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Comment: Brown’s apology to Alan Turing is not good enough

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  1. Bravo, I am in complete agreement. Apologising for unjust treatment of a celebrated lgbt person always carries an implication, however unintended, that pushing the others around doesn’t matter so much; and ‘apologising’ for the iniquities of the past by people who can have no connection with them smacks of egotism and self-indulgence. Remember Blair’s cringe-making ‘apology’ for the Irish potato famine of the 1840s? These declarations also usually manage to suggest that ‘everything’s ok now isn’t it?’
    Turing’s appalling treatment and that of thousands of other gay men at the time – and before and after – certainly needs to be acknowledged and deplored repeatedly by Prime Ministers as well as other prominent figures. ‘Apologies’ are due from the people who actually do the dirty – and those are usually not so forthcoming!

  2. Gene Touchet 11 Sep 2009, 2:13pm

    While Mr. Chinardet makes excellent points, it is likely his commentary is going to be viewed as “give ‘em an inch and they’ll want a mile” by non-involved non-gays.

  3. I think this makes a valid point, however the other point is that if you don’t ask, you don’t get. The petition didn’t state “we demand an apology and a pardon for all gay people persecuted under this law, including Alan Turing” it merely implied it.
    I think there is something to be said for raising awareness with a figurehead such as Turing or Oscar Wilde, but the downside is that the unenlightened masses tend to think that’s the end of the story.
    I seem to remember Ruby Wax had a similar point in a stand-up routine where she was satirising the superficial attitudes underlining racial equality measures in the US.
    To paraphrase “We said to them, you can be one of us, as long as you sing like Aretha Franklin or have a gold medal round your neck”.
    The danger of positive role models is I’ve encountered many homophobes who admit to liking the odd gay celebrity but think the rest of us can go hang. It’s as if only famous or successful gays merit equal rights.
    The only way to challenge that attitude is to require pardons and apologies for everyone prosecuted under that law, not just for gay people who happened to have stopped WWII or written “The Picture of Dorian Gray”.

  4. Well said, Nicholas.

    The PMs apology and praise of Turing is gracious and appropriate, but what about an official pardon for him and the other 100,000 men whose lives were destroyed by their homphobic ‘gross indecency’ convictions?

    Let’s keep up the pressure.

  5. I don’t think ANY apology was necessary, however, pardoning him because of him being a “famous gay” who cracked the Nazi code amoung other achievements is not valid from my view! At the time he was prosecuted he was a criminal. And therefore treated like one. As for his work, that I think needed to be recognised, yet pardoning the man is nonsense!! If in 50 years they brought paedophilia or beastiality to be legal, I would not expect an apology for any famous people who were charged of those crimes. (I am gay so this is not some rant by a homophobic person)

  6. Monkeychops 11 Sep 2009, 3:31pm

    Whilst it is a shame that people have been treated this way in the past, it is very much in the past – leave it there. If you start demanding apologies from a PM who was three when this man died and who certainly had no role in the treatment he received, then you have to demand apologies on behalf of ALL victims of injustice throughout the history of the world. We cannot make this man an exception just because we believe it’s ok to be gay today. Or because he was a genius. And, despite how unfair it seems to us today, the law at the time stated that what he was doing was illegal – he knew that and he still did it. Cry human rights violations all you want, but we cannot transpose today’s standards on decisions made over half a century ago. We all have to live according to the laws we have in place at the moment when a crime is committed, we can’t just pick and choose from eras that take our fancy. Should cannabis be legalised in 20 years, are we supposed to quash all the convictions of those locked up for possession and dealing when it was prohibited? NO, absolutely not. We can’t warp to another system and another time for political or personal gain like that, it’s very cheap. All it does is show how much our community is obsessed with finding victims for us to wheel out to the press to get attention. If we want to carry on with this apologising stuff, then it means:

    -The Norwegians/Danes apologising to the UK for the rape and pillage by their ancestors, the Vikings
    -The French must make the inhabitants of Normandy apologise for killing King Harold and then oppressing speakers of English (grossly violating their human rights by today’s standards)
    -Barclay’s Bank needs to apologise to all black individuals because it was founded on profits from the slave trade
    -Angela Merkel needs to apologise to every last individual killed or unjustly treated by the Nazi regime (we’ll be there a while)
    -The UK/France/Spain/tens of other countries must apologise to every country they invaded, colonised and looted
    -All children should be apologised to because our ancestors made children work down mines, in chinmneys and infactories etc…

    Do people not see how ridiculous this is? It’s a waste of time and resources and detracts from the work we should be doing now – fighting injustices that are happening NOW and where intervention can actually have an effect. Dragging up the past is pointless, move on guys. It’s terrible that this man was treated this way, but as the author of the article suggests, it should be all or nothing when it comes to apologising to victims. Instead, we should just learn from the mistakes made by our forefathers and do our utmost to avoid history repeating. I’d rather the PM was apologising to and assisting the people of Iraq and Afghanistan for the trouble his government has left them in than focusing on an isolated case of what was, in the eyes of the law of the time, a justified conviction.

