(05a) Europe shows its balls.
In the past, whenever Britain didn't get what it wanted within the EU, it threatened to veto the whole agreemeent, even when all other member states agreed with the changes. The veto was always used to push Europe in the direction of the interests of the UK. Rarely would the UK do something for the good of all of Europe. Of course, sometimes powers were allowed towards Europe but essential changes were always stopped. Prime Minister (PM) David Cameron knows changes are necessary in the EU because otherwise the Euro might collapse and quite often he says it. (European politicians can't devalue the Euro to make it cheaper against other countries and thus stimulate the export a little?) But then he uses his veto to block every change.
I do agree the UK does not have to accept everything from Europe. But the UK should make it clear they want to work together with the other European countries and then countries will discuss more issues with the UK. But because the UK only looks at its own interests, the rest of Europe doesn't really bother to speak with the UK.
In the past, the UK used its veto to dictate the direction of Europe to the rest of Europe without discussing too much with other members. Only the British interests were important. And as long as Europe was fine, the other countries agreed to listen to the "spoiled child" to keep it within Europe as so Europe often allowed changes to plans everyone else agreed to accept. The UK wanted to rule Europe as they ruled their empire: say "yes" to what we want and you are a friend, but disagree and we are angry.The problem now is that the European problems are so big, that Europe can't waist its time with a member that doesn't want to be in a political union (they wouldn't mind an economical union where the big money rules. How sad I have to say this about such a beloved country.).
One example: the second war against Iraque. Then PM Tony Blair decided to invade Iraque together with the USA. He announced this to the world and thought the rest of Europe would follow. Great was his surprise that large numbers of European countries didn't join the war. These countries were called "Old Europe" while those joining the war were called "New Europe". Going to war is always a leader's decision and the UK could decided to go to war. But they should allow other countries to make their own decisions. Instead of assuming the others would join the war, he should first have spoken with the other European leaders about a communal decision. But the British PM wanted to be at the centre of the world, together with the superpower, just as in the old days during the Empire. Now he told the other European leaders to follow, and of course, some of the European leaders couldn't do this while other leaders were against the war. If PM Blair accepted the UK was part of the EU and first spoke with the other leaders, all leaders could speak together to the world press and all would be happy (as they did for Libya). Germany and France would first talk with the other European countries, before declaring war to an enemy.
The problem is: most PM after PM Margaret Thatcher wants to have bigger balls than she had. She was concidered a great leader because she was a tough woman. Now her successors have to prove that they, as men, can be even harder. I always liked PM John Major as he started to change his party and accepted that Europe was necessary. He also started to allow more gay right (but many people have forgotten this as they found him boring). In general, I also liked PM Tony Blair: he decided to talk with the IRA while still punished those who continued with terrorism while PM Thatcher simply refused any talks; he also invested in the NHS and school (again something many people forget). The only problem was with Iraque where he does not allow himself to admit any mistakes (Afghanistan was a just war as the USA were attacked and Afghanistan didn't want to arrest those responsible for the attacks).
Do not understand me wrong, a country should be able to defend its interests. But when they are part of a group, they should also accept decisions made by the whole group (and thus accept the majority-vote). They should decide to be IN or OUT of Europe. When IN, they should talk with all members and try to convince the others of their ideas, but they should also accept the majority. They can also decide to go OUT of the EU and allow the rest of Europe do change itself for the better. By stopping every change in Europe, they stop democracy as democracy can only survive when the decision of the majority is accepted. Europe needs a stronger political union (however, it does not need only a stronger economical union as President Sarkozy suggests because life is more than only economy). This political Union should be based upon Federalism: there are some general rules but each member state can do it in its own way, as long as the end goal can be reached (e.g. "education for all" should not be a discussion point in Europe as a whole, but how education is done should be a matter for each individual member).
(By the way, I am against European bonds because they are demanded by the financial markets and therefore they are probably wrong: then the financial markets can bring the whole of Europe on its knees in a much easier way as they do not have to attack each individual member).