where’s the link to the petition…????
I share your pain. It’s here:
A terrible loss and tragedy for all concerned, making LGBT people suffer all of these years like they did to this man who was a valuable human being and helped so much to help so many then to be then treated like some kind of animal. Mr. Turning helped save the British from a mad man in the war and then the very people he helped turned on him like mad men to castrate him like he was some kind of test subject for the German doctors in the war. Still today LGBT people are treated like this around the world, like in Africa and this needs to be stopped now.
A pardon will not change a thing. How about doing something much more positive instead….. celebrate his life going forward by commemoration rather than always looking back. Its not fair to request a pardon for one gay man, when thousands were persecuted in the same way, and many still are being today. The apology from the government was enough – lets move forwards now!
True, it’s symbolic. But symbols are important.
And the petition does add the following at the end “It may act as an apology to many of the other gay men, not as well known as Alan Turing, who were subjected to these laws.”
I hope that helps.
Whilst I know some feel the government apology was symbolic and sufficient … it is my view that a formal pardon has far more meaning and integrity …
In the same way that asking Cameron to apologise for homophobia in Africa brought about by colonial policy would be hollow (as he would not be apologising for anything he could have influenced or been involved in) … Brown did not seem enthralled or enthusiatic or as if he meant the apology when he issued it …
The issuing of a pardon is a relatively rare event, and thus has far more significance. I believe the time has come for a pardon and a clear, unambiguous message that the actions of the UK government to Turing were wrong and (albeit posthumously) we as a nation are wiping the slate clean.
I would agree with you Stu, pardoning Turing would be a fairly unique and so powerful message – and for those of us of an age where we flirted with the wrong side of the law on this matter it would be a welcome acknowledgement that we were correct in allowing our conscience (and libido) to guide us even though the consequences could be somewhat harsh (though more so in Turing’s day than mine) – his pardon along with wiping of all records for everyone convicted of any crime under the homosexuality laws is the least (and probably most) we can expect.
the link to the petion is
Petition is only open to UK citizens and residents, even though his work helped save the future of many other countries.
Here is an option, James …
Please publicise it (particularly amongst non UK residents)
Done already. I subscribe to Change.org. Passing it around.
Signed and done.
What about a posthumous honour or medal for his wartime work?
One of the late Roger Crouch’s last messages expressed the hope fort a posthumous knighthood.
A marvellous idea!
Some have suggested a statue of Turing to fill the fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square, excellent idea.
(so long as we keep Maggie Hambling well away from the commission, considering the grotesque mess she made of poor Oscar Wilde’s memorial )
Your idea and that of Reed and Pavlos would mean far more than any apology! It’s way to late for Alan Turing and his family!
I think both go hand in hand as positive things
A pardon is much more than an apology
“True, it’s symbolic. But symbols are important.” Well said. Symbols and symbolic acts have a great impact on our lives whether we realise it or not. The tearing down of the Berlin Wall was merely a symbol of an historic reality but millions will remember the images of that symbolic act. While a pardon of Turing may not be seen on the same level it will act as a fitting symbolic embodiment of society’s (in general) to right its wrongs.
Last line should read efforts to to right its wrongs.
Gordon Brown has already apologised for the treatment of Alan Turing. This has already occured. Stop interupting the government from thier important job of butchering the economy.
Nah, they are merely trying to patch up what the previous incumbents did, when they went around making apologies instead of running the fcking country properly.
If that’s what they’re trying to do, they’re failing pretty badly. One would think they’d have learned from the last several times their party did the same thing – after all, Cameron did study politics, so he must have some understanding of the historical precedents
I find studying often means damn all. The only way to understand a subject is to get stuck in and get your hands dirty, there is no substitute for practical experience.
7 peeps don’t have a sense of humour.
CMON PINK NEWS – get with the effing program – what is the point of a story about a petition about a good GAY cause and then do not put in the link – duh!!!
English people are obsessed with apologies. The trains run late, an automated voice reads a meaningless apology. A politician misleads, they make a meaningless apology. A child dies due to a lack of care by social services, a civil servant makes a meaningless apology.
