• Germany edition
 
German of the Week
McAllister: 'I'm happy to be Merkel's Mac'
Photo: DPA

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

Published: 18 Jan 2013 08:06 GMT+01:00
Updated: 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
Steinmeier challenges UN over Isis gas reports
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Kurds watching the attack on Kobane. Photo: DPA

Steinmeier challenges UN over Isis gas reports

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier pressed UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon to bring possible poison gas use by Isis in Iraq before the Security Council. READ  

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told
Photo: DPA

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told

It will take several days to find out what caused a massive explosion on Thursday which rocked a town on the Rhine, killing a builder and injuring 26 others. READ  

Spring back in German consumers' step?
Photo: DPA

Spring back in German consumers' step?

Consumer confidence in Germany has stopped falling, as households appear to be no longer fazed by concerns about the economic fallout from geopolitical crises, a new poll found on Friday. READ  

Ludwigshafen explosion kills one, injures 26
An eyewitness captured the moment of the explosion on their phone. Photo: DPA

Ludwigshafen explosion kills one, injures 26

UPDATE: One person has died and 26 others are injured after a huge explosion in Ludwigshafen, western Germany on Thursday. READ  

Germany has just ten Ebola beds
Photo: DPA

Germany has just ten Ebola beds

Doctors at high-level infectious disease clinics say that caring for patients with the Ebola virus is much more intensive than they first thought, meaning they can handle fewer cases at once. READ  

Refugee Crisis
Now Berlin turns to tents to house refugees
A refugee protests on the roof of the former Gerhart Hauptmann School in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Now Berlin turns to tents to house refugees

Berlin has turned to huge tents and shipping containers to shelter growing numbers of refugees. With winter approaching, city politicians have called on the federal government for help. READ  

Clueless Merkel forgets the F-word
Merkel suffers from Wortfindungsstörung at the IT summit in Hamburg. Photo: DPA

Clueless Merkel forgets the F-word

Angela Merkel's government is often criticized for its lack of understanding of all things digital and an appearance by the chancellor in Hamburg, which was supposed to change those perceptions, has only made things worse. READ  

Greenpeace finds danger in kids clothes
Photo: DPA

Greenpeace finds danger in kids clothes

Research released on Thursday by environmental group Greenpeace showed that more than half of clothing sold by German discount brands contain chemicals known to be dangerous to health and the environment, with items from Aldi being the worst offenders. READ  

Woman sues for accidental pot raid
Photo: DPA

Woman sues for accidental pot raid

A Bavarian woman is suing police for unlawful search after a reported break-in at her home led authorities to discover 158 cannabis plants in her basement. READ  

Germany lags in permits for non-EU migrants
Photo: DPA

Germany lags in permits for non-EU migrants

Germany gave out fewer residency permits last year per head to non-EU citizens than any other major European economy. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: Huge explosion rocks Ludwigshafen
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
Which high school cliche is your German city?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Storm hits southern Germany
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Robbers blow up Berlin bank
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: Facebook
Society
German motorcycle gang joins Isis fight
Photo: DPA
Politics
UKIP ‘seeks EU pact’ with German satirical party
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
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

3,526
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd