It’s a funny old thing, the mobile phone, isn’t it?

Pictures, bank information, step count, emails, messages – right at your very fingertips that you can check, go back and look at and update at any moment.

Unless of course you have been instructed to delete some of that information. Important, life-defining information. Information and decisions that were made in the midst of a global pandemic.

Information that now appears to be missing in the public Covid-19 inquiry.

In the wake of a global pandemic, transparency and accountability in government have never been more critical.

The Scottish Government faced huge challenges in managing the crisis and ensuring the welfare of its citizens. However, recent accusations against Scottish Government ministers of deleting important WhatsApp messages have raised serious questions about integrity and transparency.

At first glance, it seems incomprehensible as to why a government official would opt to delete messages related to pivotal decisions during such critical times.

But there could be some reasons behind such actions, though some of them are particularly compelling, namely:

1. Avoiding Public Scrutiny: In times of crisis, governments are expected to make quick and decisive decisions but not all decisions are bound to be popular or successful. By deleting messages, officials may aim to shield themselves from criticism and accountability.

2. Controlling the Narrative: The Scottish Government loves to control the narrative, and by deleting messages officials can manipulate the information available to the public.

3. Concealing Mistakes: Mistakes were bound to happen. Nonetheless, government officials are held to a higher standard, and any mistake can have severe consequences. Deleting WhatsApp messages may be an attempt to conceal these mistakes and avoid taking responsibility.

4. Protecting Confidential Information: While the deletion of messages raises questions about transparency, it is also possible that officials did so to protect confidential information.

5. Fear of Misinterpretation: Decisions during the Covid-19 pandemic were often made with limited information and under pressure. Officials might have feared that their messages, if made public, could be taken out of context or misinterpreted, potentially causing panic or confusion.

6. Personal Protection: Finally, the decision to delete WhatsApp messages could be motivated by a desire for personal protection.

With the exception of all but number four, these reasons are symptomatic of a government mired in secrecy, shrouded in a cloak of deception and desperate to hold onto its rapidly slipping facade of competency.

It’s not on.

People lost their lives because of decisions that were made during this time and their friends and family have a right to know why their elected officials made the decisions that they did.

The integrity of government officials is paramount, especially during times of crisis when the public’s trust is on the line. Transparency and accountability should be upheld to the highest standard, and any deviation from this principle is a disservice to the citizens of Glasgow.

While there may be various reasons why government officials would choose to apparently delete important WhatsApp messages, it is an action that raises serious questions about integrity and transparency.

First Minister Humza Yousef must take these accusations seriously, ensuring accountability and upholding the principles of transparency and integrity.

Only then will the families of those who lost their lives during the Covid-19 pandemic be able to rest.