Germany’s ‘Conservative in a Kilt’

On this day in 2010, David McAllister became the Prime Minister of Lower Saxony in Germany. McAllister was born in West Berlin, one of an increasingly visible group in modern Germany: The children of British soldiers who have settled in Germany and married local women. His father James, a Glaswegian, was stationed in West Berlin from 1969 with the Royal Corps of Signals. David McAllister, who still has relatives in Glasgow, holds dual citizenship and is bilingual.

McAllister took a traditional route to politics by training as a lawyer. He joined the Christian Democratic Union while still a teen and is so well regarded in that party that Chancellor Angela Merkel once asked him to serve as its general secretary. McAllister declined, preferring to remain for a while at the state level, and two years ago he became the youngest person ever to hold the premiership of a German state.

Like members of the Scottish diaspora everywhere, McAllister’s loyalties are with the land of his birth but Scotland is unmistakably part of his identity: He is known as ‘Mac’, supports Rangers Football Club and, after proposing to his future wife at Loch Ness, he was married wearing a kilt. It is, he explained, a family tradition.

Copyright (c) Lynn McAlister, 2012

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Note: ‘Conservative in a Kilt’ is the name given McAllister by the Guardian in an article that appeared 4 June 2010; it is available here.

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