Time to revamp the LKPThe conservative camp also must reform itself. The main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) must shake off of the notion that being conservative means refusing new trends and clinging to traditional ways. LKP Chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn should pay heed to wise advice from veteran novelist Yi Mun-yol. Hwang visited the famed literary figure at his home in Icheon, Gyeonggi over the weekend in an effort to listen to the voices of conservative icons in our society.
Although the details of their conversation have not been disclosed, what Yi would have advised can be presumed given the thoughts he shared with the media. In an interview, Yi stressed the need for Korea’s conservatives to seek reform and evolution demanded by the times. “Many should have been dead, but too many in the conservative have survived. The entire party could slowly die just like a frog in the boiling water if it retains the same old people,” he said. In another interview, he also underscored that the LKP has failed to achieve creative destruction. “The old-fashioned conservatives should be wiped out [in order] to be truly reborn,” he remarked.
After the landslide defeat in the local elections in June last year, there were calls for disbanding the LKP and replacing members of the conservative party with entirely new people. Each of the lawmakers of the embattled party kneeled for two days after their election defeat, promising to be different this time. In the mea culpa, they admitted that they had been coarse and lost public confidence, failed to come up with alternative solutions for the economy and did not genuinely atone for a critical lack of effort.
Yet nothing has changed. The party is as impotent and rough as before with the same old faces. We have to ask the party what has actually changed since its confession of immature practices just a year ago.
Innovation can take place in many forms. The ways of getting things done must change. Outdated systems, customs and culture must also be overhauled for the rebirth of the troubled party. Changing faces may not be the best solution. But in order for the LKP to prove that it is serious about reinvention this time, it must carry out and overhaul and change its members. The LKP must remember Yi’s advice — “It must die in order to be reborn” — if it really wants to survive, not to mention win the next election.
JoongAng Ilbo, June 10, Page 30