Voices are heard from the British Is­lands that are highly critical of Mr. Reagan’s decision to do something about that other little island–Grenada. Let us take a brief peek at what for the last two centuries has been called in history books the perfidyof Albion. Once it was a world calamity, but today it seems more like the annoying fuming of a has-been.

Mrs. Thatcher, a lady rather admired on these shores, quite vehemently scolded the U.S. for its actions. Grenada is formally a member of the British Com­monwealth, so it would be natural that, when the Queen’s own governor is practically imprisoned by Marxist ­Leninist gangsters, the kingdom would do something about it–not to mention that the neighboring islands, also Com­monwealth members, implored Britain for protection. But Britain, a sclerotic lion that knows the limits to which she can taunt a very robust and equally un­predictable bear, chose to do nothing. Once Reagan had made it clear that he is not overly concerned about the bear’s sensitivities, some British conservatives made snide remarks that his move was intended to boost his domestic political fortunes–a stance that deserves moral censure. Suddenly, what happened in elections subsequent to the Tories’ own little war in the Falklands was conveniently forgotten, as was our not so tacit support for our British “cousins” that has cost us a lot of Latin American good will.

The London press scornfully repri­manded us on the freedom-of-the-press issue: no correspondent was allowed to accompany the American task force in the Caribbean. No mention was made of the fact that Mrs. Thatcher, during the Falkland enterprise, permitted the British media to photograph only the Union Jack flying proudly from the warships and smiling faces of embarking patriotic paratroopers. Anyone who lived through Vietnam will recall how our media interviewed enemy propagandists and how much footage, or column inches, they were given in our press.

For many years prior to World War I, Britain and her royalty projected a most tender love for the Kaiser’s Germany. Then it went to war on the side of France and Czarist Russia, and angry Germans carried placards that read “God Punish England!” during street demonstrations. We do not ask God for retribution. But we do suggest that, having lost an empire, Britain could now relax a bit and afford both a sense of shame and a sense of fairness.