  7. Monkeychops 11 Sep 2009, 3:33pm

    Evan – finally someone who sees sense and isn’t intent on strengthening victim culture. Turing was obviously a genius and I’m glad for what he did re Enigma, but as you point out, he was a criminal. Being a criminal is dependent purely on the law in place, it’s not a universal moral value.

  8. Sheesh, did you even think at all before banging out this piece of rubbish on your keyboard?

    First a minor point: People would be kept *in* the closet, not *into* the closet.

    Second, you ask “why Alan Turing should be singled out”. Well, precisely because he was a mathematical genius whose work during the war was so valuable that it made a significant difference to our war effort. That’s the whole point, or didn’t you notice?

    Much of the final few paragraphs could have been omitted, with benefit to the clarity and cogency of your argument. Your mention of slavery shows that you seem to be unaware of just how deeply that institution was part and parcel of African history, long before the coming of the whites, and continues there long after they left. It is particularly offensive in the way you ignore the phenomenon of white slavery, where for many hundreds of years the the Barbary Pirates raided towns all over the Atlantic coasts of Europe, from Spain to Norway, and selling their captives in the slave markets of north Africa. *That*’s not often mentioned in the discussion of reparations.

    The one decent point that you manage to make is that Turing deserves a full pardon. What a pity you had to write so much dross before you made it.

  9. CommanderThor 11 Sep 2009, 4:15pm

    evan and Monkeychops, you both got it wrong. The crime of homosexuality and the crime of paedophilia are not comparable.

    The former (homosexuality) involves conscent to take part in a victimless and natural activity bringing pleasure to both parties.

    The second one (paedophilia) involves an act that ends up irreparably damaging one of the two parties. It causes distress and emotional scars to the child.

    The latter is indeed a crime from any moral perspective, yet the former shouldn’t have been a crime in the first place.

  10. Let’s just keep up the pressure for a pardon, and a public recognition of his place in history. He was known to be a homosexual while he worked at Bletchley, but the authorities closed their eyes to it because it was in the national interest to have his services. What hypocrites! And nothing changes.

  11. Monkeychops 11 Sep 2009, 5:02pm

    Gerard

    “First a minor point: People would be kept *in* the closet, not *into* the closet”

    1) It’s a bit pompous and pedantic to correct someone’s grammar, you have no idea whether or not there are a native speaker and 2) I didn’t actually mention being kept in the closet AT ALL. Actually, no-one has on this page. Don’t misquote me and, moreover, don’t invent paragraphs that don’t exist. It says a lot about your willingness to twist what is before you and that is quite concerning.

    “Your mention of slavery shows that you seem to be unaware of just how deeply that institution was part and parcel of African history, long before the coming of the whites, and continues there long after they left. It is particularly offensive in the way you ignore the phenomenon of white slavery, where for many hundreds of years the the Barbary Pirates raided towns all over the Atlantic coasts of Europe, from Spain to Norway, and selling their captives in the slave markets of north Africa. *That*’s not often mentioned in the discussion of reparations”

    How does me mentioning slavery show that I am unaware of anything? On the contrary, by mentioning it, I am confirming that I know what slavery is. Seems you didn’t think before you typed, did you? If you look again, you will see that I actually cited ONE example of slavery – what were you expecting, a fully comprehensive list of every single episode of slavery in the history of humankind? Is that how you prove people are ignorant is it? You point out the things they leave out? Slightly short-sighted of you, after all, I could have torn holes in your paragraphs at content you omitted. Waste your own time doing that, I don’t feel the need to show off how much I know to score petty bitch points. Slavery as a whole was the point, anyone could see that you pedant. Next time you make a comment, I’d like you to include all encyclopedic references to everything that humans have been involved in, ok? Sounds fair based on what you have demanded of me. If you don’t like your own rules, then don’t force them on other people.

    CommanderThor – please point out WHERE I personally have mentioned paedophilia???? I didn’t that’s why, don’t misquote me. This seems to be catching on here……

    Anyone with their head screwed on would know that homosexuality/paedophilia are not comparable. But then actually, maybe Evan half had a point (if unintentional). What is today considered sex with a minor (i.e. under 16), may not be in a few years time. Should all those 18 year old boys who slept with 15 year olds have their convictions quashed if the age of consent is reduced to, say, 14 as it is already in some countries? No, of course they shouldn’t, the law is the law and nobody is above that. Not even people on here, as much as they think they are. And on that very principle, nor should Alan Turing. And nor should he recieve an apology as an individual. If you all believed in equality, you would surely be saying that all men and women affected by such laws should be pardoned, not just those who were clever.

