DID you catch the chicken sounds which accompanied Douglas Ross as the Tory leader sought to challenge the First Minister? How did you feel: sympathetic, amused, both?

Me, I thought of Hamlet. The play opens with a cock crowing. Said, variously, to be a stylistic device to entertain the groundlings; a metaphorical reference to the Resurrection; or a physical reminder of dawn, another day for the Prince to muck things up by dithering.

Perhaps I was in thespian mood, having just revisited live theatre again, courtesy of the Edinburgh Festival. The powerful Lament for Sheku Bayoh (National Theatre, Lyceum); the poignant Still (Traverse); the outstanding Myra’s Story (George Square); and a gloriously droll portrait of Chic Murray (Castle Terrace.)

So, still thinking critically, what was the dramatic significance of the noises off during the Ross rhetoric? Simply this. He was speaking from home and had failed to subdue his livestock. Ego dented: exit, pursued by a bear.

A reminder then that politics always has a human and, in this case, avian aspect. Something that Ministers are keeping in mind as they reshape their pandemic response.

We are all heartily sick of Covid. We are thoroughly fed up with the limitations; face coverings and the rest. We want it all to end. And it shows.

It was evident in Edinburgh, during the limited Festival.

Yes, many folk wore masks, when they remembered. Yes, the theatres kept us all studiously apart during performances. But, in general, distancing had elided while pubs and restaurants appeared crowded.

I think this underpinned John Swinney’s demeanour when he faced Holyrood questions about Covid recovery. As is fitting, the Deputy First Minister was subdued and restrained.

There was a morsel of his pre-pandemic wit. Labour’s Alex Rowley drolly complained that his football team, Kelty Hearts, were unlikely to be caught by the rule obliging Covid passports for large crowds.

Smiling wanly, Mr Swinney (who, as I recall, supports the other Hearts) advised Mr Rowley to persist. Never say never.

But it was never say when from the Deputy FM. Entirely understandably, he was unable to indicate when closure might arrive, even for the new passport or certificate scheme.

Partly, this is down to the hideous plague itself: its grim persistence, its capacity to generate new and more transmissible variants. It was, said Mr Swinney with just a note of weariness, “a constantly changing challenge” for Ministers and others.

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For example, he referred to sharply rising case numbers, partly connected to the return of Scotland’s schools. Had such statistics emerged earlier, prior to extensive vaccination, then Ministers would have been ordering tighter statutory restraints.

Nightclubs, which are understandably discontented with the imposition of Covid passports, might instead have been facing closure.

It is also accepted in governing circles that the constraints themselves bring attendant damage. Most obviously to the economy but most perniciously to the nation’s mental health and social cohesion.

However, I think Nicola Sturgeon, John Swinney and others are also acutely alert to public mood.

Put most bluntly, they reckon that folk could not endure a return to near-lockdown, which the raw statistics might merit. That they will, however, comply with limited restraint.

Which still begs the question. How are these passports to work in practice? Would you like to be a staff member on the door at a nightclub in Sauchiehall Street, at midnight, demanding to see a customer’s papers, albeit in digital form?

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Ministers accept there are concomitant problems. They are, quite simply, sceptical about their own proposal. Welcome to government, pandemic style.

But they believe two things. One, that such passports will encourage younger age groups to get the necessary jabs in order to qualify. Two, that the alternatives are worse in that they involve revisiting general restraint.

In essence, as Mr Swinney explained to MSPs, the Scottish Government has changed its outlook. They are no longer seeking to eliminate this plague, to suppress it to its lowest possible level.

Instead, armed with the power of vaccination but also confronted with public mood and the evidence of harm caused by constraints, they are resigned, in effect, to living with Covid. Reducing it from pandemic status to endemic, like flu.

They will not use the precise phrase “living with it”. Sounds too much like surrender. Instead, the talk is of continuing compliance with limited measures while maximising uptake of the vaccination.

However, Covid passports represent an added dilemma for one element of the Scottish Government. That problem confronts the Green Ministers, newly summoned to office this week.

Nicola Sturgeon was previously reluctant to endorse passports, ruling them out for vital public services.

But Patrick Harvie of the Greens went further. He was against the entire concept in principle, warning in February that it could set a “dangerous precedent” if civil rights were to be dependent, to some extent, upon medical history.

Mr Harvie still believes that. I understand that the Greens might, for example, prefer a circuit breaking lockdown in the nightclub sector to the deployment of vaccine passports.

However, as one put it to me, a “dose of realism” enters the ring here. The Greens are now in government, seeking to implement wider policies on climate change, public transport, housing rent reforms and the like.

To achieve those broader aims, the two Green Ministers, Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater, are obliged to vote in line with collective Ministerial responsibility. That means holding their nose, gazing at their feet and voting for Covid passports.

But what about the others in the Green group? They are not Ministers. Indeed, in this “mibbes aye, mibbes naw” partnership, they are in semi-opposition.

Again, notably difficult. They are seeking detailed assurances about the scheme, as is Douglas Ross and other MSPs.

My guess is the Greens will go for the deal, reflecting that it would be a poor optic to vote against the FM so early in the partnership.

This pandemic has generated curious politics. Perhaps curiouser and curiouser, with more to come.

Professor Jason Leitch, the National Clinical Director, also gave evidence to MSPs this week. He advised them solemnly: “We are a long way from done”.