Two aspects of the Gerry Kelly incident last year, in which the North Belfast MLA clung to a police vehicle in a bid to prevent the removal of an arrested teen, were extraordinary in their shamelessness.
The first was the way in which the Old Bailey bomber was utterly unembarrassed as he tried to block the vehicle.
He seemed to be confident that the police would obey his command to stop, and when this turned out not to be the case republican activists immediately published footage of Mr Kelly’s obstruction online (as if he was the victim).
The second extraordinary feature of the affair was the way in which Mr Kelly began a civil action against the police over his treatment. It is true that these proceedings were dropped amid the uproar, but it is disturbing that we live in such a compensation-and-human-rights-for-wrongdoers society that a legal case of that nature could under any circumstances be contemplated.
If any episode illustrated the nationalist grievance culture, and the way in which it is indulged by the authorities, it was that one.
It was no surprise to the law-abiding community when the episode failed to result in proper action against Mr Kelly.
The authorities, in the broadest sense of that word, are very keen to keep Sinn Fein on board, in case their more thuggish followers contemplate a return to terror (which, as the daily court cases and arrests of dissidents show, very many of them are not merely contemplating, but are actually doing).
And if the authorities are keen to keep Sinn Fein on board, then the SDLP often simultaneously tries to out-green the republican party (a doomed endeavour).
The latest manifestation of that was yesterday’s thwarting by the SDLP of the suspension of Mr Kelly from the Assembly for five days after he accepted an informed warning about that incident.
The Alliance Party summed this up well yesterday, when Stewart Dickson MLA said that Mr Kelly’s admission (in effect) that he broke the law was “a clear breach of the code of conduct”.