    “The latter is indeed a crime from any moral perspective, yet the former shouldn’t have been a crime in the first place”

    Shouldn’t have been a crime according to whom? You? Gay people as a whole? You say it as if it were some error of judgment, like leaving the handbrake off a car and someone being killed by accident. It was something that had long been believed to be abhorrent. An act is only a crime if considered by lawmakers and/or civil society and laws change along with public sentiment – such as with, oh I don’t know, the UK laws on homosexuality? At the time of Turing’s conviction, public feeling was that homosexuality was wrong. End of. You cannot go back in time and pretend that, really, people loved the gays and it was just nasty law makers. They didn’t, that’s why these laws and their brutal treatments were in place. You can’t change it and you can’t make people of our generation apologise for it. He has to stay a convicted man because he was a criminal in the eyes of the law at the time. Like everyone else who has been found to be guilty beyond reasonable doubt. What next – do we clear ETA terrorists when the Basque country gains independence because they were acting in the name of freedom? Oh please!

  12. @Monkeychops, I think Gerrard was addressing his harangue to me, the author of the piece, rather than you.

    All I would say to him would be read what I have written a little more closely, he would then perhaps see that my mention of slavery is only a proof of my awareness of its story in as much as it shows that I know that apology and reparations are difficult issues in relation to it. This was only an example (as clearly stated) of the controversy raised by apologies for the actions of the past.

    As for the singling out of Turing. the apology is explicitly for the treatment he received for being gay, not for the lack of recognition of his work. If the issue is said treatment, then he isn’t the only one to have experienced it and should therefore not be the only to receive an apology.

  13. Monkeychops 11 Sep 2009, 6:49pm

    Zefrog – thanks for clarifying, however I don’t see your original comment posted on this particular thread – is it from another one?

  14. Jean-Paul Bentham 11 Sep 2009, 7:13pm

    The more I think of it, the more it makes sense. Alan Turing should receive a full pardon, a posthumous knighthood and a shot at the Nobel Prize.

    Also, I believe flapjack (3) has a point when he says:

    ‘The only way to challenge that attitude is to require pardons and apologies for everyone prosecuted under that law, not just for gay people who happened to have stopped WWII or written “The Picture of Dorian Gray”.’

    It ealyy is an ‘all or nothing’ issue when all is said and done, and all governments should be confronted with this issue, not just the UK.

    It has occurrd to me too that Mr. Brown is playing politics because I had interpreted the petition as an appeal for a royal apology.

  15. @Monkeychops I am the author of the article…

  16. David Griff 11 Sep 2009, 8:57pm

    An apology I agree, is pointless, but a pardon, and not just for Turing, would have been appropriate. As a Law student that regularly has to study Laws in relation to Morality I’d like to say that I think people like Evan are wrong. The facts these people were criminals at the time is irrelevant. They aren’t by our standards and should be pardoned if not because of a moral imperative then just because it’s good legal housekeeping, you wouldn’t keep people in prison if the crime with which they were charged ceased to be a crime and by the same standard you should pardon the free and deceased. Judaism was illegal in nazi Germany, but the law was morally wrong and people kept under these charges were rightly released by the allies after the Nazi defeat. Before 1967 gays were persecuted, but the law was morally wrong, from a Utilitarian viewpoint, (you could argue ethics till the cows come home, but at the end of the day it’s the only viable secular ethical viewpoint so we’ll go with it) therefore those charged with the crime should be pardoned, regardless of their living status, as a natural part of the process of liberalisation that is the mark of progress in society. Not sure howmuch sense this has made, haven’t read it through and I kept stopping and starting, but I’m sure you get the gist.

  17. I was deeply moved by the apology. I recommend everyone read it. Thank you, Mr. Brown.

  18. Jean-Paul Bentham 11 Sep 2009, 11:46pm

    Thank you for the crystal clear insight, Master David Griff (16).

  19. Thank you Nicolas for some rare common sense on the issue. The petition for an apology had the best of intentions. But why did no one clue in to this obvious discrepancy? Turing’s genius was singular and has been repeatedly acknowledged as such. But his homosexuality was equal under the law with every other gay man of the era. THAT should also be acknowledged as such. To me it’s a perverse form of modern-day prejudice, and a very ironic way to honor the man.

  20. I think, given the high level of social prejudice against LGBTs that still exists, it’s important the government says ‘we are sorry and we were wrong’. Despite a lot of progressive equality legislation, attitudes change slowly. And it only takes a few rabid preachers (not just in mosques, but in evangelical churches too) to whip up irrational hatred.

    It goes without saying, anyone who had some criminal record because of pre-67 legislation should have been pardoned the minute the law was changed.

    The statement by Gordon Brown was most welcome, and for sure it was worth singling Alan Turing out, since his contribution was greater than any other single person’s in winning WWII. The Free World owes this great man a massive debt. Frankly, the statement would have been more appropriate if it had been jointly made by Gordon Brown the Chief Rabbi.

  21. Monkeychops 12 Sep 2009, 11:11am

    “It goes without saying, anyone who had some criminal record because of pre-67 legislation should have been pardoned the minute the law was changed”

    But you’d have to pardon ALL people who had been convicted of a crime under laws that do not exist today. We can’t cherry pick when it comes to justice, it’s either a full pardon for absolutely everyone or none at all. I’d still favour none at all. If we retrospectively pardon because we have changed the law then we would then have to retrospectively convict too. From marital rape to drink-driving. You cannot convict someone for committing what is considered an offence today when the act took place at a time when it was not illegal. And vice versa. Hence no pardons. It may seem unfair either way, but we can only live according to the laws we have in place at the time of the act committed. Otherwise our legal system (and our democracy) is completely valueless.

