• Germany's news in English
 

McAllister: 'I'm happy to be Merkel's Mac'

Published: 18 Jan 2013 08:06 GMT+01:00

Whether meeting Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie as they tour northern Germany this week will help McAllister's polling results remains to be seen. He does, however, embody the cross-over between the United Kingdom and Germany that the princesses are being sent over in a red-white-and-blue Mini to promote.

McAllister, the son of a Scottish father serving with the British army in West Berlin and a German music teacher mother, he is a rising star in Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Often called simply "Mac," he has politely answered more than his fair share of questions about Scottish clichés while climbing through the ranks of German politics to lead the fourth most populous state in the country.

"I’m aware of my Scottish roots and of course if you have a name like McAllister, you’re reminded every day, because you’ve always got to spell your name, pronounce your name correctly and answer the same questions: Do you wear a kilt? Do you play bagpipes?" he told The Local in 2010.

Lower Saxony has frequently been a springboard to higher callings in German politics. It's where former Social Democratic Chancellor Gerhard Schröder launched his national career, while McAllister's immediate predecessor Christian Wulff left office to become federal president.

McAllister is young, he turned 42 last week, and is often spoken of in admiring tones, with one British newspaper getting carried away claiming he was being groomed for the top political job in Germany. While he says he is happy in Lower Saxony, he is part of the new generation of Christian Democratic politicians too young to have been subject to Angela Merkel's earlier culls of party colleagues who might challenge her leadership.

This weekend is the first real test of McAllister's political standing in his home state - he has not won a state election before, gaining office in 2010 when Wulff was kicked upstairs to the presidency.

McAllister has portrayed himself as upbeat in the last few days before the election, repeating his slogan, "That's how we're doing it" and encouraging supporters to declare "I'm a Mac."

A moderate conservative in Merkel's mould, McAllister has brought his Scottish heritage to the fore throughout the campaign, focusing on his attempts to get state finances under control.

"Scots are said to be thrifty," he told Die Zeit newspaper this week. "Solid finances; that is exactly the policy which the CDU and I personally follow."

Yet he has consistently refused to be drawn on the subject of Scottish independence - reverting immediately to being a German politician who does not comment on the domestic matters of other countries.

As the election campaign nears its climax, his party sits far ahead of the struggling Social Democrats. But he could still lose his job if his coalition partners, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), fail to win seats in the state parliament on Sunday.

The weakness of the FDP could, in fact, end up helping the Social Democrats and their preferred coalition partners, the Greens, tip McAllister out of office.

Yet in the Die Zeit interview he said he remained determined to campaign only for the CDU - and not urge voters to split their votes to give the FDP a hand, even though he knows he needs them to improve their performance.

And McAllister is unlikely to disappear from the political stage even if he loses the premiership on Sunday. On a national level Merkel seems set to be the head of the next federal government after September's general election - and it would be a surprise if she were to leave him out in the cold.

"Recently a newspaper wrote [I was] Merkel's Mac," he told Die Zeit. "I think that's great. I'm happy to be Merkel's Mac."

Hannah Cleaver

hannah.cleaver@thelocal.com

twitter.com/hannahcleaver2

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

11:04 January 23, 2013 by Anny One again
Hmm? Some say he was born in Kenya and would be a muslim.
Today's headlines
Wolf spotted in North Rhine-Westphalia
File photo: DPA

Wolf spotted in North Rhine-Westphalia

Camera traps have spotted a wolf for the second time in a month in North Rhine-Westphalia, the state environment ministry reported on Friday. READ  

German ranchers murdered in Paraguay
Paraguayan police on patrol in an area known to contain EPP rebels. File photo: DPA

German ranchers murdered in Paraguay

The Foreign Ministry in Berlin confirmed that two Germans living in Paraguay were kidnapped and killed earlier this week. READ  

AfD braces for busy conference weekend
"Vote AfD!" reads the flyover message. Photo: DPA

AfD braces for busy conference weekend

As leaders of the Germany's anti-Euro upstart party Alternative for Germany (AfD) prepare for its party conference this weekend, the potential for chaos is rising. READ  

Sudden dose of winter causes traffic chaos
Snow in Oberharz. Photo: DPA

Sudden dose of winter causes traffic chaos

UPDATE: Two people were rescued from avalanches as a blast of winter has taken Germany by surprise, while snow and ice accounted for several traffic accidents across the country on Friday. READ  

BND collects 220 million phone records a day
Photo: DPA

BND collects 220 million phone records a day

Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) collects 220 million pieces of information about foreign phone calls and SMS every day, Zeit Online reported on Friday. READ  

U-turn on minimum wage for foreign drivers
Photo: DPA

U-turn on minimum wage for foreign drivers

Germany temporarily hit the brakes Friday on applying its new minimum wage to foreign truck drivers transiting the country in a move welcomed by Poland, which vigorously opposed the system. READ  

Crises make Germany EU foreign policy leader
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Photo: DPA

Crises make Germany EU foreign policy leader

Foreign policy think-tank the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) gave Germany top marks in its annual check-up of EU member states released on Thursday. READ  

Prost! Beer sales hop up for first gain in 8 years
Photo: DPA

Prost! Beer sales hop up for first gain in 8 years

New figures released Friday by federal statistics office Destatis are numbers breweries can drink to, as German beer consumption saw its first year-on-year rise since 2006. READ  

Germany has thousands of uni spots open
Photo: DPA

Germany has thousands of uni spots open

New research published by Spiegel on Friday shows that there are thousands of university placesa unoccupied across the country, while certain hot spots cope with too much demand. READ  

Borussia coach admits to 'downward spiral'
Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp at a press conference. Photo: DPA

Borussia coach admits to 'downward spiral'

Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp admits feeling the pressure as his side resume their fight to stay in Germany's top flight on Saturday at fellow Champions League side Bayer Leverkusen. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Business & Money
FATCA: 'The age of financial privacy is over'
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
The rise and spread of Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Photo: DPA
Politics
The Local's report from Pegida's largest ever demonstration.
Sponsored Article
Top-notch tech boosts bilingual schools
National
Six stories that will rock Germany this year
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Photo: DPA
National
What were your favourite news stories of 2014?
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,570
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd