What is the purpose of the UK Covid inquiry? One might wonder. The inquiry is designed to examine decision-making during the Covid-19 crisis to outline failings, possible improvements and ensure more adequate preparedness for the next pandemic.

Lessons learned, that sort of thing. Crucially, there are people who lost loved ones and who want answers about whether different political decisions may have saved them.

Hard stuff, literally life and death. So what was trending on Twitter/X yesterday in relation to the Covid inquiry? Er ... #MarzipanDildo.

Apologies for the crude word. You're about to butt up against more of them, so strap in.

First up - the inquiry heard on Thursday that Nicola Sturgeon called Boris Johnson a "f*****g clown" in a WhatsApp message to Liz Lloyd, her most senior aide. Veritas, no?

It would be unbecoming if the First Minister had said this during a televised Covid briefing, for example when asked her thoughts on the Prime Minister's decision to announce, on Halloween 2020, an intention to lock down England for a second time.

In a message to a close colleague? It's not surprising.

In a play on this forthright presentation of her views, a satirical site quoted Ms Sturgeon as saying Liz Truss was as "About as much use as a marzipan dildo." She didn't actually, although had she done so, veritas, again.

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As at some of the earlier hearings of the inquiry, it was the unguarded bad language of Westminster Covid decision makers that captured the public imagination.

Humza Yousaf, then health secretary, is quoted in further WhatsApp messages as calling Neil Findlay, then a Scottish Labour MSP, "an arsehole" and "a tw*t" in a conversation with Professor Jason Leitch.

Mr Findlay seemed to be quite enjoying the attention, reposting every mention of the slight he could find on his Twitter/X social media feed.

But again, Mr Yousaf didn't use this language in a public briefing. One assumes, also, that Mr Leitch doesn't use such language in his Baptist sermons when he's lay preaching.

Won't someone think of Mr Yousaf's poor parents, shelling out on a Hutchie Grammar education and the best he can come up with is a naughty word like "tw*t".

If sarcasm is the lowest form of wit then becoming agitated by foul language is the lowest form of political commentary. It's fishwife-level, trading in gossip with wide eyes.

Lets all get our work WhatsApps out and see whose consciences are clear.

What was it Boris Johnson said ahead of his own inquiry appearance? "We risk mistaking sarcasm or jest for serious analysis. Dark humour is lost or morphs into mockery."

I mean, I'm pretty sure we can take Ms Sturgeon at face value when she called him a clown - that doesn't need an awful lot of deep analysis - but much of the mud-slinging is just that: a bit of salacious tittle tattle.

The pandemic was a fast-moving situation where workplaces had to adapt rapidly to new ways of remote working. Informal spaces for candid comments and the release of frustrations no longer existed.

Simultaneously, so-called government by WhatsApp was on the rise. It's a ludicrously useful way of communicating because it's handy, it's quick, it's encrypted and you can disseminate information to large groups of people at once.

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It's also - crucially - very easy to back up and the messages move with the phone number, not the mobile device. Which is why the notion of Jason Leitch accidentally losing his WhatsApp messages when he changed phones after a trip to Israel is a nonsense. Which is why the idea that messages had to be deleted from phones for security reasons - rather than backed up and stored on a central service - is a nonsense.

Yet even that should be unnecessary because the Scottish Government standard is that ministers provide a copy of WhatsApp messages relating to government business to be stored in the central record. But the inquiry would show that they have not been.

There's a lot of nonsense being revealed at the Scottish leg of the Baroness Hallett’s covid inquiry, but a few sweary words from politicians is not the important point - it's a silly sideshow. The same applied to the lurid insults spurted out by Dominic Cummings.

Opposition politicians - Douglas Ross in media appearances and at FMQs has been the worst offender - have stated baldly that "crucial evidence" has been deleted or withheld from the Inquiry. But we don't know this for a fact and what has emerged from the messages now in the public domain is far from illuminating.

What led to delays in procuring PPE for medical staff? Why were thousands of elderly hospital patients discharged into care homes, triggering outbreaks? Were lockdowns called soon enough? Why are none of the really important questions being covered?

Nicola Sturgeon's opinion ratings rose markedly during the pandemic; support for the SNP rose as did support for Scottish independence as the narrative was built that Scotland was doing better than her downstairs neighbour.

The narrative of Scottish exceptionalism - usually to be approached with extreme caution - seemed to catch the popular imagination as a calm and clear Nicola Sturgeon appeared so at odds with the chaotic Conservative government across the border.

There was no Scottish partygate, there were no Scottish long drives to check the eyesight of SpAds.

But now the SNP's popularity is on the wane, and sections of the media are pleased to uncover evidence that Sturgeon and her team had feet of clay after all.

Just remember how eagerly the nothing story of Nicola Sturgeon standing up in a restaurant to talk to two passersby was leapt on as a chance to finally have a bash at the First Minister after endless one-sided bashings of Boris and co.

Ms Sturgeon was always pragmatic during the pandemic - she would be careful to stress that her government was doing its best at a tough time and that not everything would be handled perfectly. (It would just be handled better than in England).

She committed to a Scottish covid inquiry before the Westminster government committed to the UK inquiry and she said that all communications would be kept in the interests of transparency.

Earlier this week Ken Thomson - he whose middle names are "plausible deniability", according to another of his messages - used as a joke the phrase "the information you requested is not held centrally".

He said it in response to someone in a chat thread asking if the conversation was FOI discoverable. This line is a boilerplate statement any journalist whose submitted a freedom of information request to the Scottish Government will recognise.

That's the sort of conduct it's hard to find funny. If this sort of phrasing has been kept, you wonder what has been said that was bad enough to delete.

But this week has heard astonishing evidence about school closures, lockdowns, the drive to reach "zero covid", the impact of a Scotland-only versus UK-wide approach to virus suppression.

If the Inquiry is to serve any useful purpose beyond titillation and political point-scoring these should be the key areas of focus, not WhatsApps and bad language. They only serve as a useful foil in distracting from the point, which is that the cover must be blown on any attempts to cover or deflect from a full analysis by the inquiry.