Scottish Government Budget Day is not, it must be said, one of the highlights of the political calendar.
Unlike the UK Budget, there’s no trepidation regarding what will happen to the price of a pint or packet of fags.
Instead, other than tinkering around the edges of income tax, the Budget instead is really about what will be doled out to Scotland’s public services.
Worthy, but not exactly pulse-quickening.
Thursday’s Budget was a bit different.
Derek Mackay, long seen as a possible successor to Nicola Sturgeon as first minister, resigned in disgrace this week after bombarding a 16-year-old boy with messages over Instagram and Facebook.
His last message to the boy was sent just a week ago.
Mackay described his behaviour as foolish, but given that 270 messages were sent over a period of months, predatory and disturbing would be better descriptions.
There are two issues that should be discounted before attempting to discuss Mackay’s efforts to groom the boy.
The first is his sexuality – Mackay’s behaviour is deplorable but no worse because the teenager he pursued was male. A 42-year-old man sending hundreds of texts to a 16-year-old girl calling her cute would be equally sleazy, as would a 42-year-old woman harassing a 16-year-old in the same way.
Secondly, we need to forget that the age of consent is 16. The idea that just because Mackay’s actions were not criminal makes them somehow acceptable should not be countenanced.
The reason sex education is important for teenagers is not because they are fair game for 40-somethings once they reach the age of consent, it’s that at that age they are a fizzing ball of hormones and it would be wrong to criminalise them for experimenting sexually.
Teaching them about safe sex and about consent isn’t a pathway or an invitation to licentiousness, it’s common sense.
Actual adults should be smart enough to know it’s not just wrong to exploit the vulnerabilities of youth, it’s wicked.
Mackay’s behaviour has been described as abusive and predatory. That is not an over-exaggeration.
Mackay was not just a 42-year-old man, he was arguably the second most powerful person in Scottish politics. That creates a huge imbalance of power even if you disregard the 26-year age gap, although, should you want to put that into context, if Kate Forbes, who delivered the Budget on Thursday instead, messages someone 26 years her junior she would have been texting a three-year -old.
Secondly, trying to bribe the teen with trips to rugby or even the Scottish Parliament is a clear attempt at coercion.
Even more worryingly, Mackay thought it was acceptable to message the teen – who he contacted out of the blue – again and again and again.
Mackay maybe thought he was indulging in some harmless flirtation, even when he got round to asking the age of the schoolboy. Maybe he simply liked the illicit thrill of messaging someone he shouldn’t.
Most likely Mackay is just another man who thinks possession of male genitalia and a little status means his attentions will always be welcome.
There is no escaping the fact that some men – and it is always men – seem to think that unless the subject of their desire threatens to call the police, then the behaviour is not only acceptable, but somehow welcome.
The Scottish Parliament has had relatively few sex scandals in its short history.
This one surprised Mackay’s colleagues and opponents alike. His fall from grace is unparalleled in the short history of the Scottish Parliament.
At the time of writing, Mackay remains an MSP but it is hard to see how he can remain in that role for much longer.
But the impact of the Mackay scandal – on both the SNP and therefore Scotland’s future in the UK – may be huge.
The Great Man theory of history suggests one person can change the world. Sometimes it doesn’t take a great man at all.
One in a million
It has been fewer than 18 months since V&A Dundee opened its doors to the public.
Remarkably, the museum on the city’s waterfront welcomed its millionth visitor last week.
Although the £80 million museum still has its critics, there is little doubt that it has, in a short space of time, become one of Scotland’s leading tourist attractions and has given Dundee’s profile an incalculable boost.
The challenge for city leaders in Dundee is to ensure that success helps lift the entire waterfront area and Dundee’s city centre, which, in many places, remains in the doldrums.