Dear, dear. What has become of the Scottish Government? It can’t even organise a decent cover-up these days.

Asked to hand over the reams of ministerial and civil servant WhatsApp messages flying about during the pandemic, it failed to give the UK Covid inquiry a single one.

It’s just not how we do things, Edinburgh shrugged. The scent of rodent filled the air.

Barely an hour before Humza Yousaf arrived for FMQs, Inquiry counsel Jamie Dawson KC revealed the glaring absence of information, despite some 137 messaging groups being used during the pandemic and up to 70 Scottish witnesses involved in them.

“The Inquiry expects that what has ultimately been provided to us by the Scottish Government comprises the full disclosure which the First Minister promised would be provided,” Mr Dawson intoned ominously.

“If it transpires that this is not the case, the Inquiry will wish to know why.”

Back at Holyrood, Douglas Ross hastily ditched his plan to ask about those land-loving ferries again and suggested Mr Yousaf was up to secrecy shenanigans.

“Where are the messages? Where have they gone? Has the Scottish Government deleted any messages?” the Scottish Tory leader asked all of a quiver.

The FM said he’d asked a Scottish Government legal eagle, solicitor general Ruth Charteris KC, to find out what the hell the Scottish Government was playing at.

He assured MSPs “any relevant information” would be passed on, implying he, health secretary for the second half of the pandemic, might decide what was relevant. Handy.

Mr Ross said it shouldn’t take Ms Charteris to know what was going on, and rattled off the names of ministers known to use WhatsApp for work, including one Yousaf, H. 

“There is no excuse for not releasing them,” he went on. “Why is that information being withheld from grieving families, the inquiry and everyone who deserves answers?”

Mr Yousaf said his Government was committed to transparency. 

Mr Ross suggested it was transparently at it.

Mr Yousaf insisted his Government hadn’t broken the law

That’s never a good boast to need to make. He then added he was “seeking assurances” that Do Not Destroy Notices had been followed. So, er, the law might have been broken.

“We have passed over what we believe to be relevant information,” the FM said again. 

It didn’t sound any less subjective second time round.

Later, veteran Nat MSP Christine ‘two jags’ Grahame talked about getting her Covid and flu shots recently as she asked about vaccine take-up.

The First Minister urged all those eligible to come forward and take one for the herd.

Just don’t keep a record of it. It’s not how we do things.