Apologies are really cheap and they divert attention from more pressing, current campaigns.
Usually I would agree with you about some apologies being meaningless (especially many years after the wrong that was done)
However, the distinction I would draw in this case is that this is a pardon. Its a legal process. It formally absolves Turing of any wrong doing, albeit in death.
The UK rarely grants pardons. That elevates the level of significance this would have and Turing sorely deserves it.
I will defer to your knowledge about a pardon being different to an apology. It does seem, however, that no matter if everything is crumbling or being deliberately stolen, an apology stops all further examination or complaint.
There really does seem to be an obsession with what is said on the surface rather than what is happening underneath. Whether it is apologies from the Murdoch press, MPs and expenses, the government- it seems all hypocritical and meaningless.
Stu is correct – a pardon is far more significant than an apology. An apology merely says sorry they treated you badly a pardon rights a wrong. Pardons are usually only given to those who are morally innocent of the offence and so in this case it would actually have the effect of labelling the law at the time immoral (which will really get up some Lords and others noses who fought against it’s repeal) as Turing clearly was a homosexual which was against that law. Unfortunately Turing is not here to benefit from it
Even if the economy were booming and inequality were narrowing faster rather than slower for everyone including heterosexuals, apologies meaningless or not have more to do with courtesy, common decency and good manners,a very British thing, but then I suppose they’re not important to some people.
And obviously not to you and your xenophobia.
French people are dirty and smell. That’s why they are so obsessed with perfume.
And another stereotype. French people are obsessed with cakes. I do wish they’d get their priorities in order and realise that cake making is not a pressing matter
Much that I have the highest respect for the man, and as a friend pointed out, had it not been for his codebreaking work during the war, we would probably all be speaking German now, I have strong reservations about all this.
A posthumous knighthood would be an excellent way of recognising the man’s talents and contributions, but a pardon is an entirely different matter.
Whatever anybody says, *he broke the law*. That fact cannot be changed. He knew the law at the time, and although most people may consider now that it was unjust or wrong does not change the facts.
This pathetic attempt at trying to backdate legal statute is both naive and pointless. If we were to follow this path, we would have to also do it for Guy Fawkes, Robin Hood and every other individual that decided to bypass the current law at that time just because they considered it wrong. Equally, there are many things many of us used to do legally that are now forbidden – it works both ways, so should we prosecute people for previous transgressions? So it goes on.
I think the recognition of the man is a decent and honourable thing to do, but let’s not open one almighty can of worms and award the man for what he did right, not what he did wrong.
One of the reasons I profoundly disagree with you is the the currently debated Protection of Freedoms bill is introducing legislation which enable those convicted of consensual sexual offences between males aged over 16 which have been decriminalised will be able to apply to have the expunged. Turing can not be afforded this option. Given the massive contirbution he had made to society (not merely in his work to crack German codes) – he should be honoured and given the recognition he so rightly deserved and deserves.
Like I said, I never said we should deny his contribution, but that still doesn’t change the point he broke the law. That fact cannot be changed. As an ex-copper, you for one should know that criminal records still stay for life, they cannot be wiped clean, but the information is held back for general scrutiny such as CRB checks etc.
In the same way that if a criminal record exists and there is a subsequent appeal eg via the Criminal Cases Review Commission – then the notation of offence will differ significantly from any recording that would occur if an appeal had not been successful. Similarly if application for expunging is made under the Protection of Freedoms bill plan, then the notation of offence will be much different. Not for disclosure will mean (even in cases exempt from rehab of offenders act) those crimes would not be disclosed other than to the safeguarding agency (who would see the full details including successful appeal etc). Given that this is the case – expunging would be useful.
In any event no checks are likely to be made on Turings criminal record. However, the symbolism of a pardon is of huge significance.
@Spanner1960 — but surely the essential point is that the law was disgusting ? I can’t see why we as a society would not want to state that we think the law was unjust, unnatural, appalling and unfair. And I believe that a pardon is absolutely the right way of so doing.
