Who would have thought that what began with a Hollywood scandal would end – or rather continue – with the resignation of a Scottish Government minister?

The statement from Mark McDonald on Saturday evening saw fallout from the Harvey Weinstein scandal land in Scotland, and it seems likely there’ll be more to come.

That Scotland should become involved seems to have caught some politicians and commentators by surprise. Interviewed early last week, Deputy Presiding Officer Christine Grahame even suggested the “whole layout” of Holyrood meant sexual harassment was less likely than at Westminster.

The Scottish Parliament, emphasised Grahame, was “different” from the British Parliament. Similarly, on these pages Iain Macwhirter said Holyrood was “supposed to be different”, having grown out of a “civic movement” priding “itself on being everything that Westminster is not”. Both also made the curious claim that there was “no late-night drinking culture” at Holyrood. There certainly is, both at evening receptions and in nearby bars.

This, therefore, takes Scottish exceptionalism into rather absurd territory. As the Presiding Officer Ken Mackintosh pointed out, given that we’re operating within a generally sexist culture, Scotland’s Parliament was never going to be “immune” from what’s happening. Holyrood is, after all, a large building full of men.

Indeed, McDonald’s strangely-worded statement reminded me of others under the spotlight who’ve struggled to find the right language. Kevin Spacey says he couldn’t recall one of the incidents in question; Sir Michael Fallon thought his behaviour acceptable “10 years ago” but not now; Mark McDonald has been told his actions were “inappropriate” but doesn’t necessarily agree.

As with the expenses scandal which rocked Westminster almost a decade ago (the Scottish Parliament had its own earlier on), this will touch everyone, which partly explains why party leaders like Ruth Davidson and Nicola Sturgeon spent much of last week trying to get ahead of the curve.

Davidson, for example, was widely praised for her comments about the “dam” having “broken” following Sir Michael Fallon’s resignation, and that the “boys’ own locker-room culture” of “male-dominated professions” had to end. The former Scottish Tory candidate Stuart Cullen was also suspended from the party over a sexual assault claim (which, it should be added, he denies).

Likewise, the First Minster made a point of appealing to senior members of her party to “reflect” on their behaviour several days before McDonald emerged as one of two SNP figures under investigation. And yesterday, Labour MSP Monica Lennon spoke out about her own experience of sexual assault, prompting leadership contender Richard Leonard to support an independent reporting mechanism, not just for the party he wants to lead, but for “all workplaces”.

Other parties will only escape getting drawn into this by virtue of being too small, but there will be no exceptions, nor will male victims be exempt from what one can only assume will be a steady stream of testimonials. The moral high ground, in this instance, won’t offer any refuge. No individual, no party and no institution will be “different”.

It seems likely, meanwhile, the previous week will constitute a tipping point. A lot of women, frankly, have had a hell of a time over the past few decades and something has to give. “I am taking back control,” said the journalist Jane Merrick on revealing her own experience of Sir Michael Fallon, a much more satisfying use of that phrase than its recent deployment in the political lexicon.

But what form should the response take? If the expenses scandal is anything to go by, it’ll be difficult to control. Although there were clear instances of illegality when it came to claims from MPs, there were also a lot of lower-order expenses that really weren’t resignation issues.

Now obviously, I’m not saying the two issues are comparable, but there is a need for perspective. Rape, the most serious allegation of all, is not the same as a brushed knee, which isn’t to excuse the latter as somehow acceptable. If there does exist a “catalogue” of incidents, then they need to be supported by detail rather than innuendo.

The recently-leaked list of Tory MPs’ “handsy” behaviour illustrates this point. Not only have several of those named strenuously (and credibly) denied any wrong doing, but some listings described nothing more than a consensual sexual relationship between two consenting adults.

And as others have pointed out, we’re operating by a rather curious moral code if Messrs Fallon and McDonald are deemed unfit for ministerial office but not continuing to represent their constituents at Westminster and Holyrood. Full-blown moral panics are not a pretty sight. Like politics, this is not – and cannot be treated as – a black-and-white issue.

There has been talk of it turning into a “witch hunt”. As the Labour MP Harriet Harman said the other day, it’s not that, and (so far) it hasn’t been blown out of all proportion, as others have claimed, but that doesn’t mean it won’t become something which sweeps all before it, good and bad, guilty and innocent.

At the same time, there are positives in all of this. Late last week, the Conservative Party published a new code of conduct and swiftly adopted a new complaints procedure, which’ll most likely compel other parties to follow suit. Today, the Prime Minister will meet opposition party leaders to discuss proposals for a new grievance system covering Westminster staff and MPs.

And, as with the expenses scandal (although I’d argue the response went too far in that case, actually costing taxpayers more), it will inevitably change people’s behaviour. Any male politician thinking of behaving inappropriately will now be acutely conscious of the consequences. But, in the meantime, hold on to your seats, it’s going to be a bumpy ride, but arguably an overdue and necessary one.