[EDITORIALS]Grand National parrotsWhere is the Grand National Party going? All the policies being debated now have been initiated by the administration and its political party. Polarization in the economy, tax increases, real estate policies, policies on education ― whether the arguments are wrong or right, the people’s eyes and ears are all focused on the administration and the Uri Party. The only interest aroused by the Grand National Party is centered on sexual harassment and the Seoul mayor’s tennis games.
In the middle of such circumstances, the Grand National Party’s chairwoman, Park Geun-hye, made a speech to businessmen on Tuesday, but used the opportunity only to criticize a speech made earlier by President Roh Moo-hyun. While criticizing the current administration’s approach to the economic divide between rich and poor, Ms. Park neglected to say anything about how that issue should be addressed. On tax increases, she said a lot, but all it amounted to was a statement that salary earners were critical of any additional tax bite.
Nothing that she said was really wrong, but there must have been something more to say than just a repetition of criticism carried in the press.
She commented on the education policies of the administration, saying there were no measures being offered to revive Korea’s schools, but she had no advice on alternatives. When discussing her party’s insistence on tax cuts, she sounded like a common populist stirring up a mob, an accusation the party has often made against the administration. She offered a pension plan that would cost 4 trillion-5 trillion won ($4 billion-5 billion) in the first year and 170 trillion won in 2030 when it would be fully implemented.
She said if political leadership were competent, it would be possible to join the ranks of advanced economies. So where is that competent leadership? Just criticizing is not enough. The party needs an alternative vision. Shouldn’t the opposition have such a vision, a plan to ease the plight of Korea’s ordinary citizens?
A good leader would say she was willing to be judged by the people and would ask for the right to manage the nation.
It’s hard to find anything to criticize in Ms. Park’s speech, because there was nothing of substance in it. An absence of criticism may make a person feel good, at least temporarily. But when a party does not attract the interest of the people and the press ignores it, it should remember that an opportunity to take the nation’s reins is being squandered.