  22. Monkeychops 12 Sep 2009, 11:18am

    “The statement by Gordon Brown was most welcome, and for sure it was worth singling Alan Turing out, since his contribution was greater than any other single person’s in winning WWII. The Free World owes this great man a massive debt. Frankly, the statement would have been more appropriate if it had been jointly made by Gordon Brown the Chief Rabbi”

    I think a fair few people might be offended by your assumption that Alan Turing’s contribution to ending WWII was greater than anyone else’s. My own grandfather, who was in the Navy and survived a few torpedo attacks might have something to say about it. Everyone had their part to play in that war, from the home guard to the soldiers on the front line. It seems some people on here think that because he was gay and good at what he did, he is even more special. Well he isn’t. You also seem to be of the opinion that it was important to single him out as more deserving of a pardon than any other gay man convicted under pre-67 legislation. You surely cannot believe in equality with a statement like that.

  23. Brian Burton 12 Sep 2009, 11:26am

    ‘Bad Law’ should always be repealed. Those covicted under bad law should have full restitution and ‘Victims’ of bad law full recompence in whatever form.

  24. Monkeychops 12 Sep 2009, 11:53am

    But what the hell IS “bad law”? That’s an incredibly simplistic and naive view of a legal system Brian. A bad law can only be defined as such in hindsight, when attitudes are different. Laws are put in place at any given time because people think they will be constructive for society. At one time, people thought that homosexuality was bad and thus anti-gay laws were enacted accordingly. It works both ways though, as a majority of people now think it is ok and thus the law has changed.

    So here’s a scenario: Facists think that anti-discrimination laws are “bad law”, so on that basis should we repeal the laws we have in place? Of course not because that is not what neither the majority of our society nor our law-makers think. However, it could be the case one day that a majority of people and law-makers favour the removal of anti-discrimination laws and, if you believe in democracy, then it is only fair that the proposal goes through. Under what you propose, Brian, about compensating victims for “bad laws”, fascists would quite rightly be entitled to full compensation and a pardon because the laws they felt oppressed them had now been removed. Alan Turing may get an apology today because public opinion swings one way, but fascists could get one tomorrow when it swings the other.

    Any comments Brian?

  25. Mihangel apYrs 12 Sep 2009, 11:55am

    Evan/Monkeychops et al:

    the scurity services KNEW about his sexuality at Blechley Park (he didn’t hide it), but were willing to use him with top security rating. After the war, and when he was prosecuted and found guilty his security clearance was removed DESPITE the fact that he wasn’t exactly open to blackmail. And people like Bob Boothroyd and Tom Driberg were protected.

    That is hypocisy

  26. Monkeychops 12 Sep 2009, 12:30pm

    So what? People turn a blind eye to all sorts of misdemeanours in times of war and desperation. You do the best with who you have, even if you look down on them for their lifestyle. Once that person is no longer needed, then they will just get the same persecution as they did before. He was prosecuted and Tom Driberg was not, hence he lost his security clearance.

    Besides, my only real point was that he was convicted under a law that was in place at the time and which he was aware of. He should therefore not be pardoned.

  27. Brian Burton 12 Sep 2009, 3:48pm

    The greatest injustice of them all was when they hung the monkey in Hartlepool.
    It happened during the Napolionic wars when a French brigg was taken and on booard was a pet monkey dressed in French, civilian clothes. The authorities on the Hartlepool dockside thought the monkey was a spy. After a summary Court Martial on the dockside, the monkey was hanged.

  28. Monkeychops 12 Sep 2009, 4:35pm

    Thanks for providing another inane comment instead of adding something useful Bri, you always turn up trumps.

  29. I certainly don’t care less about offending an attention-seeking, hysterical know-nothing on this thread – but yes, Alan Turing’s cracking of the code was arguably the most decisive moment in WWII. No one person’s contribution to winning the war was greater than Alan Turing’s.

  30. “It seems some people on here think that because he was gay and good at what he did, he is even more special. Well he isn’t.”

    This is an particularly malicious and ignorant remark. You clearly know nothing about history at all. Had the code not been cracked, the chances are, a swastika would be flying over London now.

  31. Jean-Paul Bentham 12 Sep 2009, 7:07pm

    AdrianT:

    Your statement : ‘It goes without saying, anyone who had some criminal record because of pre-67 legislation should have been pardoned the minute the law was changed.’ makes a lot of sense to me.

    Also, it is confirmed by David Griff(16) who said:

    ‘The facts these people were criminals at the time is irrelevant.

    They aren’t by our standards and should be pardoned if not because of a moral imperative then just because it’s good legal housekeeping, you wouldn’t keep people in prison if the crime with which they were charged ceased to be a crime and by the same standard you should pardon the free and deceased.

