In all the media hype surrounging the panic, I haven't heard any commentator mentioning Equitable Life. Maybe it was a very different business, but financial institutions are largely opaque to the consumer, and they generally try to cross-sell as many different products anyway. My understanding is that those who withdrew from Equitable Life earlier, even when there were explicit and punitive penalty charges, generally lost less than those who withdrew later.
If you keep your money in cash under the bed, it devalues over time and you'd better make sure your house never catches fire. There is no such thing as absolute safety. It's all very well for politicians to make goading comments about banks' lending practices after the event. The regulators sit there smugly and argue that, technically, everything is all right - it's this cosiness that smacks of Enron/Andersen and makes one wonder whether the regulation is in fact performed on the golf course.
Northern Rock is sinking, albeit more slowly now than a few days ago. When the share price stabilises - or falls low enough - someone else will buy it. We just have to hope that they were the only ones who really sailed too close to the wind.