I am not here to define what is and isn’t a ‘good’ law. Who knows? in 50 years time paedophilia may be acceptable, that doesn’t mean it is today, so you abide by the laws as they stand at the moment. I know, crass analogy, but homosexuality was regarded in the 50′s in much the same way as paedophilia is today.
Should beastiality also become acceptable in 50 years time? In the case of paedophilia we are talking about sex with people who are legally to young for sex and the age limit of 16 (17 in Northern Ireland) in the UK is there for a reason and sex with underage people should never be acceptable. This is a gay news website and a forum for discussion by adults who wish to have intimate relations with other adults of the same sex.
As for Alan Turing breaking the law as it was then by having sex with another man, how many people drank alcohol during prohibition in America? And how many of us have smoked cannabis or driven at 31mph in a 30mph zone?
I am simply trying to draw an analogy. I don’t think many people quite appreciate the animosity and disgust many people had towards homosexuality at one time, so it demonstrates how much things have changed.
As for people drinking during prohibition, do you say these people also deserve retrospective pardons because it is now legal? As for smoking pot or speeding, they are still illegal activities, albeit minor infractions, but if you get caught, you get charged for it. That is the law, you know it, and I know it; if you wish to try and get away with it, that is entirely up to you. Turing did the same and I am sure many gay men got away with it at the time, but unfortunately he didn’t, so he paid the price.
A sad indictment of the times, but we can’t turn back the clock.
So are you saying the we should NEVER issue a pardon, and if you are not saying that, what criteria would you use to assess when it was appropriate?
I can think of no better example of a person who should be post humously pardoned than Alan Turing
@ Stu: Pardons are generally given out when an obvious breakdown in the legal process has been discovered, such as new evidence etc. Pardoning somebody simply because the law has since changed is simply wrong. The law is a fluid thing and changes as society adapts and adjusts. As a simple example, many years ago I used to hack into computers, and the only law available at the time was “theft of electricity”. Since those times, technology has moved on, and so have the laws covering it.
On a day to day basis, the vast majority of crimes (even if the law changes) should not be pardoned unless there is a successful appeal.
In the case of computer hacking that you refer to – its possible you would be found guilty of other offences under the computer misuse act now, and the offence of abstracting electricity would be redundant – nonetheless you would not be seeking an appeal on the offence from new evidence – so you argument is redundant …
In some exceptional cases there is a case for a pardon …
An example I am not 100% comfortable with, but I recognise the political need (and it fits with the argument about one mans terrorist being one mans freedom fighter) is the pardons that were granted in N Ireland as part of the peace process …
The case for Turing (to my mind) is even more striking and clear cut and immoral not to be granted
I think the two examples you’ve chosen are enormously flawed.
Guy Fawkes – he tried to blow up parliament, an act of terrorism which is still illegal and therefore not likely to get a pardon.
Robin Hood – probably didn’t exist.
Try picking some examples like the Pendle Witches, who were convicted of crimes that are no longer crimes, existed, and whose convictions were kept after a petition to pardon them.
One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.
Fawkes was trying to fight the Catholic persecutionists.
Robin Hood was probably a myth based on two people, nevertheless, the concept still applies. They were the only two I could think of at the time.
No he believed in the outright power of the monarchs and wished to stop democracy. That’s no-ones freedom fighter.
The majority of us still want a monarchy in the UK.
That is democracy in action.
Whatever you call him, the fact remains that he was executed for trying to blow up parliament and is therefore not going to be pardoned because it’s still illegal. Robin Hood’s crimes are similarly still illegal, if he existed to commit them.
Guy Fawkes wasan anti-revolutionist terrorist, therefor we wouldn’t need to do anything about him as terrorism (especially in the name of fighting positive change) is still illegal, and its not 100% that Robin Hood existed it is possible he is just a legend created in the medieval times.
Not your point I know, just being pedantic.
Just realised Galadriel wrote that same thing, thats what I get for writing before I’ve finished reading :P
@Spanner1960 – I’m surprised you’re saying this. You obey any law, regardless of what you think of it, and attempt to make no judgement regarding its impact on natural justice ?