    Judaism was illegal in nazi Germany, but the law was morally wrong and people kept under these charges were rightly released by the allies after the Nazi defeat.

    Before 1967 gays were persecuted, but the law was morally wrong, from a Utilitarian viewpoint, (you could argue ethics till the cows come home, but at the end of the day it’s the only viable secular ethical viewpoint so we’ll go with it) therefore those charged with the crime should be pardoned, regardless of their living status, as a natural part of the process of liberalisation that is the mark of progress in society.’

    Also, I agree that Alan Turing did prevent the saztika from flying, not only over England, but also over the the Commonwealth.
    In my opinion Turing deserves a posthumous Knighthood and a shot at a Nobel Peace Prize.

  32. Monkeychops 12 Sep 2009, 7:20pm

    Adrian

    “It seems some people on here think that because he was gay and good at what he did, he is even more special. Well he isn’t.”

    This is an particularly malicious and ignorant remark. You clearly know nothing about history at all. Had the code not been cracked, the chances are, a swastika would be flying over London now”

    Adrian, your point has nothing at all to do with what you have referred to in my comment. I’m talking about him being gay and clever, you are talking about something else. But as usual, you wade in with your self-righteous sense of intellectual superiority and it is really rather cheap. What makes you think you know any more about our history than any one else on here? You are so up your own arse. We all know what he did to help the war effort, otherwise we wouldn’t be commenting on it, you ignorant prat.

    If you’d read anything on here properly, this is nothing to do with his code-cracking capabilities, it’s about whether he should be pardoned. My view is that just because he played an important role in the ending of WWII doesn’t mean he should be pardoned any more than any other gay man who was convicted of the same crime. You seem to think that because of his particular role he should. That to me is CRAP and smacks of inequality. Maybe you have a different view on what equality is. As I said before – and you so hastily ignored to give yourself another pathetic and self-indulgent opportunity to slander the intelligence of others from within your own sanctimonious arsehole – he shouldn’t be pardoned because what he did was a crime at the time. There is no evidence to show that he did not commit said crime and thus no one need apologise for anything. As with every other crime committed in the past that would not merit a conviction today. CAN YOU UNDERSTAND THAT OR DO YOU NEED IT TYPED OUT MORE SIMPLY?

    Really Adrian, get over yourself.

  33. Don’t use block capitals, it’s childish; the kind of thing an unbalanced person with attention-seeking deficit disorder would do.

    Alan Turing’s cracking of the code was arguably the most decisive moment in WWII. No one person’s contribution to winning the war was greater than Alan Turing’s. Had he not cracked the code, a swastika would be flying over London, quite probably. We owe him a great debt. That was also the point made by Gordon Brown, who issued the apology, if you had bothered to read it. Do you have a problem with the facts?

    So when you make an inane, schoolboy remark, disgracefully comparing Turing to any old member of the home guard, you are showing your complete ignorance about recent history. HYou should be ashamed of yourself.

  34. To highlight the stupidity of comment 22, by Monkeychops:

    “Everyone had their part to play in that war, from the home guard to the soldiers on the front line. It seems some people on here think that because he was gay and good at what he did, he is even more special. WELL HE ISN’T.”

    There you have it – according to this imbecile, Turing was nothing special. He may as well have been on the Dad’s Army set. I love this thread, because you cannot simply pretend stupid, attention seeking comments don’t exist.

    It’s there in black and white.

  35. Brian Burton 12 Sep 2009, 8:57pm

    Monkeyfacechops…..Any Answers you crass idiot?

  36. Well, as I mentioned Brian, this is a welcome first step – and an apology to all gay people unjustly criminalized would be most appropriate, given the prejudice that exists in society today. And certainly, all those alive should have been pardoned – that goes without saying.

    Sir Richard Dannett did exactly this in, I think, 2003 to LGBT armed forces members unjustly treated. A mark of maturity, magnaminity and honesty.

  37. Brian Burton 12 Sep 2009, 10:24pm

    Alan Turing will be rememberd mainly for his code-breaking war work. When Bletchley Park was vacated after victory. Churchill was terrified Russian spys would infiltrait Bletchley secrets, so he ordered everything in Bletchley to be destroyed.

  38. Mihangel apYrs 13 Sep 2009, 12:02am

    Monkeychops
    Driberg was charged with propositioning a guardsman. I can’t remember what happened, but he wasn’t forced out of the House. There was no reason to remove Turing’s security clearance apart from viciousness. And yes, I know the powers will use any means to their end, but ew don’t have to approve.

    The issue of issuing pardons to reflect changing mores must be looked at in terms of “do yoiu pardon someone in proison convicted of a crime THEN that isn’t a crime NOW!. Do youi still hang a person so condemned after the penalty has been lifted?

  39. Very ‘a propos’ piece on this morning’s RADIO 4’s programme, ‘BH’ (Broadcasting House)… 9am Sunday, today, 13/09/09.

    Keith.

  40. Sister Mary Clarence 13 Sep 2009, 3:37pm

    Monkeychops – ‘My own grandfather, who was in the Navy and survived a few torpedo attacks might have something to say about it.’

