BORIS Johnson represents the type of English nationalism which is similar to the old Spanish nationalists, a leading figure in the Catalan independence movement has said.

Economist and indy activist Elisenda Paluzie was speaking to The National at a conference in Glasgow that drew comparisons between the arguments for independence in Catalonia and Scotland.

The president of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) said independence could not come about without a degree of political conflict, and that Nicola Sturgeon should consider an unofficial referendum in Scotland which, if successful, should be followed by a unilateral declaration of independence.

She said: “I think you should do that, yes, although it is not for me to say what you should do. There’s a risk of postponing something forever to avoid political conflict and if you really want independence it comes with a level of that conflict.”

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And she said Brexit was the obvious trigger for indyref2: “What you have in Scotland is the new circumstances provoked by Brexit that imposed on you a political system that is not one that has the majority support of Scottish society, in terms of immigration policy, in terms of social cohesion, different types of things.

“Circumstances like these reinforce the argument for independence. I don’t know about Scotland or Nicola’s decision … the pandemic arrived and that was another argument that postponed things.”

Paluzie recalled the aftermath of Catalonia’s 2017 referendum, when scenes of Spain’s National Police officers beating unarmed voters shocked the world.

“He [Johnson] in a way represents the old English nationalism, similar to the old Spanish nationalism of the former leaders, even of the Conservative Party.

“But I think the democratic culture of the UK is stronger and it is more difficult to have the same images of the British Army or police going into the polling stations in Scotland – it’s more difficult to imagine that.”

Paluzie was critical of the last Catalan declaration of UDI in October 2017, which saw Spain disband the Generalitat and impose direct rule from Madrid.

It came without a proper road map she said, adding: “This is something that we learned in October 2017 that we had from the first of October … we had the leadership and then we didn’t declare independence right after the referendum.

“First, we postponed it to the 10th of October and then then President Puigdemont tried to negotiate with Madrid, then you let them to retake control.

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“They were reinforcing themselves and we were weakening each day during that month and they were stronger. This is something that is very difficult to see when you are in the middle of events. It is easier to see afterwards.”

Paluzie said the ANC had its own roadmap to independence, which involved ensuring the Catalan government encouraged independent energy companies to curb the economic power of the Spanish oligopolies, so they could not use their economic muscle against ordinary Catalans.

“I think we need to work on a more sustainable and sovereign Catalonia in energy terms, with sources that are renewable and we think there are more things the government can do to prepare for independence.”