It is not a good idea just now to go to Geordieland mouthing the mantra that Northern Rock was an accident waiting to happen.

So the when the CBI's Richard Lambert went to Newcastle last night to speak at his organisation's local annual dinner, he noted instead that some of the people now indulging in hindsight were themselves recommending Rock shares at more than £12 earlier this year.

Anyway, what were the regulators doing when the Rock embarked on its doomed expansion?

More recently, what happened in the four weeks after August 14, the day City authorities became aware of trouble at the Rock and the news that the Bank of England had stepped in as lender of last resort?

How come that governor Mervyn King discovered only too late that a traditional Bank of England rescue executed secretly over a weekend was no longer legal?

The Financial Services Authority insists the Rock was always solvent, exceeding its regulatory capital requirements and with a good quality loan book, so what price solvency and capital requirements?

All good questions.

Yet we ended up with depositors queuing in the streets and staying there, regardless of assurances from the Bank and everybody else, until a rattled Chancellor put unlimited taxpayers' money squarely on the line.

A bank run, Mr Lambert pointed out, is something that happens in the movies, or occasionally in a banana republic.

Britain prides itself on being a global centre of financial excellence, yet this run happened here at a time when both the economy and the banking system were in good shape and the independent Bank had presided over a decade of stability and low interest rates.

Have no illusions about the damage, either - witness yesterday's survey showing that nearly half the British now distrust banks, all banks.

The failed "tripartite" system, whereby the Bank, the FSA and the Treasury share the task of monitoring the stability of individual banks and the wider financial system will have to be sorted out.

So will guarantees for bank deposits. It will be easy to make things worse. Mr Lambert warned against a return to Chancellor Darling's "good old-fashioned banking", with rationed mortgages and where "managers of small businesses were submitted to more or less humiliating interrogations by their over-mighty branch managers".

Well, computers have come to stay. So have derivatives and clever, competitive individuals who can devise new ones and package them up.

If they cannot do so in Britain, they will go off to some country that lets them. The trick is to have regulators who understand what they are up to - plus time and inclination to read documents like the Rock's interim results.

The lack of takers for the Bank's £10 billion auction yesterday was understandable.

The money would have cost 6.75 per cent and banks could borrow three-months' cash at 6.32 per cent yesterday in the market, the lowest rate for six weeks.

Fine, so far as it goes, but this drama still has a while to run.