Àlex Sàlmon, 19 August 2021
I was surprised by the report on Jordi Pujol on Sunday in this newspaper. I went to him immediately. He is a character who continues to arouse interest, despite everything. This everything and this regret summarize much of what has happened in Catalonia in recent years. Directly and indirectly, without going through his children, who also explains the present and its consequences.
It was in the second installment of his memoirs that I understood Jordi Pujol’s sense of state. It was not only that book, but also a dinner convened by his editor, then Fèlix Riera, that prompted me an article about the idea that the former president had of the structure and construction of a State. I am not referring to a specific state. Neither to Spain nor to the entelechy of Catalonia as a state organization. I relate it to the methodology of laying down an institution as it was established from the Enlightenment on, with the permission of Machiavelli, and which is now the basis of a democratic state inspired by the separation of powers.
The former president remains one of the few nationalist politicians who understand the value of order and laws
From that dinner it was very clear to me how well Pujol understood Spain as a State, and that it was precisely in his knowledge of it that he sustained his nationalism, which became Pujolism, with a Catalan dimension in state harmony.
I have always wanted to understand that Pujol rejects the contemporary independence movement, that of 1-O, that need to vindicate itself from outside the law. A fashion that seems to be imposed in a generalized way among the leaders of the procés but that does not go with it. Yes to identity, no to illegality.
Hence his always good relations with Adolfo Suárez, Felipe González and even José María Aznar, of whom, it is true, he has always confessed that went wrong for him. The idea of the State of Aznar, although it coincides with the strength of the powers, differs absolutely on the decentralization of this power.
The journalist Josep Gisbert highlights the idea of order from the first line of his article. Pujol says: “You have to keep the house in order, and now it is not.” Some will say that it is the expression of a man of the right. Maybe also. But, above all, it is the evidence that a State must have an ordered space. And that order is more important than any other motivation, no matter how much feeling it brings.
I am convinced that Jordi Pujol worked his entire political life to end up being what, in France, in Germany, is understood as a statesman. The family made it impossible for him. Specifically, his children and his wife, without whose placet and family leadership the alleged corruption would not have reached that far. He now has to settle for a criticized public presence and waiting for a reserved seat on the bench. It was not the expected ending.
However, conceptually, Pujol remains one of the few Catalan nationalist politicians who understand the meaning of the State, the value of order and the laws, the same ones that have now fallen on his political credibility.