One hesitates to console the Phoenix Four, but I doubt if they need quail at the prospect of a DTI investigation into their activities - if such a thing ever materialises.
We haven't had one of these for a bit, for the excellent reason that they rarely made a blind bit of difference to anything. Most were never published at all.
Those that were published appeared two or more years after the supposed scandals that provoked the Government of the day to "do something". By then everyone had forgotten what all the excitement had been about.
Even when DTI inspectors rightly denounced Robert Maxwell as "unfit to exercise stewardship over a public company", and Maxwell threatened to sue them, all was forgiven, almost forgotten indeed, after he rescued a collapsing printing company to which NatWest had lent a foolish sum of money.
Several reports made good reading. The tale of how " Tiny" Rowland bamboozled Princess Alexandra's husband Angus Ogilvy into granting him a dominant stake in Lonrho read like a best- seller - " Tiny", it revealed, pitched in a Rhodesian gold mine which strangely ran out of gold the moment the deal was done.
A report into murky doings at a trucking company generated headlines by describing a large gentleman who lingered outside the chairman's office as "Harry the Horse". The DTI then ordered inspectors to mind their language - and that was it. The reports lapsed into turgid lawyerese. Those involved may have read them trembling, but nobody else bothered.
If political indignation at the activities of the Four reactivates one of these delayed-action squibs, it will enable them to proclaim that they did West Midlands industry a great service.
When they bought Rover for £10 - or rather minus £ 4,999,990, allowing for the£500 million "loan" from BMW - they hoisted an alarm signal for all to see. They kept Rover going for five years, time for its suppliers to find other customers and markets.
It is starting to look as if these used the time well. The feared knock-on effects of Rover's collapse may still materialise. But so far they have been remarkably muted.
It is no consolation for those who have lost their jobs, but five years ago it would have been infinitely worse. n n n The Financial Services Authority condemns Abbey National for "putting its own interests ahead of its customers". Not unusual for a bank, you may think. Tobacco companies do it all the time, so do bookies and, depending on your point of view, plenty more besides.
The trick is stop short of the point where the customers withdraw their custom - or the FSA fines you £800,000.
For much of the time that 65,000 mortgage endowment complaints were rolling in to Abbey its chairman was Sir Terry Burns, the former head of the Treasury who rowed with Gordon Brown then produced an embarrassingly commonsensical report on fox-hunting.
Then next year Sir Terry becomes chairman of Marks & Spencer, the company that more than any other in Britain needs to coddle its customers.