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The Guardian

Government Communications chief regrets treatment of codebreaker Alan Turing

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  1. Spanner1960 4 Oct 2012, 9:06pm

    I totally and wholeheartedly concur with the comments:

    “We can’t rewrite the past,” he said. “We can’t wish mid-20th century Britain into a different society with different attitudes.”

    Alan Turing was a man of his time. He should be respected and recognised for his brilliant work, and maybe in some ways he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but in others he was the perfect solution.

    It is for that reason I still state that he should not be pardoned; it is water under the bridge and what is done is done. Simply recognise the man for his genius, not his nature.

    1. I quite agree. It’s not as though the pardon is going to make the slightest difference to him, after all.

    2. David Myers 6 Oct 2012, 7:20am

      It makes a difference to today . . . and tomorrow’s Alan Turings. Yes recognise him for his genius and for his courage in the face of evil and hatred. A pardon is important regardless of what you two twits say!

      1. It’s perhaps rather more twit-like to not recognise that the man has been dead 60 years. Pardons are often considered important for descendants – of those shot for desertion during WWI, for example – but that’s clearly irrelevant in this instance.

      2. Fair enough, as long as everyone else who was treated similarly (or worse) over the course of British history is pardoned at the same time.

  2. “Turing wasn’t eccentric: he was unique.”

    Great statement. And as Spanner says, the comment about not being able to transport modern attitudes back to the mid-20th century is a fair one. Turing’s loss is still a tragedy though.

  3. Fine words. Without Turing we might all have a picture of Adolf above the fireplace.

  4. He’d be 100yrs old of course but If Turing were alive today he would still not be allowed to marry a same sex partner in UK, the institutionalised homophobia continues and gay people are still treated as second class citizens.

    1. de Villiers 5 Oct 2012, 12:23am

      Pavlos – can we not just have a story to say something pleasant rather than forever referring to ourselves as an oppressed, second-class people?

      1. Perhaps when we are no longer an oppressed second -class people, and wasn’t that the whole tragedy of the Alan Turing story?

        Alan Turing, a mathematical genius who instead of being treated like the hero he was in his lifetime was oppressed, criminalised and medically tortured for being homosexual until driven to take his own life.

        The speedy introduction of marriage equality would be a fitting way to celebrate Alan Turing’s life and achievements and to show that our government no longer places a lower value on gay citizens and their requirements than the rest of the population.

        1. As an aside, there’s a quite convincing argument now that he didn’t actually commit suicide but died accidentally.

          1. I don’t suppose we will ever know for sure now whether Turin took his own life deliberately, by accident or whether a third party may have been involved right at the very end. Certainly being forcibly given female hormones administered as punishment for being gay made him depressed, fat and grow breasts, it was experimental medical torture so he had already been poisoned and killed as man by the hormone treatment before ingesting the cyanide.

          2. They never even tested the apple! I think the conjectured ‘suicide’ was yet another strategy to assassinate his character. At the very least reports like this should call it an ‘alleged’ suicide.

    2. Spanner1960 5 Oct 2012, 7:28am

      Oh put a sock in it.
      Gay rights has moved on by a huge amount since Turing’s day. I wonder if you fully appreciate just how bad it was: gay men were regarded by most of the populace in much the same way as paedophiles are today, in fact probably worse, if you reported to the police for being beaten up, they would probably have given you a good kicking as well.

      Whilst we are not there yet, but we are pretty damn close, so quit moaning about what you haven’t got and recognise what you have instead.

      1. “Oh put a sock in it.”


      2. It’s not so much about re-writing the past, as righting a wrong. Alan Turing was “air-brushed from history”, just as Soviets who fell out of favour were.
        Imagine if Leonardo Da Vinci or Michaelangelo were removed from our consciousness.

        Alan Turing saved this country and shortened the war.

      3. David Myers 6 Oct 2012, 7:23am

        Sure we’ve come a long way but that is no excuse for demanding basic human dignity and the righting of past wrongs. On this one Spanner – you are definately wrong!

    3. Lighten up Pavlos, don’t be such a voice of doom. Th UK and most other western countries have made huge strides towards a greater equality since the 1960s and wallowing in victimhood does nobody any favours.

      There will always be discrimination and prejudice as long as there are human beings on this planet, sadly it is human nature. Gay men discriminate as much as anyone else in society all the time whether its on hair colour, body form, level of education, personality – whatever.

      We are not second class citizens now, we are playing a major role in society at all levels and soon equal marriage will be the last piece in the legal equality jigsaw to achieve. We can then redouble our efforts tackle bigotry in schools and many religious institutions, and support our brethren in less fortunate nations of this world who really are not regarded as citizens at all, first or second class.

      1. I’m not wallowing in victimhood, I’m far too rational for such sloppy melodrama.
        We still do not have full civil equality and I’m getting very tired of waiting, it’s all very well expressing regret for past wrongs but this is an excellent opportunity to look at and address what is presently wrong and ask again why do gay people still not have fully equal civil rights? Who, if anyone, benefits from denying LGBT’s fully equal civil rights

        1. Spanner1960 5 Oct 2012, 11:18am

          I think the bottom line is, in some quarters we are never going to be equal in some people’s eyes. Ask any black or Asian in Britain if they feel they are and I doubt they will agree they feel totally accepted..

          That is simply the way life is, and better to accept the reality and get what you can rather than constantly complain about what you haven’t got.

          1. True, however there’s no excuse for anti-gay discrimination in civil law, the rest of the anti-gay homophobia cannot be legislated against but the law should not appear to legitimise it and prop it up as it does presently with separate, special and lesser treatment, the bar on same sex marriage benefits nobody, there is no rational reason for it and it needs to go.

