FORMER first minister Nicola Sturgeon gave her much anticipated evidence to the UK Covid Inquiry which the Scottish media closely watched in hopes of a 'gotcha' moment, on the basis of her measured and confident performance but, they look to be sadly disappointed.

Nevertheless, that hasn't stopped BBC Scotland from publishing an article with the lurid headline: 'Nicola Sturgeon's reputation on the line at UK Covid Inquiry'.

No, Pacific Quay, it really isn't.

What is on the line here is the reputation of the British media in Scotland, which has treated this inquiry as an excuse to indulge in childish and overwrought point scoring against their favourite targets in the SNP and Scottish Government.

In doing so, it has done a grave disservice to the victims of the pandemic and their families.

The National:

Given the hysterical and over the top reaction of the anti-independence media you'd think it was Sturgeon who said something as callous as "let the bodies pile high," had liberally larded out PPE contracts to her mates, pushed for a herd immunity approach while deliberately allowing mass gatherings, ignored scientific advice and introduced an expensive scheme to open up restaurants which led to a huge spike in Covid deaths - all while she was hosting drunken and raucous parties in Bute House.

It's hard to escape the conclusion that irrespective of what comes out in today's evidence session, the anti-independence press is already preparing its stories telling us that Sturgeon's reputation has been damaged.

They've already reported that, in advance of whatever she says and well in advance of the enquiry report and its conclusions. They've even been telling us all what questions she has to answer. Whatever she said today will make no difference to their reporting.

READ MORE: SNP reject claims of Nicola Sturgeon 'burner phones' in Covid lockdown

What we are currently witnessing is the desperate attempt of a Scottish media which, in its overwhelming opposition to independence, is wildly out of kilter with the true spread of Scottish public opinion.

It's trying to manufacture a moral and political equivalence between a Scottish Government whose handling of the pandemic was broadly competent, but of course not entirely perfect, with a grossly corrupt, chaotic, and grossly incompetent Conservative government in Westminster.

Any failure of the Scottish Government will be seized on and spun into a tale of outrage which perpetuates a false "they're all as bad as one another" narrative.

READ MORE: Questions about questions in Nicola Sturgeon's Covid Inquiry session

We have had acres of press coverage of Sturgeon's WhatsApp messages from a press and an inquiry which just shrugged its shoulders and said, "Oh well what a shame," when Johnson and Sunak blatantly lied in order to avoid handing over theirs.

This narrative has been put forward in a cloud of substance free insinuation, we are still waiting for anyone to tell us what terrible crimes the Scottish Government was supposedly covering up.

It's going to be a long wait.

The anti-independence media has already succeeded in its mud slinging campaign, a campaign which was always aimed at providing cover for the appalling and utterly unacceptable misbehaviour of the current Conservative regime in Westminster.

Meanwhile in other news...

Another day, another Keir Starmer U-turn.

Labour Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves has confirmed that a future Labour government will not reinstate a cap on bankers' bonuses. Just last year, Anas Sarwar described the decision of Liz Truss to scrap the cap on bonuses for bankers as "economically illiterate and morally bankrupt".

The cap had been introduced in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis in order to limit huge annual pay outs to bankers.

The pursuit of such enormous bonuses had led bankers to take huge gambles with other people's money, precipitating the crash of 2008.

The National: Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves (Peter Byrne/PA)

Even after the cap was introduced it still allowed those in the industry to receive a bonus of up to twice their annual salary.

Reeves told the BBC: "The cap on bankers’ bonuses was brought in in the aftermath of the global financial crisis and that was the right thing to do to rebuild the public finances. But that has gone now and we don't have any intention of bringing that back.

“And as chancellor of the exchequer, I would want to be a champion of a successful and thriving financial services industry in the UK."

Reeves had previously been a strong critic of the Conservatives' decision to axe the cap in the midst of a cost of living crisis.

Now, she's telling us it's just fine for the wealthy to get even richer even as Labour insists that there is no money to put into improving the public services and infrastructure which the Tories have trashed. Has anyone seen Anas?

Commenting on the latest U-turn at PMQs today, SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn noted that convincing the Labour party to agree to a "bleak future" for the UK is the Tories' "greatest achievement."

He said: "When the Tories scrapped the cap on bankers bonuses in the autumn during a cost-of-living crisis, the Labour Party rightly opposed it. Yet here we are just three months later, and the Labour Party support scrapping the cap on bankers bonuses. Shameful."

READ MORE: UK Covid Inquiry only follows 'DownWithTheSNP' on Twitter

SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson said: "Labour coming out in support of Tory plans for unlimited bankers' bonuses will be a surprise to nobody - but yet again it shows how little influence their Scottish branch office has."

But hey - Nicola Sturgeon's WhatsApps.

There's now a call for an inquiry into the Covid inquiry after it emerged that the official Twitter account of the UK Covid Inquiry only follows one other account, an account called @DownWithTheSNP.

The account bio states: "Just a bloke. Pro-Beer and Sports. Anti-SNP, Covid & Net-Zero Nonsense. Trust in God not government."

Sounds like the typical demographic for G Beebies News. A spokesperson for the inquiry claimed that the account had been followed "in error".