Presumably you have no sympathy for people arrested in South Africa during apartheid ? They knew the law and chose to disobey it. And you would pass no judgement on the injustice of apartheid laws ?
We elect people to run our country and ultimately define or laws. If you don’t like something then you vote otherwise or jesture for change, you do not flout them because you personally disagree with them. If everybody did that we would be in anarchy.
As for the apartheid laws, personally, I did and still do agree with them, and now the shoe is on the other foot. I know South Africa intimately and I can assure you that when Mandela dies, it will revert back to the corrupt, power-mad state it was 50 years ago. It has already happened to Zimbabwe, and South Africa is soon to follow.
Says an awful lot if you believe apartheid was morally right …
Don’t get me wrong, I am very interested in Africa and have visited most parts of it. I realise there was wrong on both sides of the divide in Southern Africa when the apartheid regime was in force.
That said, it is NEVER, should NEVER and will NEVER be acceptable to treat people inferiorally because of their skin colour
@Stu: Apartheid was not about treating people as inferiors, it was simply about segregation.
As it happens, it is still happening but it is now the whites that are being persecuted.
It was about segregating (and treating people as inferior)
I can’t believe that anyone with any sense of humanity and decency can begin to argue that apartheid is right …
In apartheid the rights of non-whites were supressed. There was a culture of white supremacism. There was an allocation of resources (be they jobs, economic benefits, beaches, services etc etc) where the better quality was always granted to the whites. There was no freedom of associaton, liberty, justice etc etc. Non-white political representation was abolished. There was no right to representation and democracy.
I could go on and on and on …
Yet, you feel it was appropriate …
I am astonished at your ignorance
So, in current South Africa …
Do the whites have a right to political representation? Yes
Do the whites have legal restrictions imposed on their movements? No
Are the whites legally segregated? No
Is there a ban on people entering or leaving South Africa which is based on race? No
Trying to compare the current situation (which is far from perfect) to the days of apartheid is ignorant and racist.
So Apartheid was right? Did you know that homosexuality was illegal in Apartheid South Africa so did you agree with that as well?
@Spanner1960 — you agree with apartheid ? Disgusting.
I entirely agree, anyone who tries to justify apartheid has no concept of human rights or are bigots themselves
@Spanner1960 – your idea of a posthumous knighthood is good, and would honour the man’s achievements. But the pardon would recognize he suffered gross injustice.
A knighthood recognises what the man did, a pardon merely recognises what he did wrong at the time. Better to show the positive than the negative.
Given a choice, I think the negative impacts more (in this case) … although generally I would go for a positive recognition …
I dont think it should be a choice … we should pardon and post humously knight
Sorry to be pedantic, but there is one inaccuracy:
“was prosecuted for his sexual orientation”
So far as I am aware, there has never been a law in this country under which you could be prosecuted solely on account of your sexual ORIENTATION.
Shameful, this man who gave so much for his country, denied the right to live in honor. Bless his dear departed soul. damn those who dealt him unwarrented shame.
I don’t think Turing would welcome his dear departed soul being blessed. He was an atheist.
Some atheists are not as uptight as you, George and recognise the multiple linguistic uses of the word bless
Brilliant idea, I’ve just signed it. Seems to be going well, up to 4196 right now.
I’m surprised that pardons weren’t automatically issued when the law was changed back in 1967; it would have been the logical thing to do.
I’d imagine that it’s quite likely that a pardon will be granted. It won’t cost anything, Cameron won’t want to be seen as less gay-friendly than Gordon Brown, and it’s unlikely to generate much opposition except perhaps from the religious fundies.
What a shame that Alan Turing isn’t around to see how much things have changed. For anyone of his generation, just the internet and e-petitions would be truly mind blowing, let alone the idea of anti-gay discrimination now being illegal !
