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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 June 2006, 21:14 GMT 22:14 UK
Finding compassion
David Cameron
David Cameron "compassionate Conservative"
David Cameron's favourite slogan to explain what he's up to is Compassionate Conservatism. It crops up in most of his literature and many of the Tory leader's speeches.

But there's a problem with it. And the problem is that Compassionate Conservatism was used as his slogan by George W Bush when he was campaigning to get into the White House. All the polls tell us that President Bush is not a popular figure in Britain. Nor is he widely regarded as compassionate.

Labour attacks on Mr Cameron- especially those coming from Gordon Brown and his associates- contend that the Texan origins of the phrase tell us that the Tory leader has a secret agenda. They say Compassionate Conservatism is just a cynical disguise for a right-wing agenda shrink the state and slash public spending.

If only it was, sigh some on the Tory Right. They fear that Compassionate Conservatism means their party surrendering to what they see as Labour's high tax and overweight state.

David Cameron and his allies are meanwhile trying to rid the label of its American associations by giving it their own definition.

Leala Padmanabhan has been searching for the true meaning of compassionate Conservatism. She begins her investigation at the launch of a book devoted to the subject.

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