GNP needs a smarter policyThe ruling Grand National Party has joined the smartphone fad, declaring it will become a so-called “SMART” party that makes full use of mobile Internet network technology.
The party’s new secretary general, Choung Byoung-gug, said the party plans to supply mobile phones with PC convergence to all party members and employees. Legislators and potential candidates will be required to leave text-based posts on the Twitter Web site and other short-message services. In addition, the party plans to set up a “SMART” academy to teach its members how to use mobile communications networks to reach the public.
In this way, Choung is attempting to capitalize on the nation’s infatuation with smartphones to give the conservative party a new image.
SMART stands for the first letters of the words symphony, messenger, active, renovate and together. Under this banner, the party will seek closer ties with the public and will be, as Choung said, “ready to meet with anyone, anywhere, at any time.” It is important and necessary for a political party to respond swiftly to technological advances and societal trends. But considering the widening split in the party the catchphrase seems hollow and out of place.
How can a party attempt to communicate with the public when it is incapable of doing so with its own members?
Last week’s legislative questioning of the government underscored the internal conflict. The occasion turned into an emotional dispute between the pro-Lee Myung-bak and pro-Park Geun-hye factions, distracting the ruling party from the pending issue of the North Korea problem and rising tensions in the East Asian region. Members of the ruling party have added to the rancorous partisan conflict with their own deplorable battle.
Of course the ruling party is allowed to have disagreements. But its executive council is not making much of an effort to resolve matters for fear it will look like it’s siding with a particular faction. The president’s meeting with party executives is as rare as a meeting between the heads of the ruling and opposition parties. Still, the party should not have allowed the internal fight to spill over into the assembly session.
Now, some party members are threatening to side with the opposition camp’s move to dismiss Prime Minister Chung Un-chan over the Sejong City controversy.
The party should not talk about connecting with the people when it is clearly incapable of communication within its ranks. This could make the SMART campaign seem like a shallow pre-election publicity stunt. The public is not that naive anymore.