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Lords bill aims to pardon gay computer genius Alan Turing

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  1. One word.


  2. Well it’s about damn time! It’s a disgrace that this hasn’t been done far sooner.

  3. I thought the government was wiping the slate clean for past gay convictions which
    are now legal?

    1. yes, but you have to apply for them – those that are already dead can’t do that and besides that statement was issued long before the new law came into effect.

  4. I like how Justice Minister Lord McNally blames Alan Turing for his own arrest because that’s the way it was way back then. Tough. The man was a hero. Without Alan Turning we might have been an occupied country now.

  5. “He killed himself in 1952, two years after being sentenced to chemical castration.”

    Should say 1954

    1. And how many times do I need to tell Pink News about the need to mention John Graham-Cumming? John started the campaign which resulted in the UK Government apology

  6. Robert in S. Kensington 25 Jul 2012, 7:01pm

    And wait for the illogical rants against it by the Tory backbenchers and other hatemongers on the christian right.

    1. I hope that they don’t dare!

  7. Christopher Hobe Morrison 25 Jul 2012, 7:02pm

    I would agree that it was long past time, but I would also mention the recent doubts that Turing actually committed suicide. These doubts should have at least been mentioned. Even so, this does not make his death or persecution any more justifiable.

  8. Ummmmm……….just wondering if Lord Maginnis will be casting his vote in favour….? After all- he’s said he’s “not homophobic”

  9. I’m going to go against the grain here, but I can’t really get excited about this: after all, it’s not going to make the slightest difference to Turing, is it?

    Or even for his memory – people now are far more aware of his contribution to codebreaking during WWII. As far as I can see (and perhaps I’m being short-sighted here) a pardon isn’t really going to make the slightest difference one way or the other.

  10. Spanner1960 25 Jul 2012, 8:43pm

    Oh for crying out loud.
    I’m all for supporting the man and his work, and he should be given the recognition he deserves, but this is pointless: He broke the law.
    The law may well have been wrong and unjust, but that does not alter the fact, and we cannot turn back time.

    Better to recognise him with a posthumous knighthood or similar. Let us recognise his achievements, not his failings.

    1. Tool by name tool by nature!

    2. substitute gay for black – there would be complete uproar if the government refused to apologiese to people for enslaving them in the past.

      This is about correcting and acknowledging wrongdoing.

      1. But Gordon Brown did apologise. The question is what possible use this posthumous pardon is – indicating that he underwent chemical castration for nothing, perhaps?

      2. Spanner1960 26 Jul 2012, 10:10am

        Nobody said anything about not apologising; they have.
        However, if somebody asked that all families of former slaves be reimbursed, I think they would have a fight on their hands.

        It has never been illegal to be black.
        What’s done is done, and it is impossible to turn the clock back. If we started retroactively reversing laws, we would be up to our necks in legal red tape. Whether or not a law has since been deemed to be wrong is irrelevant; the point is Turing broke a criminal statute back then, and he knew it – (not that ignorance is an excuse in the eyes of the law) – It is always easy to view all this later in hindsight, but that is the way it was back then, and dishing out pardons willy-nilly makes absolutely no difference.

  11. I have to agree with Rehan (though not necessarily with Spanner…), a pardon would be meaningless now. It is far to late for it to make a difference to Turing, and this just seems like it is more about trying to rewrite history. We need to acknowledge the fact that what the government did to him was horrible, and wrong and try to change the future not the past.
    It seems to me that a posthumous knighthood might be more appropriate for this great man. It doesn’t cover up the mistakes of the past, but it acknowledges his successes.

  12. Turing and his team a Bletchley Park; UK bought about the destruction of the entire German Wehrmacht by Breaking the German enigma code machine which basically is a teleprinter which intercepts scrambled codes which constitute letters in the form of written orders from the German High command Hierarchy. Basically every German Surface combatant, U-Boat, Air defense sector and Panzer division had its own enigma machine. Basically Bletchely Park intercepted the enemy messages and could eavesdrop on what the German high command was going to do so we could find the wolfpacks stalking the Atlantic convoys and we could plot German divisions on the map itself. This was the equivilant of finding the Ark of the covenant in intelligence terms

  13. It seems to me that a pardon at this stage, while perfectly useless to Turing would be an appropriate act of contrition by the government. Turing himself won’t benefit but others will by the admission that old attitudes to Gay people were wrong. As for Spanner saying “he broke the law”, so did slaves who escaped their owners. Not a real crime. The law that punished Turing was against nature. Not sure what his point is. This move is not rewriting this history. It is condemning it.

  14. “However, the law at the time required a prosecution…” This is an outright lie! If this were true, the word “discretion” would be removed from the CPS dictionary. Tony Blair and his fellow criminals would be prosecuted for ALL of their crimes.

    This effort is important to educate the general community of the persecution of gay men through British – and world – history. Especially when you consider that the state persecuted “The Father of Computing”.

  15. The problem I have with this proposal is that it implies the justification for a pardon is Turing’s genius and usefulness to the nation, rather than because the law was wrong. This leaves everyone else who had their lives ruined by the same law ignored and further insulted and discriminated against. By all means celebrate Turing’s achievements – I’d have a statue of him on the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square – but let his conviction remain as a powerful reminder of the price of homophobia (imagine if he’d been caught cottaging before the war?), as with that of Wilde. The only reason for over-turning a criminal conviction is if further evidence shows it was wrongfully reached, not if the law is subsequently changed or abolished because values change. Otherwise, to be consistent, we’ll end up having to pardon witches and anyone convicted of adultery down the ages, along with countless other ancient crimes…

    1. Very good points, I agree completely.

    2. Spanner1960 26 Jul 2012, 11:35am

      Absolutely. I have never denied that the law at the time was wrong, and it should be kept common knowledge just what gay people suffered throughout history. As for Turing himself, he was one of many, it just so happens to be probably the most famous. He should be recognised for his massive contribution, and although his conviction should not be altogether forgotten, I’m sure most people would prefer he was known as “The Father of Computing”, and not “Some gay bloke that got caught with his pants down.”

    3. you know he wasn’t caught cottaging – he had sex in his OWN home and was later burgled the police suspected he was gay and then he then admitted why that person was in their home.

      I wrote about this for my coursework.

  16. About blooming time!

  17. What good is that now. He is dead and so will never know that you are pardoning him. All the hurt and hate that was caused him in his life and that caused him to take his life will never be erased.

  18. Turing’s legacy – must include not only the ‘apology’ for what was ‘of the times’ – but a complete and total pardon of his ‘criminal conviction.’ Regardless of ‘the times’ – the fact is, being human, is never a crime regardless time, enjoying ‘sex’ – with consenting partners of legal age, is being human.

    Alan Turing was victimized by the government, and his ‘chemical castration’ – a crime against humanity.

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