IT started with the Scottish Tories, as so many sad stories do.

Around the time that the UK government decided to scrap their own daily briefing, the Scottish Tories were suddenly of the belief that it was wrong for the BBC to give the Scottish government airtime to relay public health messages during a global pandemic. Funny that.

While Jackson Carlaw may have made mention of it during interviews and a few Tory MSPs grumbled about it on Twitter, they were hesitant to go too hard. Most likely because they were aware of how utterly ludicrous it would seem to the public.

READ MORE: Jackson Carlaw: Covid briefings are 'SNP party political broadcasts'

Enter, Scottish Labour: never knowingly underperformed.

With one eye on the upcoming Holyrood elections, Jackie Baillie decided to write to BBC Scotland to get to the bottom of this most curious of cases. What possible reason could there be for Nicola Sturgeon to be on the telly more often than Richard Leonard these days?

“Given the drastic improvement in case figures, I feel that an hour a day, five days a week for government broadcasting is no longer appropriate.

“These briefings are no longer used to relay information but have become increasingly political. This would be a hugely inappropriate use of public money at any time, but with less than 10 months to go until a national election, I feel very strongly that these briefings cannot be allowed to continue in the current format.”

Yes, political parties can care and complain about more than one thing at a time. But during a health crisis is it too much to ask that they stick to things that are actually relevant to the public?

Opposition parties aren’t going to get as much airtime as the party of government right now. They’re not in charge of running the country. They also won’t have their pandemic response strategy interrogated by journalists, because they’re not running the country. They won’t be blamed for any mistakes, outbreaks or avoidable deaths, because they’re not running the country.

Should we give Richard Leonard and Jackson Carlaw their own wee podium spot each day just to help soothe their fragile egos? The daily briefings are already being scaled back. Should we cut them back even further, as Jackie Baillie suggests? I wonder which part she would like to do away with. The bit where the First Minister explains the current rules around lockdown and reminds people of their responsibilities, or the bit where journalists question the First Minister directly?

The claim that the Covid briefings are not as important now because fewer people are dying is completely irresponsible.

The changes to the rules during this phase of lockdown are extensive and complex. The biggest risk we face right now is complacency. Test and Protect won’t work if the Scottish public don’t understand it and comply with it.

We know what this is really about. Leonard and Carlaw are worried Nicola Sturgeon is making them look bad. That isn’t opposition, it’s self-indulgence.

READ MORE: Unionists are absolutely fuming about SNP-branded face masks

I reject the idea that opposition parties and the press should be expected to cheer on the government just because the times we are in are so unprecedented and grave.

Scrutiny, challenge and debate is more important than ever, which is why this focus on the trivial is so frustrating. In their pursuit of an easy headline, opposition parties are giving the Scottish Government a free pass. If this is what they ‘’feel very strongly’’ about then what are they missing? The daily briefings are not perfect and neither is the Scottish Government. If this is what opposition parties are wasting their time on then they’re not doing their jobs properly.

If this is the best they’ve got, is it any wonder that recent polling suggests that their best isn’t good enough?