Risto Kuisma interview1. Could you explain to our readers when you decided to become a politician?
1. As a young 21 year old trade union activist 1968, I decided to participate in politics on a local level. I was elected as a member of the Kouvola city government in 1973. 1975 I started working for the trade union movement, first as a lawyer and then 1978 as a president, and stopped actively participating in politics.
1994 I gave up my career in the trade union movement and returned to work as a lawyer. 1995 I was elected to the parliament, and since that I have been a full time politician.
2. Did you have strong political beliefs during your youth?
2. Very strong. I was strongly against injustice and for justice. My values were left-wing.
3. Was the choice of becoming a ”full time politician” difficult to make? Why?
3. In 1975 the decision was so difficult, that I gave up politics and chose a career in the trade union movement. In 1995 I considered a long time before I became a full time politician.
4. How could you present The Finnish Social Democratic Party to our readers who don’t know it?
4. The Finnish Social Democratic party is a 100 year old party. It has been the largest party in Finland almost throughout its whole history. The English Labour Party is a brother party for the Finnish Social Democratic Party.
After 1918 the communists left the Social Democratic party and formed their own party, which now functions as Vasemmistoliitto (The Left Alliance). The last three head of states in Finland have been social democrats. The chairman of the Social Democratic party, Paavo Lipponen, was prime minister 1995-2003. The Finnish Social Democratic party is a moderate left-wing party.
5. Has The Finnish Social Democratic Party always been present in the Finnish political life?
5. The Finnish parliament was founded 1905. The Social Democratic Party has always been represented in it. The party was founded late in the 1900-century, and got its present name in 1903.
6. If you had to describe this party with 5 words…
6. Left-wing, moderate, established, international, social democratic
7. What are the positive and negative aspects of being a politician?
7 It’s positive, that one can make the world better and have power to participate in decisions that affect everyone. As a politician, I can promote social justice. I have taken that as my mission in life.
The negative aspects are, that there is a lot of plotting and intrigues in politics. Things progress slowly, and it’s difficult to achieve results. Politicians are poorly appreciated and the media treats politicians badly.
8. Do you consider it as a profession or is it more than that?
8 Politics is more than a profession; it’s a calling and a purpose in life.
9. If you had the possibility to totally change your profession. What would you choose?
9 I would maybe return to work for the trade union movement, or then become a full time writer.
10. Why do you think that in Europe people become less and less interested in politics?
10 Politics is complicated. Political options are not clear enough. The parties a too much alike. The appreciation of politics is poor.
11. How do you explain the results of Mister Tony Halme during the last Parliamentary elections ? Do you think that he was elected for his ideas or for other reasons?
11 Mr. Tony Halme got protest votes. He got votes from people who usually don’t vote at all. His ideas, some of which were such we call racist and populistic, were not new. His success was a result of his person and performance.
12. What images do you have of France and French people?
12 A good image. High class films, music, literature. Good food. A beautiful, large country; a land of culture. High class industry. French people are friendly and educated.
13. Is there a French town or region that you particularly appreciate? Why?
13 Paris is number one, but I also appreciate Marseille and Cannes. Bretagne fascinates me, but I have only had limited time to get to know the region.
14. If you had to choose one French person that could, to your point of view, well represent the image you have of France and French people… who would it be ?
14 Charles de Gaulle
15. What are your professional or personal projects for the future?
15 I will continue as a Member of Parliament and aim at higher positions in politics. In my personal life I’m planning on making a doctoral thesis. The problem is, that my current duties take up all my time and strength so completely, that there is no time to start new projects.