    Is this what your bitter little rantings are all about?

    You grand daddy might have been in the navy, but for all we know we spend the entire war AWOL, in the brig, or peeling potatoes at Portsmouth. Do they write stories about the skill with which he took the skin off a Maris Piper, or how he taught a little magpie to fetch 20 Woodbine from the local shops and carry then back to his cell, and how those acts changes the modern world we live in?

    On the other hand we have someone here who is widely recognised to have made an immense contribution to outcome of the war, not only in this country, but across most of the planet. His contributions to computer science are what permit us to actually be having this conversation online today.

    The guy was a genius and a powerhouse of invention and this country destroyed him for being gay, ironically and doubtlessly to our own disadvantage. We can only guess what genius was still to come from him before we imposed the abuse on him we did. We will never know what solutions to challenges we are still seeking to overcome that he took to his grave.

    Sweet Jesus, for what he gave this country he should have been able to screw the Prime Minister every tea time on the BBC. What this country did to him should go down in the history books as one of the stupidest and cruel acts of the last century.

    It is a testament to your stupidity to offer any sort of comparison between your granddad and Alan Turing.

  41. Jean-Paul Bentham 13 Sep 2009, 9:01pm

    Sister Mary Clarence:

    You slay me!

    ‘Sweet Jesus, for what he gave this country he should have been able to screw the Prime Minister every tea time on the BBC.’

    Superb! You at your best.

  42. Brian Burton 13 Sep 2009, 11:09pm

    Monkeyfacechops, Are you still slithering about you worm?

  43. Sister Mary Clarence 13 Sep 2009, 11:42pm

    JP – I thank you!!

  44. Alan Turings name has been used clearly as a symbol of those many people who were persecuted due to their sexuality in wartime and other times. Nicolas Chardinet, sitting in his cosy office space, I would expect, should understand that it is never right to critisise the unlawful treatment of one. There is nothing wrong with browns statement apologising for Alan Turing. His name was used as the names of those hundreds of thousands of others who went through the same thing.

  45. As M. Chinardet pointed out, my comment was to the article, not to Mr. Monkeychops’ comment. Still, Monkeychops has kept me amused for the best part of an hour, reading all these comments; and anyway, alas, he reminds me far too much of myself for me to be annoyed with him :)

    With regard to slavery and reparations, my initial objection was that slavery was simply not relevant to the piece. However, when the issue of reparations came up I got really quite annoyed. As a gay male I’ve been discriminated against, officially and unofficially, for all of my childhood and most of my adult life. I know the signs. Now I’m seeing to see myself and others being discriminated against because of our skin colour. To hold me (and others) responsible for actions carried out centuries ago, *by* other people and *against* other people, is racist bigotry of the worst sort. I am not guilty of anything just because of the colour of my skin, and I will speak out against this prejudice wherever I encounter it.

  46. Sister Mary Clarence 15 Sep 2009, 10:59am

    “As a gay male I’ve been discriminated against, officially and unofficially, for all of my childhood and most of my adult life.”

    I have to say personally I hate any argument put forward that begins with this sort of statement.

    I’ve been hard done by and no one helped me … bla, bla, bla ….

    If its wrong its wrong, and just becuase someone else had something wrong done to them, it doesn’t make it any less wrong.

  47. Monkeychops 15 Sep 2009, 12:31pm

    “Alan Turing’s cracking of the code was arguably the most decisive moment in WWII. No one person’s contribution to winning the war was greater than Alan Turing’s. Had he not cracked the code, a swastika would be flying over London, quite probably. We owe him a great debt. That was also the point made by Gordon Brown, who issued the apology, if you had bothered to read it. Do you have a problem with the facts?

    So when you make an inane, schoolboy remark, disgracefully comparing Turing to any old member of the home guard, you are showing your complete ignorance about recent history. HYou should be ashamed of yourself”

    Actually Adrian, you are the one who should be ashamed of your ignorance. You, along with Sister MC, have managed to insult the hard work of all those who contributed to the war effort (special thanks to SMC for defaming my grandfather, it’s always nice when you insult someone who has not only earned medals for bravery but was a PoW ). If, for you Adrian, someone is only worthy of a mention because they did something that was key or they were made famous, then you obviously have very little regard for our many unsung heroes. You know, all the ones that died at the hands of the enemy or came back paralyzed. The home-guard (yes, they did a good job, shame you can’t appreciate that), the land girls, the Corrie Ten-Booms, the Sir Nicholas Wintons, the French resistance, the Nazi camp informants……you’ve insulted thelot of them. What they did was, I don’t know, superfluous? An added bonus? I’d like to have seen you out there on the front line. You’d have been cowering under your bed with your teddy bear. Frankly, I am embarrassed on your behalf for such ignorant statements Adrian.

    The whole point in this argument is that Turing deserves no extra merit for being gay, which you seem to believe. And he deserves no more to be pardoned than any other gay man convicted under those laws than any other gay men just because he was a great code-breaker. He was NOT above other gay men, we should all be on the same level in the eyes of the law, that is just a question of basic human rights. And, on that basis, he does not deserve a pardon any more than any other gay man at that time. For you to suggest he does is an insult to other gay men who received the same punishment as Turing and merely shows that you believe some people are more equal than others. And you think you are left-wing?

