A French gentleman named Druon Gave the Telegraph something to chew on You're not like the French so get off of our bench The EU is ours to lead to oblivion
Tim at an Englishman's Castle (and Tim Worstall too) links approvingly to this Torygraph article about Maurice Druon who thinks that the British are incompatible with the EU and should therefore move into some sort of associate membership. As Tim says this is one of the very few times when I am forced to agree with a French grandee and the shock is rather brutal, however I am forced to agree that M Druon has a point. His original article was in Le Figaro (google translation here) makes perhaps better reading since not only is he talking about the EU but more importantly the conflict between "Freedom" and "Human Rights" and the Islamofascists.
[Aside: In this of course France seems to be rather more robust that dear old blighty, because in France the judges take their orders from the politicians and the relevant top pol - one Sarko - has limited tolerance for sedition-preaching scum, no matter what their rights are supposed to be under some European Convention or other. In the UK on the other hand, the judges, aided and abetted by Mrs Blair, seem determined to bend over backwards to provide every possible human right to these seditionists without worrying about the impact it has on the freedom of the rest of the inhabitants of the British Isles to go about their business without being disturbed by bombs and the like. Of course the independent judiciary in the UK does mean that should A Blair turn out to be as crooked as l'Escroc he will be doing porridge (unless that somehow infringes his human rights) not running the country, but independence does not necessarily mean wilful obstruction]
There is a good point to be made here, and it is one that M Druon makes, which is that the British way of doing things does not adapt well to the French way and vice versa. Since the EU seems to institutionally modelled after the French bureaucracy it is clear that the UK should have as little to do with it as possible lest we lose more of our freedoms in exchange for "rights" that turn out to be rather less permissive.
However there is a further point, and it is one that M Druon and his ilk should consider, and that is that the UK might not be the only country to look for such a looser relationship. The nordic countries, despite their generally more continental outlook, are also rather more sceptical of EU centralization, the Netherlands seems to be much the same as do their linguistic siblings across the border in Belgian Flanders. Quite possibly the newly joined nations of Eastern Europe would feel the same way as indeed could Eire if(when?) the Euro starts floundering.
M Druon is correct that the UK should accept associate membership of the EU but I fear he has not thought through what this means for the remainder of the EU in a political sense, let alone in a budgetary sense - recall the UK is one of the bigger net contributors.