I agree with Spanner on this one. The law of the time was, by our standards, wrong. That’s because we are a different society to the one he lived in. He broke the law back then, like plenty of people convicted and executed for things like heresy long ago. How far back do we go? Laws are not supposed to be retrospective, for very good reasons, whether they are criminalising or decriminalising something. I don’t like floodgates arguments, but here I think it’s important that we don’t set a dangerous precedent based solely on guilt.
Thank you Sven, at least somebody recognises the principles at stake here, and doesn’t just knee-jerk.
There has been a campaign for Turings pardon for many years – knee jerk is hardly a description that I would call relevant to the campaign
Yes, but it is a naive, uninformed demand to try and score points on behalf of the gay lobbyists, rather than trying to actually recognise the man himself and his massive contribution to this country.
Plenty has been done to recognise Turing, by his supporters and so called “gay activists” alike. One such aspect is the recent powerful and impressive documentary into Turing’s life and impact.
His contribution and life is fully recognised, and that impacts on the desire to seek a pardon.
A pardon would be key in recognising the wrongs that were done to him, in the name of the state, and demonstrate the state has moved on. It would also demonstrate that his immense contributions to British and international life is highly valued and not besmirched by the bigoted views of the state at the time.
@Stu: I get the strong feeling this has bugger all to do with Turing and everything to do with gay politicos trying to turn about what was effectively commonplace lawbreaking and seeking to make a bunch of cottage queens look like what they were doing was not illegal, which is precisely what it was. You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.
That was the law, he broke it. End of.
Like I said, forget the negative, it is water under the bridge, just concentrate on the man’s achievements.
I find it quite amazing that you in the same thread try to justify South African apertheid and fail to see the legitimacy and symbolism of obtaining a pardon for Turing.
Clearly there are times when the law is wrong. In some occasions, deliberately failing to comply with the law is an honourable thing to do.
Despite your references to cottaging, Turings case had nothing to do with cottaging and a pardon of him could not legitimately lead to a clamour for pardons for such offences. In any event the Protection of Freedoms bill will consider those matters where consensual acts have lead to convictions and subsequently been decriminalised.
Turing was in a private place when the sexual acts occurred. He was then a victim of a burglary and the police then became aware of his breach of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885 and he was charged and chemically castrated.
This is clearly a case which is unusual, both due to the disclosure of the “offence”, the background of
… Turing, the public interest in the case etc There is more than enough justification for a pardon.
I find your approach to apartheid and your muddying of the water about Turings offence illegitimate and disgusting.
@sven — there’s no doubt that he broke the law of the time. The question is was that law fair ? Did it interfere with his natural rights ? I think yes, clearly, obviously, manifestly, yes ! Should we recognize this ? Yes ! And I believe the best way of so doing is to issue a pardon.
Sorry, but what is this “natural” bollocks?
Where did that come from?
Perhaps try the “universal human rights” bollocks where every human is born with equal dignity and rights …
unlike under Apartheid in South Africa
unlike the experience Turing had
Ah right. So next time I decide to smoke a joint as my “universal human right”, I shouldn’t expect to get arrested?
The law is the law. If you don’t like it, follow the procedures to get it changed, or emigrate to somewhere where it is legal.
Many people have deliberately (and sometimes provocatively) broken the law, when the law is morally wrong …
eg Emily Pankhurst, the Stonewall riots etc etc
Now, whilst I am not saying that Turing broke the law deliberately to make a point- he clearly did not.
What I am saying is that some laws are wrong and the enforcement of those laws especially when it comes to acts such as chemical torture is more immoral than the breach of a law that should not exist in the first place.
Universal human rights state that all humans are born equally and have dignity and rights. Does not restrict that by orientation or race etc
Nor does the universal declaration give you authority to smoke a spliff – which is a bizarre retort to humans rights, but what can you expect from someone who supports apartheid.
You would be retrofitting current laws and social norms onto a society that did not have them. It isn’t merely a case of saying correcting past wrongs because at that point in time they were not wrong.