          2. I agree with you when you say “that is simply the way life is” because our species are not that different from the chimpanzees you see in the forests of Africa fighting over territory. We’ll always be a bunch of territorial and tribal beasts who will attack or single out anybody who isn’t the same as us. Our DNA hasn’t changed in 200,000 years since modern humans evolved in Africa and we wonder why we are so primitive sometimes?

            By the way when you say “Asian” who are you referring to? Vietnamese, Gujaratis, Bengalis, Tibetans, Han Chinese, the hundreds of groups that exist Indonesia? Asia is a huge continent.

            I find the way we define race as vague and lazy, some “Asians” share no more in common with each other than they do with people in Europe.

          3. Spanner1960 5 Oct 2012, 4:59pm

            Chris: Please don’t get all uptight about a description.
            How about non-indigenous, non caucasian – happy now?

          4. Who says I was getting uptight? Just pointing out inconsistencies in terminology that’s all. Actually many North Indians could be considered “aryans” or “Caucasians” because they speak an Indo-European.

          5. *Indo-European language.

          6. The Causasus is in Asia, in case you didn’t know.

          7. What are you saying, Spanner? None of the advances we have seen have been achieved without voices, like that of Pavlos, who are not content with inequality. You say “we are not there yet”. How do you suggest we now proceed? Keeping quiet? Being grateful?

          8. Spanner wants an easy life, he seems happy with just sitting in judgement about those people who want to see equality for all no matter if that is marriage, health, career opportunities etc.

            We can all make a difference in our own way, but from what I see from your arguments on many issues Spanner, the phrase “I’m alright Jack” springs to mind – look after number one, which after all reflects your Political allegiances.

  5. ACT UP LONDON + +.+ + 5 Oct 2012, 7:49am

    Yes you can now email abuse to.your hiv staff in charity sector and pay them of snd keep your job !!!!

  6. ACT UP LONDON + +.+ + 5 Oct 2012, 7:52am

    No apology from the trustees of crusaid.for thr email “get another job with a better employer” in 2004 – we are all waiting :-)

  7. Of course he should be pardoned. What are pardons for. The man should not have this conviction. No one should have.

    1. Spanner1960 5 Oct 2012, 11:20am

      He broke the law. He knew he was breaking the law at the time. It’s as simple as that. I’m not saying the law was wrong, but I like to think we have progressed since then.

      Time cannot be reversed, and neither can actions be.

      1. I think a pardon would be a splendid gesture – not just for Turing but for all those Gay men who were treated in a similar way. It would send a strong message of regret for the institutionalised cruelty that existed. This would be a very good use of the grant of pardon. Derek Bentley, who was hanged in 1953 on spurious charges did not receive a full pardon until 1998, thanks to the efforts family. Turing didn’t leave successors to plead on his behalf but the Gay community can and should fill this role for him. Pardons aim to rectify injustice.

      2. “He broke the law. He knew he was breaking the law at the time. It’s as simple as that.”
        An unnatural law like that is impossible for most people to obey. If it was aimed at straight people everyone would be in prison. Spanner, your silly comment implies Turing was partly to blame. He was a victim. It’s as simple as that.

    2. But he’s been dead 60 years – what good is a pardon going to do him?

      1. Pardons have been granted to 16 year old boy soldiers executed in WW1 for “cowardice” (now recognized as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
        It is about erasing a slur on their memories, and recognizing their true place in history.

        1. Such pardons are usually sought by descendants or other relations, who feel the need to remove the slur from their families’ records. It is not exactly relevant here, especially when Turing’s genius is widely recognised.

  8. ACT UP LONDON + +.+ + 5 Oct 2012, 10:49am

    Congratulations to trustees.of crusaid for prrsenting the police panel member with a medal after their “high court.injunction without hesitation” email.followed on by their “lifeblood of all we could.not go.on without you ” letter – FANCY :-O

  9. ACT UP LONDON + +.+ + 5 Oct 2012, 10:54am

    After the london hiv charity sector spent £900,000-00 encouraging people off their benefits only to make them redundant ! ! ! ! They then present you with a award for fundraising at the south african high commission lol :-O

    1. Spanner1960 5 Oct 2012, 11:21am

      Fck off spamming these boards.
      Have you nothing better to do with your time, you sad little man?

  10. ACT UP LONDON + +.+ + 5 Oct 2012, 11:39am

    Whatever next gay people allowed tell us mr spanner sir.why have gay people been denied a run hiv media.and lol you got.lots of opinions answrers ? ?ah bless

  11. You cannot regret something that was law at the time.

    Just as Australia and NI, homosexuals cannot Marry, and that is official.

    1. Spanner1960 5 Oct 2012, 5:01pm

      Agreed. But we can attempt to get the laws changed.
      That is called progress.

    2. David Myers 6 Oct 2012, 7:28am

      Are you crazy? So the US of today cannot regret that they legalized slavery? You can and should regret unjust laws of the past and rectify those mistakes today, where and whenever possible!

    3. Of course you can regret it, or at least you can deplore it. What you can’t do is change the past.

  12. darkmoonman 5 Oct 2012, 6:42pm

    I’m sure that Alan Turing, who committed suicide on 1954 June 7 because of how he was treated by the UK, doesn’t give a rip about this posthumous “pardon” 58 years too late. It’s just a lot of hot air that cost the UK Government nothing.

    1. Spanner1960 5 Oct 2012, 8:21pm

      I think you will find the jury is out on that one.
      His death may not have been suicide, but simply misadventure.

  13. Robert Brown 5 Oct 2012, 10:08pm

    About time for the apology . . .



  14. ACT UP LONDON + +.+ + 6 Oct 2012, 7:45am

    About time crusaid trustees apologised for their email pain n suffering to alot of people if crusaid is so bad gett e better job with another employer ” from 2004
    Respecr the dead support

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