    You and that revolting Sister should maybe go and research WWII a bit and then see what equal rights and equal treatment really mean. After all, if we were to act on your perception of them, maybe we would put you in the home-guard bracket and decide that your time on Earth was of no real significance and you should be treated accordingly. The pair of you disgust me.

  48. Brian Burton 15 Sep 2009, 1:26pm

    Monkeyfacechops,
    Your still slithering about you Doydy Woym’ Why not take a trip to Las Vegas and really educate your dreary self. In Vegas you’ll find everything you are really looking for. Sex, Probably something like male-prostitutes would be ‘up your ally’ (no pun intended!) Leather Sex is always a great stimulant for your repressed type of person. Give it a go Mr. BaboonMan.

  49. Monkeychops, don’t wriggle out of it. Your comment in #22:

    “I think a fair few people might be offended by your assumption that Alan Turing’s contribution to ending WWII was greater than anyone else’s.”

    Coming back time and time again does not make your remark any less stupid, ill-informed, fallacious – be my guest however. With due respect – I could not care less if that offends the memory of your grandfather, grateful though I am for his contribution. Feel free to wallow in self-pity, if the facts offend you.

    In comment #16, David Griff neatly demolishes your other unconvincing, rambling argument which you have repeated on here, for the fifth time, now.

  50. And while I am about it,

    “And, on that basis, he does not deserve a pardon any more than any other gay man at that time.” – I call for all LGBT people to be pardoned, so this point is, like most of your postings, irrelevant.

    “And you think you are left-wing?”
    – No, where did you dream this up?

    “just because he was a great code-breaker.”
    Just because?? The code-breaker that arguably changed the course of history? Get real.

    “He was NOT above other gay men,”
    Actually he was above most other men, not just gay men. Some people do deserve to be given special treatment – and Turing is one of them.

    “The pair of you disgust me.”
    Good. If my comments don’t drive an attention-seeking drama-queen like you into a seething, hysterical tantrum, then I would consider myself a failure. Like said earlier, I’d defend your right to your opinions, however air-headed: if nothing else, it’s all great entertainment. :-)

  51. “The pair of you disgust me.”

    Never one for the histrionics, eh, monkeychops?

    “He was NOT above other gay men,”

    Actually, he was above all men. You show a lack of understanding of what this man achieved in the field of computer science, and what he could have achieved if he didn’t feel humiliated into taking his own life. He was quite simply, ahead of his time. Alan Turing is basically the father of the modern computer… you wouldn’t be banging out your crap on that keyboard with your face and boring us all half to death with it if it wasn’t for him and his revolutionary theories. He was one of the greatest minds in the field of computing, ever. So, yes, he should receive the accolades he’s due, all the more so because he didn’t get recognised previously because of his sexuality.

  52. Jean-Paul Bentham 16 Sep 2009, 12:45am

    Alan Turing deserves a pardon, a posthumous Knighthood and a shot at a Nobel Peace Prize in Science.

    Brown’s apology was perhaps a clever political move, but it has taken on its own dynamism now, and it won’t simply go away because a momma’s boy would rather have the spotlight on him.

  53. Brian Burton 16 Sep 2009, 8:15am

    Alan Turing was I should think quite a complex man. I should think he would have not made friends easily. Would he have sufferd fools gladley? Born the year the Titanic went down and died when the air was still thick with the Victorian standard of prejudice for homosexuality. I was just fouteen then and experiencing my first encounters of Love with another man. There are a few differrent aspects of the Gay encounter, I wonder what Alan Turing’s sexual preferencece were? To the powers that be, ‘Gross Indecentcy’ is the opperative word. All the Apolodies and all the talk in the world wont put the matter to rights. But It is what we, the Gay community thinks, that is important in Alan Turing’s case.

  54. When I first read Monkeychops comments I thought he had it all wrong, but coming back to it now and after reading subsequent posts (some of whom have discredited themselves by resorting to insults) I now agree with much of what he says.

    No one person won the war. Everyone did their bit, many losing their lives in the process, the sum of all those efforts won the war.
    Alan Turin’s success in breaking the enigma codes was achieved because he was a brilliant mathematician not because he was gay.
    It was despicable that after the war he was denied recognition and honour for his developments in cryptography that led to modern computing because he was a homosexual. That denial should be redressed and he should rightly receive the highest honours available.

    Unlike Monkeychops I believe he should, along with all others, also receive a pardon, but agree that he deserves no special merit because of his war contribution over any other gay man whose life was pointlessly ruined by this conviction, because his crime was not related to his war contribution but to the laws of the time and everyone must be equal before the law.

    I think all those convicted under those oppresive laws should receive pardons because, as PM Brown mentions in his apology, he and others were tried in effect for being gay – for being what they were. When the State prosecutes people for their being, their existence, rather than what they have done then that becomes inhuman treatment for which a subsequent government needs to apologise.

