Scottish politician tipped as ‘heir to Merkel’ in Germany says Brexit decision is an awful mistake
**DAVID McAllister, an MEP who was born in West Germany as the son of a Scottish soldier, is seen as the darling of Germany’s ruling centre-right party.
HE is the Scot who could soon lead Europe’s most powerful country – and he doesn’t want his father’s homeland shunned by the Continent.
David McAllister, the son of a Scottish soldier, is touted as Germany’s chancellor-in-waiting, poised to take over from Angela Merkel.
Debonair McAllister is the rising force in German and European politics.
And – with his fondness for Irn-Bru, Oor Wullie and haggis – he has a unique viewpoint when it comes to Scotland post-Brexit.
McAllister branded the UK’s decision to leave the EU an “awful mistake” but said Europe was still deeply in love with Scotland and the Scots.
He said: “I was surprised by the decision to leave the EU.**
“As a democrat, I have to respect the decision by a narrow majority in the UK. I deeply regret the decision and think it’s an awful mistake.
“I don’t think it is good for the UK or the other EU member states.
“I was really heartbroken when I heard the result. It is such a sad thing to see the UK leave our family of nations.”…
He was named as her heir apparent at Germany’s ruling conservative Christian Democratic Union party conference in Hannover in 2012.
Supporters waved banners proclaiming: “I’m a Mac!” even though they struggled to pronounce his name.
**McAllister, who is now an MEP and vice-president of the parliament’s European People’s Party, said: “The UK is truly divided.
“There are divisions according to age, social background, as well as among nations and regions. What this means for the UK has to be sorted out in Edinburgh and London.
“I am surprised at how the Leave campaigners have reacted – no one understands it in Germany.**
“To cause these problems and walk away is beyond irresponsible.
“One thing is clear – you cannot have access to the single market without the free movement of workers. You cannot pick and choose the rules.”
The son of a wartime British soldier, McAllister is the first dual German-British citizen to hold prominent public office. He served as prime minister of Lower Saxony for two-and-a-half years. So how Scottish is he?
His father, James Buchanan McAllister, was born in Glasgow, near Hampden, in 1919.
During World War II, he helped liberate Germany with the 51st Highland Division and later returned with the Royal Signals Corps to West Berlin, where he met and married Mechthild.
David James McAllister was born in 1971 and raised in a small British outpost in divided Cold War Berlin.
He was raised bilingually, and went to a British primary school. His earliest memories are of listening out for the Queen’s Park result on British Forces radio.
He said: “It was like a religious event every week. We had to sit and wait through all the obscure English teams and lower leagues until they came to the Queen’s Park result.
"**So I am very proud of my Scottish roots. Scotland and the Scots are viewed very fondly in Europe – whisky, Scottish musicians such as Amy Macdonald, Scottish bars and sportsmen like Andy Murray are all very popular.
“Every few years, with the European Championships, Europeans are reminded that the UK is made up of more than one nation.”**
A lawyer by profession, McAllister is proud of his Scottish roots, eating shortbread at Christmas and taking milk in his tea – unusual on the Continent.
He is still in contact with cousins living in Newton Mearns and Edinburgh.
**With the hint of a Scottish accent, he said: “I felt British. It was a very British upbringing. British network, British schools.
“While most of the other kids went home to relatives in Britain, I had a German mum, so I grew up fluent in both languages. The small, semi-detached houses were a piece of England in Berlin. On the streets, English was spoken.**
“The smaller roads were named after British writers – Bronte Way, Shaw Lane, Dickens Way.
“Playing outside, we automatically learnt English literary history. We read Charles Dickens at school.
“There has always been cultural exchanges between Germany and Scotland - Goethe and Schiller loved Scottish history. During the Enlightenment, Immanuel Kant was inspired by the Scots.”
**Marcus Kerber, head of the Federation of German Industries, backs McAllister’s blend of Scots and German heritage.
He said: “I would have thought that boasting about his heritage would backfire but it didn’t.
“I think the Scottish notions of hard work and of fiscal prudence fit well with the mentality in northern Germany.”**
The father of two can’t wait to get back to Scotland. He said: “I have planned a trip to Edinburgh to see Madness. I have loved them since I was a schoolboy.
“It will be great to get back to Scotland.”