Nicola Sturgeon is fond of a metaphor, often describing the “race” between Covid infections and the vaccine.
So it was no wonder she appeared determined this week to get in front of the astonishing tirades of lies and misinformation being yelled from the streets by dangerous conspiracists.
It was depressing beyond words to listen to the son of former nurse Kate Shemarani explain, frankly, how he thought she was lost in a “God complex”.
Sebastian calmly explained how the lies had taken hold of his mum, who was earlier filmed at a rally in London suggesting medical professionals promoting public safety should suffer something similar to the Nuremberg trials. It was shocking to see, but it was lapped up by a crowd in an alarming way.
"My mum is definitely beyond help… It's impossible to talk to somebody when they've got that level of God complex"
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) July 26, 2021
We’re at a critical moment. One which demands clear messaging from government and trust in the institutions that run our lives.
Ms Sturgeon drew on that in her latest public briefing on Covid in Scotland. She called out the anti-vaccination cranks who spread falsehoods, saying they’re putting people at risk.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t people with genuine concerns. But that’s where facts and trust come in.
Don’t just share meaningless conspiracy online, it’s more important than ever to seek out facts. That’s certainly the job we’re signed up to here.
Scotland’s race against Covid
If the message is to be understood, it has to be clear. But an unhelpful row over targets and word choice threatened to undermine that.
The First Minister’s appeal for reason risked backfiring in a spectacular way in a self-confessed “rant” about the difference between being “offered” and “given” the vaccine.
To recap, the Scottish Government had pledged to give second doses to the 40-49 age group by July 26. By that date, around 75% of the group were fully covered.
Ms Sturgeon later switched to saying it was about “offering” jabs by that date, claiming – correctly – that no one could compel people to take up the vaccine.
But either way you slice it, the public deserves better than hearing politicians try to settle scores. Tuesday’s ill-tempered reaction from the First Minister only gave more ammunition to opponents when everyone really needs to focus on the prize.
We’ve all needed to strain our imaginations to find any silver linings in the grim cloud of the past 18 months, but there was some help with that this week.
The particular cloud in this attempt to torture an analogy starts with the Scottish men’s football team’s inability to make it the second stage of the Euros.
The early highs were fun, the inspirational 0-0 victory over England a highlight. But it all came crashing down again in a predictable way.
Then the Covid cases spiked and the youngsters going bananas in Trafalgar Square got the blame.
Turns out it could have been a lot worse if Scotland had miraculously progressed to the knock-out stages.
Safely tucked up at home, our case rates started to fall while the party in England roared on.
The link was made by a health expert this week as we nervously tip-toe out of restrictions. Mark Woolhouse told the BBC that Scotland’s failure may well have helped our infection rates tale off quicker.
It doesn’t stop there. England got beaten and football went to Rome, securing me victory with Italy in a sweepstake. Silver linings all round.