I think we all have to accept that Groundspeak is a multi million dollar business and we have to play by their rules or not at all. It is not an association or a committee which can be influenced and they don’t really seem to care what their members think – and it’s not just the Brits, there are plenty of disgruntled US members as well. Not long ago they introduced that little tab on the left edge of every screen which took you to a suggestion site – that soon disappeared as they got so much criticism on it. As you say, the two alternatives are not really worth considering, so if you want to geocache you really have to embrace Groundspeak.
One thing we could all do which would help, is to refuse to place any premium member only caches. I have argued before against their use, but still COs insist on placing them (including that new 60+ series on Bodmin Moor). If we refused to place such caches fewer people would feel the need to take up Premium Membership.