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Apologies for going off-topic right out of the gate, but there is a new YouGov poll out:

Con 39 (+1)
Lab 32 (n/c)
LD 17 (+1)

Thanks Alastair but please post these breaking news stories on the Homepage in future! I got all excited for a moment that someone wanted to discuss compassionate conservatism!!

Of course Tim, but nobody actually reads the Homepage this late in the day you know! ;o)

At the risk of being on-topic for once:

America can teach us lots of things, and the first thing it can teach us is that we need a better name than "Compassionate Conservatism". I can't see anyone taking the term seriously. It sounds like a teddy bear's convention.

"Civic conservatism" would be alright, I suppose, but it sounds too much like something to do with town halls. "Welfare conservatism" might do it, although it could be misunderstood as a grand crusade to check even more money on the bonfire of social security.

Do I sense another CH competition in the offing?

Chad was right about one thing last week... we're much keener to talk about a logo for the party and opinion polls and dareIsay a different name for compassionate conservatism than we are actually willing to think about the meaning of compassionate conservatism.

You are right, too, though William. We need a better name than compassionate conservatism. IDS always talks about social justice.

Some elderly night owls who dont have to go to work Mondays read the Home page at this hour. No,America doesnt get everything right,but there is a "can do" philosophy about Americans, which gets things done, even though they do go right over the top at times.We could use some of this. I agree with William. A little naming competition would be useful. Its just that Compassionate Conservatism is such a mouthful.

Point taken, Annabel.

Not sure I agree with some of the specific examples posted, but the thrust of the post makes sense. The US has always been the world's "soc-science lab", with such a vast range of different public structures (govt and non-govt). All sorts of innovative policies and institutions can be found there if you look.

The same, of course, can be said about Europe - the problem is so few people speak the languages, so much gets overlooked. In particular, Spain has a lot to teach us about running proper public services on minimal budgets, and the Swedes and Dutch tend to have pretty effective policies on a whole range of issues.

How about 'Responsible Conservatism'? The State is responsible to provide a safety net, while people are responsible to do their best to be financially independent.

You're right Andrew about the danger of overlooking European ideas because of the language problem - see this in last week's New Statesman.

Which could be abbreviated to 'ResponCon', or if you want to stick with the Compasionate Conservative label 'CommCon'.

For God's sake, don't use "Compassionate Conservatism"! No one here in the US cares at all about it and most find the phrase, at least, to be a joke.

This silly slogan suggests that conservatism as a philosophy somehow is NOT compassionate, and that it needs a bit of re-working to make it so. Taken to libertarian extremes, it isn't very compassionate, of course, though few politicians here or there are in that extreme.

In reality, conservatism's *opposite* philosophy is by nature not truly compassionate. It's simply generous with hard-working people's money, which they give to their friendly interest groups.

So enough with the trite slogans. If voters everywhere can be convinced of conservatism's true genius, that's the real compassion.

Well i don't think for a UK audience its all that trite. i mean for really trite you have to go to Labour for such gems as 'Forward not Back' etc.
i must say that i think the big difference between a lot of conservatively minded Americans i have met while over there visiting my family and Conservative Party members over here in the UK is that in the US Christian beliefs back conservative attitudes in a more significant way than a secular conservatist ideology. there may well be a meeting of minds in things like low taxes , where economically we are bed fellows , but on social issues it is to the Bible rather than to the conservative texts and manifestos of the past that an American would be turning. this is just my impression of one area of America i know fairly well and probably isn't true across the board but i offer it as an observation.
And to be frank Stephen A , and i say this with sadness as a Christian myself, i think a great deal of this sort of conservatism is deeply uncompassionate.

Considerate Conservatism , perhaps...

........ also how about resurrecting the old 'One Nation' tag?

Or 'Open Conservatism' with a logo of embracing arms...

But heh, who needs compassion?
Did Maggie sort out the unions through compassion?
Was the economy revitalised with compassion?

No - it was Free Market economics.

So lets not worry. Getting the compassion into conservatism may be a holy grail, and the appearance of compassion on the part of DC may prove to be a winner with the public but in the end, in the words of that great overly (com)passionate man , Bill clinton himself , "it's the economy, stupid."

and with that i'm off to bed.

Whatever you do, do NOT USE COMPASSIONATE CONSERVATISM. The phrase is discredited over here in America, where, even in a room full of republicans, you're liable to get guffaws and much cheek. Quite frankly, altough the idea is good, Bush has screwed up the usage, and it'll be one more way for BBC/Guardian/raving-leftist-loonies to atack the Tories.

I don't understand how any of this differs from what conservatism always was? When did any of us not share the 'six leanings' written here?

I would very much agree with your post Tim.Not sure exactly how you think 'freer Charities 'would work in practice.More explanation needed here I think.
I'm supremely uninterested in logos and slogans (too much of that already on CH and within our party generally) but wonder whether we should go back to some of the ideas that were put forward by Douglas Hurd (I think) in the early '90's when he talked of 'active citizenship'ie taking responsibility for yourself ,your family,and ultimately your community.The idea was quietly dropped during the maelstrom of John Majors' government.


Ultimately Malcolm, Hurd's treatise on "taking responsibility" is exactly why I’m a Conservative and I’m sure that’s true of many others.

I think Cameron is trying to foster an agenda based on these ideas, indeed in his interview yesterday he referred to the family being the solution to many of the problems facing Britain. Increasingly I think the role of government will be a dividing line between Brown and Cameron.

David Banks hits the nail on the head with hsi comments about the US Evangelical community. That community is not only conservative in its thinking, but also tends to be somewhat compassionate, with a strong, faith-inspired belief in caring for and providing for others. "Compassionate conservatism" doesn't mean watering down conservative ideology - it means twinning it with a genuine commitment to help the needy in society. For a Republican, Bush has shown a very strong commitment to injecting funds into the public sector.

