If, for example, your country has a public health system that ensures that everyone who needs treatment receives it, without payment, it helps instil the belief that it is normal to care for strangers, and abnormal and wrong to neglect them. If you live in a country where people are left to die, this embeds the idea that you have no responsibility towards the poor and weak. The existence of these traits is supported by a vast body of experimental and observational research, of which Labour and the US Democrats appear determined to know nothing.
We are not born with our core values: they are strongly shaped by our social environment. These values can be placed on a spectrum between extrinsic and intrinsic. People towards the intrinsic end have high levels of self-acceptance, strong bonds of intimacy and a powerful desire to help others. People at the other end are drawn to external signifiers, such as fame, financial success and attractiveness. They seek praise and rewards from others.
As extrinsic values are strongly associated with conservative politics, it's in the interests of conservative parties and conservative media to cultivate these values. There are three basic methods. The first is to generate a sense of threat. Experiments reported in the journal Motivation and Emotion suggest that when people feel threatened or insecure, they gravitate towards extrinsic goals. Perceived dangers – such as the threat of crime, terrorism, deficits, inflation or immigration – trigger a short-term survival response, in which you protect your own interests and forget other people's.
do read the whole thing, a really key contribution to the values debate. He makes the excellent point that if taxation if repeatedly portrayed as a burden, people will come to resent it and see it as a bad thing - taxation is one way in which we act as our brother and sisters keeper, one way in which we are bound together as a community and nation.
update: for a different but helpful perspective, try British Values do not Exist, which argues that we should be talking about British institutions (sovereign parliament, rule of law, monarchy etc.). Actually, not that different - the piece above is to some degree about how our institutions work (public health, the rule of law etc.) and how they shape, and are shaped by society. Values don't exist in a vacuum.
(and also see yesterdays post on what sort of values bring the best out of us)