In keeping with its “big society” scheme, the British Conservative Party’s recently revealed alternative to New Labour’s “state-sponsored multiculturalism” replaces top-down cohesion projects with community activities promoting “mainstream British values”. The centrepiece of the new policy? “The Big Lunch”, where neighbours get together for a meal on the weekend of the Queen’s diamond jubilee. Ali Rattansi sees the initiative as the latest in a line of equally ill-founded attempts across Europe to blame multiculturalist policies for social fracture.
is Visiting Professor in Sociology at City University, London. His books include ‘Race’, Culture and Difference (with J. Donald) (1992); Racism, Modernity and Identity (with S. Westwood) (1994); and Multiculturalism: A Very Short Introduction (2011).