NICOLA Sturgeon, by all accounts, is seen by many to have had a decent pandemic as she is viewed as being a reassuring presence and has rarely ventured into party politics.

But in recent weeks, as the number of cases has risen, she has become less sure-footed as she tries to do the right thing by the country.

This week, in fact, may well turn out to be the time her popularity starts to wane and a public backlash against her latest restrictions begins to grow.

Once a bandwagon begins to gather pace then it becomes increasingly hard to pull to a stop and it always gathers high-profile casualties in its wake.

Not content with imposing a curfew and banning the entire population from visiting each other’s homes and splitting up families the First Minister admitted that she would have closed all pubs and restaurants too if she had the power to do so.

She cited the lack of financial power to extend furlough to the hospitality sector as being the only reason she didn’t.

The First Minister has even written to Boris Johnson asking to borrow some cash, not to buy a socially-distanced round in a pub and help keep it open, but instead to close them all down completely, like a modern-day prohibitionist in a face mask.

Now, if her aim was to play politics and highlight her lack of fiscal powers, then “Vote for me and I’ll close the pubs” does not strike me as a campaign slogan that will win many votes.

But more worryingly is the double-speak that is now emerging to justify certain restrictions being placed on us all. Last month she had all the power she needed to close down Aberdeen’s hospitality sector after a spike in cases linked to pubs.

But a few weeks later when there was a similar spike in Glasgow, the pubs remained open because ‘there was no evidence” of transmissions in the hospitality sector.

Instead it was blamed on household transmissions which has been the message for the past few weeks as more areas have had more severe restrictions imposed on home visits.

Now we hear that she only imposed a curfew on pubs because economic reasons prevented her from closing them completely.

This suggests that there is evidence after all to show that transmissions are happening in pubs and restaurants, and if that is the case then she must publish the data so that customers and staff know the real situation.

Now is not the time to try and start scoring political points. There is a very real public health crisis still with us and a weary population not in the mood.