The title Compassionate Conservatism is only a badge.

The philosophies that underly the badge are quite specific and not necessarily what you would expect. It doesn't really matter too much what it's called.

Whatever name you use will be attacked - whether you use social justice, general wellbeing or any other.

Comp Cons is easier to defend than some as it sounds like a positive idea with some substance behind it, which it is.

Read the book Comp Cons, and the name becomes less relevant. Just hearing the name does not give the message. The message is interesting and powerful, and gives a new way of looking at the Cameron leadership.

The content of the book is worth discussing. The book Comp Cons could have beeen titled 'Human Life in The Age of Bureaucracy' or 'rediscovering humanity in the modern age'. Such titles explain how deep the thinking is, but they would be ridiculed.

Comp Cons is an easier phrase to hang it all on. It claims less than it offers, but is more easily defended as a result.

How about...

Traditional Conservatism?

Well it's progressive conservatism all the way for me. It is the fusion of traditional and modern. One day!

Of course we should learn from America but not America alone. As you know Tim, people like Randy Piper were pushing this fusion long before it raised any attention here.

You can create balance, by presenting policy in pairs that fuse the traditional with the conversion issues and that is certainly my goal, and does seem perfectly complimentary to the 'and' theory.

Lower taxes + redistribution etc.

I guess its association with me will stop you biting the bullet and becoming progcons! Mr Dale would explode at the very thought.

I would say though that one pair that is not complimentary and cannot be achieved simultaneously is using Bush's frame of 'compassionate conservatism' and distancing yourself from him at the same time.

I would vote to keep 'Compassionate Conservatism'! It was this title and the book by Marvin Olasky that convinced me to join the conservative cause!

I think the name came about, not because conservatives were ashamed with the party's history, or had the sense that conservatism was somehow NOT in the best interests of everybody, but that there was a very one-sided public image of Conservatives as people who cared about no one but themselves and their cronies.

I think compassion is the best word as it essentially means love, a divine sense of love, but a word which both the religious and humanists can understand as meaningful.

I would agree with Tim that it is more important to discuss the contents of a compassionate conservative programme, than it is to be overlyconcerned with branding issues.

In view of this, I think compassionate conservatives need advocates, who can articulate its central principles i.e. support for the individual through civil, rather than bureacratic, structures, so as to win over the public and also to stress how this is a new approach to fighting poverty that is markedly different from anything Labour and the LibDems have come up with.

"Caring Conservatism"? When and if the caring, compassionate, competent policies eventually emerge, perhaps the electorate or more likely the media will provide the most appropriate epithet. Let the policies speak for themselves.

Comp Cons is more a philosophy at this stage. Before it can become hard policy, it will need to build support and be generally understood.

Every time you find the law impinging on your life in ways that seem burdensome, that limit what you could have achieved or which invade your privacy, you should invoke the principles of compassionate consrvatism.

It is not that each bureaucratic measure taken in its own right cannot be justifified with political argument.

It is the totality of State power which has become so great that individuals are generally browbeaten into submission, and no longer wish to assume responsibilities, take risks or contribute to society.

All the emphasis has been on State intervention, the passing of laws and regulations as the way to improve society.

There is now a screaming need to stop that trend, to look away from what State power can achieve by issuing threats over its citizens, and get back and look at how and why people build organisations, networks, institutions and form social groups and take responsibility to help one another without the State playing any role at all.

If we don't rediscover what it is that makes humans want to function as a society and want to care for and help one another, the State will soon enough crush all semblance of civilised behaviour out of us. Our institutions will grind to a halt - as they are doing already, and life will become a total misery.

I hope I am not misrepresenting the sentiments behind Compassionate Conservatism. If I am, someone can come in and correct me soon enough. These issues are not window dressing.

There is probably no greater challenge facing the current generation than meeting the vastness and non-negotiability of State power and pushing it back to a point where we can function as human beings again.

The Conservative Party's beginning to address this monstrous challenge is what we call Compassionate Conservatism.

Well I don't know of a better set of themes for a centre-right party than Tim's above, though I would add the interconnectedness thing -- which you could sum up as "one nation", if we're looking for a tag.

Freeing up charities is the most untapped source of potential for the UK, don't you think (not disagreeing with any of the other objectives). Everywhere you take time to settle into, you find untold angels working against every conceivable state-induced blockage in order to improve the lives of their fellows. I was really pleased to hear David Cameron single out Surestart as the sort of scheme that would benefit were it to be liberated from the direction of the state.

I despair of this country getting serious about crime (not in a Mail type manner) & so am also pleased that Caroline Spelman supported the idea of increasing the mandate requirement for borough police chiefs in her interview the other day. We won't get a community-first zero tolerance to crime while the borough commanders are answerable to Clarke or that Glaswegian thug; they need to be answerable directly to us.

So there's a couple of tactics to underpin the strategy - localism and one nation thinking (we're all in this together).

I know it doesn't matter but I think "compassionate conservatism" sucks as well. It's just localised liberal Toryism, innit?

Whenever I hear Tories using the term "compassionate conservatism" it gives me the creeps. I'm American, and I agree with David Banks that many of the people on the "Christian" Right these days are deeply uncompassionate. They are far more worried about consequences than about compassion. - (and more often than not the consequences are harsh)

On the other hand many aspect of Conservatism are compassionate. I think the welfare reform in the US will be of great benefit in the long run for workless families - and I'd love to see something like that in the UK. Too many families here have generations of state dependency.

Of course, in the US it's "compassionate Conservatism" which means that many of these working poor no longer have access to any health care and it's "compassionate" Conservatism that sides with health insurance and medical lobbies to make it unlikely that they'll have it in the near future.

The phrase is busted, move on.

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