There was a standing ovation inside and strident protests outside as Theresa May launched the Conservative Party manifesto in Yorkshire.
In a converted mill at the immense former Crossley’s Carpets site at Dean Clough in Halifax the Prime Minister outlined her policies in the run-up to the General Election on June 8.
She spoke of Britain as “a great meritocracy” – a country where everyone of whatever background can take the opportunity to go as far as their talent and hard work will take them.
And paraphrasing John F Kennedy she said it meant a country “that asks not where you have come from, but where you are going to.”
With Cabinet colleagues looking on Mrs May presented a portrait of the kind of country she wanted Britain to be post-Brexit. She urged voters to look forward, not back, and to buy into the notion that exiting Europe doesn’t mean isolation and a brain-drain of talent.
“We need to make the most of all the talent in this country,” she said, emphasising what she called “this precious union” and calling for “a new contract between government and people.”
To an audience of supporters and journalists the Prime Minister promised a prosperous future with a modern industrial strategy, a higher National Living Wage and proper rights and protections in the workplace.
She pledged that a future Tory government would keep taxes low, cap rip-off energy tariffs and help aspirational people by building more affordable homes.
And in a reference to the National Health Service she said there would be “the most ambitious programme of investment in technology and buildings the NHS has ever seen.”
There was a firm focus on Brexit. Mrs May said Britain could not be half-in and half-out, “so we will leave the European Union and take control of our money, our borders and our laws.”
The “real prize”, she stressed, was a stronger, fairer, more prosperous Britain.
In launching the manifesto in Halifax, a marginal seat in which sitting Labour MP Holly Lynch holds a majority of just 428, Mrs May said she was reaching out to ordinary families weary of political idealogies and grand visions.
“They do not ask for much,” she said. “They just want to get on with their lives and understand that politicians who aspire to lead must do the same.”
Outside protesters, including one dressed as a dalek, chanted “May out! Corbyn in!” and waved placards protesting about cuts to the NHS.