop. The services are at breaking point.’
When she finally finished speaking, there was a moment’s silence and then rapturous applause.
In less than a minute, this ordinary working mother had given a snapshot picture of a town at the end of its tether and voiced the fears of huge swathes of the population.
After the show had finished, audience members were still feting Mrs Bull like a heroine, shaking her hand and congratulating her for daring to speak out about the lasting impact of mass immigration.
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