Ali Rattansi

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).


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.