The National:

THE Scottish Government’s daily Covid briefings have become something of a staple in the daily ritual of the pandemic.

I’m sure my routine is fairly typical of many of us trying to work from home right now: get up, make a strong pot of coffee, sit down for a few hours of work, get the telly on in the hope of some good news from the First Minister and then venture out for a dose of fresh air and some exercise before another afternoon’s monotony sat at my kitchen table.

As the weeks go by, life in a pandemic doesn’t get any easier. But the daily reassurance of where we’re at, whether we are headed in the right direction, that the vaccination programme is well underway and that, some day, life can return to some semblance of normal gives everyone a much needed injection of sanity.

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The Scottish Government this week produced its regular update of public attitudes during the pandemic. Alongside tracking the cases, the tragic deaths, the R number and the number of jags in arms, this is a vital part of assessing the wellbeing of the nation, whether public information at a critical time is proving effective and generally giving the government the tools it needs to keep us safe.

The findings show Scotland is a bit down in the dumps. We’re worried about kids’ futures, we’re concerned about our jobs, we’re lonely, we’re all a bit scunnered. But we recognise the need for ongoing restrictions and we are, for the most part, eager to get the vaccine.

The vast majority of us trust the Scottish Government to act in our best interests, and that is critical to the challenge we face.

The National:

The main source of information regarding coronavirus in these testing times is the First Minister’s daily briefing. People are three times more likely to tune in to hear Nicola Sturgeon, Jeane Freeman, Gregor Smith or Jason Leitch at 12.15pm than they are to log on to the main NHS Inform website, or catch up with the latest on social media.

The regularity is comforting, but more importantly it’s vital in terms of keeping us safe. None of us like the laws and the impingement upon our freedom to go where we want and see who we choose. But the less we understand what is going on the less likely we are to stick by the rules.

Ultimately, though guided by expert advice, it’s the First Minister and her cabinet making the big calls and keeping the wheels turning in the face of a miserable situation all round. It is right, therefore, that she is subject to daily scrutiny for decisions made and when things sometimes go wrong.

We are within 100 days of a Holyrood election, so perhaps we should be unsurprised that political parties are on manoeuvres.

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Scottish Secretary Alistair Jack wants Nicola Sturgeon off the briefings. He moaned that “the pandemic has given the First Minister a platform. I point my finger directly at BBC Scotland for that”, before claiming that the Scottish Government could learn a thing or two from Downing Street about how to do things properly.

Grow up.

A gagging order on the First Minister should not be determined by Boris Johnson’s inability to command trust and showing leadership.

From the latest polls, the Tories can see they are on a hiding to nothing in May. They might gain more credit for behaving like adults. But increasingly shrill, panicked, childish, dangerous swipes at daily briefings upon which lives depend is playing bad politics with public health.