POLITICS is no stranger to dance moves. You may be familiar with the backwards moonwalk, as used in every U-turn ever executed, and who could forget Theresa May’s Dancing Queen/Funky Chicken combo at the Conservative Party conference (funnily enough, her last as PM).

The Sunday shows were a forum for another classic move: the pivot. Just when you thought it was going to be more wall to wall pandemic, Downing Street turned on its heel and put the focus on Brexit.

Ah, remember Brexit? It was “the” disaster waiting to happen, then fate came along and showed us what a proper calamity looked like.

Why Brexit, why now? A cynic might say it was an attempt to divert attention away from the Government’s poor performance in eliminating the virus in England. Alternatively, it could be a way of throwing red meat towards those on the right of the Conservative Party who are alarmed at the spend, spend, spend direction of government policy.

Or it may be that calendar alerts are going off all over Whitehall, reminding Ministers that the transition period for the UK leaving the EU runs out at midnight on December 31, 2020 (or for viewers in Scotland: Hogmanay).

Hence the Sunday papers being briefed on the £700 million the UK Government is spending on border controls, and Michael Gove, Cabinet Office Minister, appearing on Sky News’ Ridge on Sunday and The Andrew Marr Show.

On Mr Gove's to do list was wielding the fire extinguisher on a row that blew up last week over a letter from Liz Truss, the International Trade Secretary. Ms Truss had written to Mr Gove, and the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, setting out her worries about border preparedness.

The letter was leaked, much to the reported fury of the PM’s chief aide, Dominic Cummings.

Can you guarantee the borders will be ready by the first of January, asked Sophy Ridge. “Yes,” said a resolute Mr Gove. Marr went one cheekier and asked if Ms Truss was going to be sacked. Mr Gove was having no talk of sackings. “Liz is one of my best friends in the Cabinet,” said the Minister, recalling that they had worked together at the Department of Education.

READ MORE: Does FM still want independence?

(Although it should be said that Mr Gove has previously been best friends with David Cameron, and look how that ended. Come to think of it, he was also best friends with Boris Johnson before deciding, first time around, that he was not up to the job of being PM.) Marr had an interview with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, an alfresco number beside what must be one of the best known conservatories in Scotland. The main news line was her refusal, once again, to rule out quarantining visitors from England.

“This is not about saying to people in England you are not welcome in Scotland,” she said. “Of course people in England are welcome in Scotland. This is not about politics, it is not about a constitutional agenda, it’s just about taking decisions to protect people in Scotland as much as possible from Covid.”

Indeed, when it came to politics and Covid, she had some stern words for the Chancellor. Mr Sunak, speaking of the £4.6 billion that had gone to Scotland to deal with the virus crisis, had said: “No nationalist can ignore the undeniable truth that this help has only been possible because we are a United Kingdom.” Did she agree?

“No, and fundamentally I don’t think he’s right to be making overtly political points about this. I’ve tried throughout this not to do that. What we are dealing with right now is too important for that.”

READ MORE: Quarantine not ruled out 

The FM said it was a “nonsense argument”, adding: “The issue here is he holds the borrowing powers and the people of Scotland will play their part in repaying that borrowing just as people elsewhere in the UK.”

If that was the Chancellor “telt”, Ms Sturgeon also had a message for critics who might think she had abandoned Scottish independence in the political equivalent of a long stay car park.

Marr said they were in a “very strange” situation in that he wanted to talk about enthusiasm for independence increasing, but she seemingly did not. Was she simply going to hitting the pause button on all constitutional arguments while the virus crisis was with us?

“At the moment I’m focused 100% on tackling Covid. People can agree with that or not agree with it, but until we are out of this crisis that is going to continue to be the case.”

As for addressing independence directly, she said: “At a time when I and the SNP have not been talking about independence all the time but getting on with the job of autonomous decision making, and trying to take the right decisions to get the country through a crisis, support for independence appears to have increased. Maybe there’s a bit of a lesson in there about show not tell.”

Show not tell. Sounds like a complicated dance move, but one the FM is keen to perfect.

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