    It is widely recognised that truth and reconciliation are needed to settle ghosts and injustices of the past, and a pardon for all those convicted would go some way to addressing our societies continuing hangover from Victorian values of sexual oppression.

    Incidentally, in a recent dramatisation of the life of Alan Turin it showed he was not caught inflagrante in a public place, but was arrested at home after admitting his homosexuality to a detective that he himself had called after some money had been stolen by someone he had picked up in a pub and brought home.

    (3 rd attempt at posting – hope this doesn’t appear 3 times)

  55. Jean-Paul Bentham 16 Sep 2009, 7:18pm

    Roger R:

    Could you repeat that briefly and clearly, please.

  56. Brian Burton 17 Sep 2009, 7:15am

    Listen you lot, lets settle this boringly insessent argument about who won WW2…..John Wayne ofcourse, did’nt any of you know that?

  57. Brian Burton 17 Sep 2009, 7:18am

    As for Roger Rabbit….Get stuffed matey!

  58. Bottom line is, Turing committed a crime at the time. Whether that law has changed is irrelevant. It is a common worldwide legal fact that the law does not change retroactively. The law is the law that is in practice at the time of the offence. There’s no good squabbling over it, it ain’t going to happen.

  59. “The law is the law that is in practice at the time of the offence.”

    Typically black and white of you. And again, this doesn’t mean an apology shouldn’t be forthcoming.

    By your logic, women that got burned as witches were in the wrong and deserve no restitution, simply because “it was the law at the time”. Slavery should not be apologised for “because it was the law at the time”. Apartheid should not be apologised for “because it was the law at the time”. What the nazi’s did to the Jews and others during the war was okay, because “it was the law at the time”. The law is not absolute. Its why miscarriages of justice happen in the courts.

    You logic shows a lack of understanding of the wrongs of history and how a community or a nation can address these wrongs, and typically totalitarian of you. There is nothing wrong with apologising for crimes against people, no matter what the law “at the time” said. Its called progress.

  60. that revolting Sister 18 Sep 2009, 5:27pm

    Absoluitely Will, the Jews in Nazi German are probably a good example of how that logic of no retrospective pardon goes down the pan a bit.

    The Jews were legislated again to enable their ‘legal’ persecution. The allies (including Britain) were happy to free them from captivity as Germany collapsed, even those comdemned to death – in effect granting a pardon.

    In the States there has been the debate about a posthumous pardon for Jack Johnson convicted for having sex with a white prostitute under the Mann law.

    As for your comments Monkey – I’ve never heard any tales of the great deeds your grandfather did to help turn the war, whereas there seems to quite a lot of published material of the deeds of Mr Turing. Much of it available via electronic media- media we may well not have had today if Alan Turing has not been such a genius.

    Possibly though you’re granddad may have also come up with some comparible concept to computer science that none of us no about, which has revolutionised the planet.

    Please tell – sitting here waiting to be astounded.

  61. Toni M, Bristol 19 Sep 2009, 12:57am

    To Alan Touring, hero mistreated then,

    in spite of saving his fellow countrymen,

    tho’ they said ‘sorry’, just before tewnty-ten

    will they exponge his ‘crime’, by twenty-WHEN?

    and with him wait how many other men?

  62. Toni M, Bristol 19 Sep 2009, 1:03am

    PS I am not sure whether I have ever known this… Has Nazi Germany ever apologised to homosexuals for the concentration camps? It is a little known fact, which I only recently found out, that, when the Allies freed Jews from the camps, ***they kept homosexuals in, because under German law, they were still guilty of a crime and had to serve out their sentences!***

  63. Precisely Tomy M – and that’s all the more reason why we should make a clean break from the past by issuing an official pardon. Some on here are adamant we should deny these people – many of whom are alive – their dignity. It beggars belief really.

    Anyway Roger R: so, you disagree with ‘Monkeychops’ on virtually every point – what is your reason for your post? If you can’t stand hard argument, don’t stick around.

    The confrontation with Monkeychops, once it was clear his reasoning was skewed, was a mere warm-up. If you can’t stad the heat get out of the kitchen ;-)

  64. The article makes a good point, but the reason there was a petition about Alan Turing was because he was especially famous and founded computing. I thought the petition should have been for a statue of him somewhere prominent, personally.

    The Number 10 petitions site is open to all comers – why not create a Pink News petition demanding an apology for all the LGBT people who have been persecuted by the state, and all of us who have been denied justice.

  65. Martin Lawrence 18 Jul 2011, 2:57pm

    Just a thought, prompted by the fact that HMQ has just been to Bletchley Park. Surely the PM should advise the monarch to make any apologies. It is, after all, the monarch’s government which runs the country, and it was therefore The Queen’s Government who ran things on her behalf in 1954, when Turing killed himself. She therefore could meaningfully apologise, as she could for the governments of any of her ancestors. To be fair to her, though, she must already feel that there’s so bloody much she’d already like to apologise for that, if she started now, she be dead well before she’d finished

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