The UK Covid Inquiry has barely begun, but already Holyrood’s finest have drawn the most important conclusion. It’s great for beating up opponents.

FMQs had the solemnity of a clown car honking round a graveyard.

Forget the 18,000 death certificates name-checking the virus. Forget the recipients. What really mattered was who deleted their WhatsApp messages.

Douglas Ross wanted to know why the Scottish Government had a policy of “destroying” them. “The digital equivalent of building a bonfire to torch the evidence,” he shrieked.

Humza Yousaf looked like he wanted to give Mr Ross the equivalent of two digits.

The First Minister said 14,000 WhatsApp messages and 19,000 documents about the pandemic would soon be en route to London, including his own WhatsApps.

“That is in stark contrast to the approach of the Prime Minister, who tried to take the public inquiry to court and lost and is still refusing to hand over his WhatsApps,” he sniffed.

The Tory leader then asked if Nicola Sturgeon - reported to have consigned her chats to the electronic underworld - had broken the law by hitting delete. 

Mr Yousaf started a small riot by suggesting his predecessor was a model of transparency.

“First Minister, take your seat for a moment,” said Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone as the opposition benches erupted. “We are not going to continue this session in this vein.” 

Stephen Kerr, a beefy Tory blowhard in line to be the next named storm of the winter, kept bellowing on regardless. “What are you hiding?” he demanded to know. 

“Mr Kerr, I must ask you to cease shouting from your seat,” said Ms Johnstone.

Mr Kerr wondered about standing up, but feared it might amount to exercise. 

The FM mentioned his 14,000 messages again. He loves that number. He said it eight times. 

But given it covers 137 chat groups over two years, it averages out at barely one message per week per group. Less WhatsApp, more WhatsLeft.

Worse, they’re “corporate” groups, meaning three or more people with at least one civil service snooper. All the juicy private stuff between panicking ministers is excluded. 

“We certainly don’t have anything to fear from the truth,” said Mr Yousaf, confident that it was all underlings swapping cat memes.

Anas Sarwar asked him to take personal responsibility for any lost evidence.

“We will hand over whatever material has been retained,” said the FM, implying an alarming chunk was unretained. 

“The First Minister has lost control of his Government!” said the Labour leader. 

“The messages that we have retained will absolutely be handed over,” repeated Mr Yousaf. 

Well, at least something was retained. Nobody’s dignity was.