And the reasons can perhaps be found in how Merkel frames the issue, reproaching immigrants for the lack of assimilation. Britain on the other hand understood a long time ago that if Britain were to gain from the positives of a diverse culture, it necessarily had to be a two way approach, a shared responsibility between the immigrants and the home culture. And the results of multicultural responsibility are there for all to see. Government diversity policies, annual celebrations of diverse ethnic festivals, celebrated curry cuisine, booming Chinatown and an innate love of all things ethnic signal the collective consciousness that has engineered a multicultural Britain.
It took a long time coming and it still has a long way to go. However, the government, private sector, ethnic media agencies and the common man together have evolved the concept of diversity in the United Kingdom. Today, almost 10% of the British population is of ethnic origin, and the upcoming 2011 Census Survey is expected to reveal a higher figure.
Pockets of high density ethnic population have grown roots across the UK. The second generation and a majority of first generation immigrants speak and write fluent English. They may continue to hold onto their faith and belief systems but their cultural assimilation into the mainstream is high and personally motivated.
A growing number of British fast food, clothing and confectionary brands such as Asda, Tesco, Thorntons, Mars, have recognised the market potential of the immigrant population. Focused ethnic marketing and advertising run alongside products and services designed for the ethnic consumer. Halal meat has found its way to supermarket shelves and even fast food retailers such as KFC and Domino’s.
Accepting the pluralistic nature of a cultural mosaic as opposed to a unifying melting pot, Britain celebrates Christian festivals alongside festivals from other religions such as Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism. The London Mayor’s Diwali, Eid, Chinese New Year and other multi-ethnic celebrations held in the heart of London’s Trafalgar Square are heavily attended and publicised every year.
We at Here&Now365, with our partner EMMA Trust, are proud of the role we are playing in further strengthening multiculturalism of Britain by helping businesses and brands effectively reach out to the ethnic minority communities and actively contributing to the British economy.
That multiculturalism is here to stay and prosper in United Kingdom is clear. What remains to be seen is whether other European countries learn to gain from its vibrant and pioneering experience. Maybe our own experiences when opening new offices in other European countries will tell us something of what the future holds for multiculturalism in Europe.