1. Generally speaking, people should be left to live their lives how they wish.
2. Continuities and traditions should be approached with respect and humility.
3. History is deserving of careful study for its own sake.
4. It's right to be sceptical about human nature as mankind is frail and imperfect.
5. Civil institutions are of primary importance in constraining and promoting people's interests from time to time.
6. Incremental change should be preferred over revolution.
7. Processes need more attention than outcomes: get the former right and the latter will look after themselves.
8. The national should come before the international.
9. If something works, don't worry about the theory.
10. We have a duty of care to others on the basis of our being members of the same community rather than for more abstract reasons.
What was your score out of ten? If you found yourself agreeing with quite a few - let's say 7/10 or above - the likelihood is that you are or have become a CONSERVATIVE. This may come as an unpleasant shock. After all, there are plenty of otherwise quite nice and reasonable people who, if they discovered you were a CONSERVATIVE, would instinctively label you as something of a bastard or a cow. Nevertheless, there it is.
By the way, please don't try to pick holes in these propositions by testing whether they'd all be justifiable in all sorts of different times and places. No, I wouldn't approach the longstanding Aztec tradition of human sacrifice with respect and humility either. Like conservatism itself, these propositions don't pretend to universal and axiomatic truth. They might provide useful guidance in other times and places but not necessarily so.
I've derived this quick and easy checklist from the first of Peter Oborne's Radio Four talks on the subject of conservatism, which was concerned with the conservative outlook. The second talk was on the history of the Conservative Party and the third (yet to to be broadcast) is an interview with David Cameron.
Oborne is a journalist who's always worth reading. He takes a highly ethical approach to politics and is keenly aware of historical context. Also, rather like Nick Cohen (who won't be grateful for the comparison), he has the admirable knack of picking up on issues that are important but have been disregarded. Most recently, he very bravely went to the Philippines to report on the vicious Christian-Muslim conflict that threatens to overturn the country and provide a new source of international Islamist terrorism.
He's doing us a service in producing these talks. After all, it looks almost certain that we'll be in for a few years of government by a party that calls itself the Conservative Party. Best remind ourselves of what it's all about, or at least what it's meant to be all about.