I HAVE to disagree with Eugene Cairns (Letters, July 13) – I think the First Minister and her team have got the balance just right in their presentation of the Scottish Government’s daily press briefings.

The favouring of the public health message (including on the lecterns and on the screen behind Nicola Sturgeon) over pushing the Scottish Government logo and brand, so to speak, is entirely consistent with Nicola Sturgeon’s exclusive focus on the health and safety of people in Scotland. At these briefings, the health message is all.

In addition, to many people watching, Nicola Sturgeon IS the Scottish Government in a sense. She is so strong, and strongly identifiable, in her way of communicating, her abilities and her personality – her gravitas as the FM of Scotland comes across clearly while her humanity shines through.

READ MORE: Presentation matters, especially when the Tories are belittling us

She and her team show the kind of focus, depth and confidence that don’t require the kind of window dressing needed by leaders of lesser ability. When it comes to empty blowhards like Johnson and Trump, let’s face it, in-yer-face flags and bombastic presentation are all they have – they’re aw mooth n nae breeks!

One of the other differences between the Scottish Government and UK Government briefings which I particularly appreciate is the presence of the British Sign Language interpreters in the former. The interpreter moves between the three podiums and stands (socially distancing!) alongside whoever is speaking.

In the UK briefings, the BSL interpreter wasn’t shown on the BBC1 broadcast of the briefings – you had to switch to the BBC News channel where you would find the sign language interpreter consigned to a separate room, standing beside a screen featuring Johnson or whoever else had drawn the short straw that day. So those relying on having a sign language interpreter communicate the content of these briefings were effectively sidelined. To me, this was entirely consistent with how the UK Government treats disabled people.

That presentation – ie the wood-panelled room and those stupidly displayed Union jacks (with the red-on-white St George’s Cross made to look particularly prominent) flanking Johnson and co in the main broadcast – took precedence over lesser considerations such as inclusion/helping people to feel included, said it all.

As someone who is not uncritical of the Scottish Government/the SNP or of Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership, I have to say that my admiration of her grows daily. She is carrying a massive weight on her shoulders and doing so with great ability, forbearance and grace. As Eugene himself said in his letter, her daily appearances are “very effective” – without the need for any in-yer-face marketing of the Scottish Government. Perhaps the more subtle presentation in this respect has actually helped? No wonder Jackson Car-Lot et al are throwing their toys out of the proverbial pram, calling the briefings a party political broadcast, etc – they know that even Unionists are impressed by the FM. Let them continue to belittle us – it just exposes how petty they are at a time like this and shows their Unionist cause/priorities in a rather unflattering light.

Mo Maclean

REGARDING the letter from Eugene Cairns about Nicola Sturgeon’s daily briefings perhaps being lacking. At one time I could see the advantage of props surrounding speakers, which perhaps gave them a confidence boost in their speaking. But with the passage of time I have changed my attitude and realise presentation skills are what matter in holding an audience attention. Not props.

Nicola’s briefings don’t need that boost. She and her colleagues have the requisite confidence, which shows in their verbal presentations, without emblem distractions. The Saltire support is for other occasions where the conveying of a message is perhaps necessary for that support, perhaps in a political sense. Her broadcasted briefings are not intended as political broadcasts – despite attempts by journalists to make them so with their questions.

W D Mill Irving