Let the light in on Covid phone messages of Scotland's leaders - Jackie Baillie
The ability, not only elect to representatives, but to scrutinise and hold them to account is fundamental to our democracy.
But over the past few years, governments north and south of the border have run a coach and horses through this vital principle.
The pandemic was one of the most earth-shattering and momentous events to happen in recent history.
It caught everyone - the public, politicians and even scientists - by surprise.
But while allowances can be made for decisions made in the heat of the moment, the lessons of the pandemic must be learned and those in power who made fatal mistakes must be held to account.
We know that decisions taken at ministerial level put lives in danger.
No more potent example of this can be seen than in Scotland’s care homes.
The decision to discharge untested and even Covid-positive patients into care homes fanned the flames of the virus and put the lives of thousands of Scotland’s most vulnerable people in danger.
This - and scores of decisions like it - have had sometimes tragic consequences for millions across our country and have torn families apart.
The need for full disclosure over how these decisions were taken and what discussion was had is self evident.
The human rights of thousands of Scots were disregarded - the people affected have a right to know how those in power justified their actions.
Ever since the pandemic, the families affected have fought for answers and justice.
The Scottish Parliament’s Covid-19 inquiry is now tasked with getting to the truth of this matter.
This week, bereaved families have called for the WhatsApp messages, texts and emails of key political figures - including former health minister Jeane Freeman and former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon - be handed over to the inquiry.
There must be no resistance in providing the inquiry with the necessary messages, once a request has been made.
Grieving families deserve answers about what went so tragically wrong during the pandemic and those in charge at the time owe them real transparency.
The SNP Government cannot break their promise to co-operate fully with the Covid inquiry.
Any attempt to withhold information or cover their tracks will be a betrayal of the same people they failed during the pandemic.
Boris Johnson and his Tory colleagues have form with dodging the work of inquiries and committees. However on this occasion it looks like Mr Johnson is desperate to assist the inquiry, perhaps to expose the failings of his cabinet ministers, including Rishi Sunak.
And we know that at every turn, the SNP seek to cover their tracks and when confronted by the truth they attempt to spin their way out of their failures.
After all, under the SNP we have the grotesque situation of a scandal-hit health board spying on families affected by preventable deaths at Glasgow’s flagship hospital.
But this issue is far too important for the usual SNP tricks.
It’s time for full disclosure.
When the Scottish Parliament opened, one of our nation’s finest poets - Edwin Morgan - wrote :
“Open the doors! Light of the day, shine in; light of the mind, shine out! “
I could not agree more. Sunlight is the finest disinfectant. Let’s open the doors, open the books, and let the light of the truth shine in.