This article appears as part of the Unspun: Scottish Politics newsletter.

Given the raw emotions around the UK Covid-19 Inquiry, it’s unlikely any of our politicians would talk openly about it creating winners and losers.

But make no mistake. In their private moments, MPs and MSPs are calculating the sum of the political pluses and minuses from it.

Lady Hallett’s investigation was always going to be political because so was the pandemic. 

It tested ministers and officials in a way nothing else in recent memory had.

People looked to their governments and wondered if they were in safe hands.

The reputation of Boris Johnson, such as it was, was trashed beyond repair by his disregard for the Covid rules he imposed on the rest of us and those Downing Street parties. 

President Trump failed to get re-elected (on his first attempt) because he botched it. Likewise Brazil’s President Bolsonaro.

Closer to home, the opposition at Holyrood have been drooling at the prospect of SNP ministers being put on the stand and eviscerated by forensic KCs.

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Ex-Holyrood official who told colleagues to delete WhatsApps quits job over outcry

Rows over who kept their WhatsApps and who hit delete have run and run.

Last week, we saw evidence of senior officials joking about deleting their chats so they couldn’t be recovered under freedom of information.

Luckily, one of the group didn’t oblige, and so the facts were laid bare.

The ringmaster of those exchanges, the former manager of the Scottish Government’s Covid coordination directorate, is now collateral damage. 

Ken Thomson, who chortled about “plausible deniability” being his middle name, started a nice little number as Chair of the Regulatory Board at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland on January 1.

After relatives of Covid victims questioned whether he was a fit and proper person to be an ethical guardian at ICAS, Mr Thomson quit for “personal reasons” on January 31.

The power of the Inquiry to damage its subjects is beyond doubt. 

Nicola Sturgeon’s political career may be behind her, but she still has a reputation to defend and an eye on a respectable and lucrative future. 

Her turn at the Inquiry on Wednesday didn’t shatter any of those but did remind people that she promised to hand over evidence that she knew she had already destroyed.

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UnspunTears and drama: Five key exchanges from Nicola Sturgeon’s inquiry appearance

Her attempt to then wriggle around the truth of her untruth diminished her further. 

However her tearful testimony will also have stirred memories of the superhuman shift she put in when the outbreak struck, and she wins any comparison with Johnson hands down.

The next day, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross attacked Humza Yousaf at FMQs by claiming low politics was never far from the SNP’s response to the pandemic.

Ms Sturgeon memorably – and improbably – insisted she put aside all thoughts of political advantage and advancing independence in order to focus solely on the health crisis.

As Mr Ross tried to debunk this angelic tripe, the first minister responded by invoking Boris Johnson “who partied in No 10 while people missed the funerals of their relatives”.

The Herald: Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said at FMQs that 'Humza Yousaf cannot step out of the shadow of his disgraced predecessor'Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said at FMQs that 'Humza Yousaf cannot step out of the shadow of his disgraced predecessor' (Image: Getty)
Mr Yousaf said: “I am very pleased that we had Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Government in charge here, as opposed to Boris Johnson.”

Mr Ross gave as good as he got in reply. 

“Humza Yousaf cannot step out of the shadow of his disgraced predecessor. Humza Yousaf still backs her to the hilt. [He] is simply the continuity candidate for team Sturgeon.”

They both had a point. 

Mr Yousaf came across as too in awe, and possibly too scared, of his old mentor to acknowledge she got things wrong or had been peddling spin. 

While Mr Ross had no comeback on his previous support for Mr Johnson. He backed a “f***ing clown”, as Ms Sturgeon would have put it. Which put him in the circus too.

It was striking how both party leaders were still being dragged down by the past. 

Mr Yousaf cannot escape from Ms Sturgeon’s troubled legacy, while Mr Ross is stained by association with Johnson, Truss and the Tory madness at Westminster. 

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So if those two are, as it were, losers from the Covid inquiry, was there a winner? 

That was equally striking at FMQs. Unburdened by Labour ties to the pandemic, Anas Sarwar commanded the chamber, thundering in righteous anger at his rivals.

He probably wouldn’t thank anyone for saying it, but the Scottish Labour leader has become a clear beneficiary of the Covid Inquiry north of the border.

As the election nears, expect him to use it and damn his opponents from the high ground.