While the Republicans in America are quietly burying George W. Bush’s legacy in domestic policy, the Tories are embracing it. Iain Duncan Smith’s report on social policy, a labour of love if ever there was one, is animated by the same spirit of compassionate conservatism that underpinned George W. Bush’s first presidential campaign.
IDS’s description of the philosophical underpinnings of the report couldn’t have been put better by Bush, or Karen Hughes:
“Our approach is based on the belief that people must take responsibility for their own choices but that government has a responsibility to help people make the right choices. Government must therefore value and support positive life choices.”
When you look at the Cameron agenda, it is remarkable how similar it is to Bush’s back in the day. Both men are at pains to stress that they are moderate, socially responsible, inclusive conservatives. Indeed, the signature line of Bush’s 2001 inaugural—“compassion is the work of a nation, not just a government”—doesn’t sound that different from Cameron’s “we’re all in this together” catch-phrase.