… but you would expect, under normal circumstances, for the opposition party to be pleased that civil society is up in arms and protesting government decisions. The PN does not need to be in the crowd to benefit from popular disaffection with government.

You would expect them to want anyone who is not at the protest to be aware of it and to be sympathetic to it. After all, in theory, the more people are unhappy with the government the better their chances of replacing them one day.

So what does the PN do at 10am when the protest is starting? They go live broadcasting a press conference about … wait for it … the centenary of the Sette Giugno of 1919.

Today’s protest march has been announced for several weeks. Scheduling the PN’s press conference on a centenary marked three months ago is not even a moderately respectable excuse to create a distraction from the protest.

Even the government didn’t think it would be a good idea to do something like this. They didn’t need to. They had the PN to do the silly work for them.

The PN’s message this morning is that if you’re a PN supporter, there’s no time for you to support a protest for environmental protection and planning control and against corruption in the granting of building permits and the allocation of public land for development. Instead this morning you need to focus your mind on why, a hundred years ago, the Sette Giugno events occurred and three months ago the PN forgot to notice the centenary was worth marking.

This is not just stupid. It’s corrupt.

To be fair it doesn’t matter very much. Eight people were watching the PN’s event live. The real patriots were in Republic Street, Valletta.