Slavery is good example – it isn’t considered acceptable nowadays but was acceptable then. By pardoning people simply because we now have different views & laws would also allow prosecuting of people retrospectively, so all people involved in slavery could/should be prosecuted and as they are dead, their estates could be targetted which means their decendents could be destroyed by something their ancestor from 400 years ago did.
200 years ago people thought nothing of a 40yo man marrying a 14yo girl, nowadays it is illegal, therefore retrospectively prosecute all of them too.
Nowadays torture is wrong and evidence under duress is inadmissable in court & would lead to a mistrial – Robert Catesby’s ‘gunpowder plotters’ were tortured into confessing, so they could not b
This is an sbsurd argument.
A posthumous honour would be more appropriate I believe – although I signed the peitiion too, as I agree on the symbolic nature of such acts.
As a young computer scientist myself who was gay in a relatively homophobic environment, I was lucky enough to work with a close colleague of Alan Turing, a Prof Donald Michie. A very gifted man himself who set up the Turing Institute where I worked on my final thesis in the early 80s.
Big respect to both men who contributed greatly to ending WW2.
Agreed. I signed too simply to add my voice and show support. Also signed the last one which prompted Gordon Brown to make a public apology but under Labour. Alan’s conviction and forced chemical castration occurred during dear old Churcy’s Conservative rule. Imo, he should receive a formal apology from the Conservative Party who treat him so badly at the time.
An apology is in order, I have signed the petition.
There has been a lot of interesting debate on this page about whether Alan Turing should be pardoned or not. I would like to point out that he broke another law in 1954. Suicide. It was not until the Suicide Act of 1961 that the threat of prosecution was removed from people who attempted suicide. At one time such people were hanged!!! Had Alan Turing survived his suicide attempt there was a risk that he would have been sent to prison for a long time or even sent to a mental hospital.
Don’t forget he being given powerful forced and experimental hormone therapy, a sort of imposed poisoning torture in itself.
With all the intervention that was taking place it could never be said that Turing was feeling in his own right mind when he decided or perhaps was invited to take cyanide and kill himself.
Not only was the gross indecency offence wrong, the chemical torture was wrong, the failure to help him when burgled was wrong, the lack of respect for his input to society was wrong and (even if he was of “sound” mind following the forced hormone treatement) criminalising suicide attempts was wrong …
Turing was wronged and deserves a pardon
Hmm, well before you Pah! at him do remember times were very grim to be homosexual in back then … He couldn’t summarise in his head or make connections because of the hormone treatment destroying his brain. For a man of his intellectual calibre he must have felt not only violated but with the impending knowledge he was only going to deteriorate. He had grown breasts because of the hormone treatment and it was irreversible. He had no private life as the police continued to spy on him and make sure he couldn’t have a boyfriend or partner. Life must have been utterly bleak. Our wonderful government and police had managed to break his body and his mind. So yes, they owe him an official pardon and a services to country posthumous medal or award imo.
We might not even be using these computers today if it weren’t for him passing the torch of idealogy down the line and it’s ironic that homophobes only get to spew their bile on the internets because of a gay man’s genius.
A Pardon? Pardonnez-moi! But why should a man, who is innocent of any real crime, need to be pardoned? Pardoned for being gay? pardon for having expressed physical intimacy with another? The petition should read ”exonerate of all accusations of wrongdoing”, and not too grant this war hero a pardon. The British State should be the ne asking for pardon ask pardon of him, for having driven him to commit suicide.
This is true …
Nonetheless he was convicted, forced to be chemically castrated and according to the records books is still a felon …
Therefore, a pardon is necessary – particularly in this unusual case
He was not forced to do anything. He was given the option.
Chemical castration is torture and should never have been an option, particularly for something that should not have been an offence
That may be the case, but he was not forced, he was offered alternatives, albeit not very good ones.
I suggest you retract that.
I think given the alternatives no court would accept Turing made a choice of his free will and with honest and informed consent …
I will not withdraw my comments as if his consent was not free, he was forced …
Albertus – I am agreement. A pardon would bring what people nowadays call “closure” to this issue. Not to do so will allow this to remain an open and sore reminder of how the state behaved at that time.