Feeds

back to article British Second World War codebreaker Alan Turing receives Royal pardon

Alan Turing, the British mathematician whose work was instrumental in the creation of the calculating machines that helped the Allies break German codes during World War II, has been posthumously pardoned for the offence of “gross indecency”. Turing's work is widely held to have shortened World War II, saving many lives, and …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Silver badge
Thumb Up

At last

Now what about an apology and pardon for all the others?

61
6
Silver badge

Re: At last

That would be hard work and need lots of form filling. The Government has cherry-picked a well known case and given a 'bread and circuses' gift to make it look as if all is well in the UK.

24
3
Silver badge

Re: At last

I think everything is well on the issue of homosexuality in the UK now, isn't it? Or, it will be from next March. Maybe I'm living a blinkered existence?

5
0
Silver badge

Re: At last

That would be hard work and need lots of form filling.

They could make a start by having QEII make a public apology to all those that were criminalised by this law. Next would be the people that suffered from shellshock and were shot for being cowards.

The Queen's Xmas speech would be a good venue for it.

25
4
Silver badge

Quite

That has always been my objection to giving Turing a pardon.

Either blanket-pardon all people who were prosectued for homosexuality, or none of them.

Just cherry picking celebrities doesn't really advance anything.

27
3
Silver badge

Re: At last

They did pardon the WWI victims in 2006

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Pandering

'AT LAST' Emotional hysteria? Do you think it makes any difference to Alan Turing?

Trying to re-write history to fit into the modern way of thinking just panders to a minority and allows politicians to get on the look how enlightened I am bandwagon.

It should be taught in schools to show how far we have moved on and how much better things are rather than pardons and apologies. This gives out the wrong signals that no matter what you do it can all be put right by a simple apology 50-200 years later.

Well, this business with Turing, Slavery and all the other stuff can't be put right, we cannot change what happened in history, we can't go back in time, but at least we can learn from it. It's just sad that people make political points out of it.

Do I feel terrible about all these events? Does it lay heavy on my conscience? No, not in the slightest and I bet no one on here loses sleep over it either. What we can do though is not let it happen again.

This country is turning into an emotional crybaby, for all out posturing it doesn't prevent other countries like Uganda for instance bringing in draconian laws does it. Are we becoming a laughing stock?

31
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: Pandering

Your last paragraph is a non sequitur.

As for Uganda, they and some other African countries are under the influence of US fundamentalist Christian right wingers. And why? Because these appalling people, losing the argument in their own country,are going off to spend their money in less advanced ones. We had one of them from this country stirring up trouble in Jamaica recently,so we aren't squeaky clean. (In another version of this, US fundamentalists fund settlements in Israel to help bring about the End Times. You couldn't, as their Fox News friends put it, make this stuff up.)

A Conservative government doing this in this country helps to undermine their efforts, which is a good thing in my view,even though it should have been done years ago. There are still people in Africa who think that, on the whole, British rule wasn't quite as bad as what happened afterwards, and this pardon probably encourages them a bit.

20
3
Anonymous Coward

Fantastic News

The news that Alan Turing will be pardoned will really cheer up all those people under threat of redundancy, those that have already been made redundant, those looking for work and those whose homes are being repossessed.

You have to wonder where their priorities are?

4
25
Silver badge

Re: Pandering@AC08:49

You must really be living in a happy bubble if you think this country has the kind if influence as to change things in Uganda. All this apologist crap and running to other countries cap in hand for investment just makes Britain look weak and a joke.

Do you really think Cameron has the stature of Churchill? You are spouting some real political crap, the Conservatives are a bunch of ill (not poorly) educated freeloaders whose only interest is themselves. Most of them should have been sent down for the expenses scandal.

Sadly, the other lot, Labour and the Lib Dems are even worse.

We are just a little country trying to punch above our weight and if Scotland goes it alone we will be pretty much insignificant on the world stage.

4
12
Anonymous Coward

Re: At last

It's more than just a well known case. The subtext here was that Turing was prosecuted at the behest of the United States, because they were going through the phase of obsessing about internal enemies that started after WW2. I suspect that without this, the case against him would have been quashed as not in the national interest, in case he was needed again by GCHQ, and he would have been told to be more circumspect in future. As happened to a number of other people in vaguely similar situations.

We don't know how many other gay people were forced out of government work as a result of the US pressure, but they represent a special category.

4
2
Vic
Silver badge

Re: At last

> Now what about an apology and pardon for all the others?

That rather misses the point about what a pardon is...

A pardon doesn't say that the law was improperly applied, nor does it say that the law was wrong (although in this case, I'm pretty sure most of us agree it was).

A pardon says that someone is excused his transgressance of the law because of other acts he has performed. This pardon doesn't say that Turing didn't commit what was, at the time, a criminal act - it says that the country is prepared to overlook that act on account of all the good stuff he did.

Those others convicted of the same crime are thus not automatically eligible for pardon, even after the law in question has been repealed; there would have to be some sort of campaign to have their convictions annulled. That's a different matter entirely...

Vic.

19
2

Re: Pandering@AC08:49

Enough straw men there to power our local renewables plant for a week. You've spent several paragraphs attributing to me things I did not write and views I do not hold. My own political views are decidedly left wing, but I've met enough politicians to (a) know that it is a more difficult job than you imagine and (b) realise that there is good and bad at all points of the spectrum. My comment was simply that a pardon issued by a "conservative" government is a little harder to argue against than one from a "left wing" government.

By all means post your political rants, but please don't use my posts as a pretext.

1
0
Bronze badge
Facepalm

Re: Fantastic News @AC

Way to miss the point.

The Queen has issued a pardon to a dead person who was branded a criminal and punished both physically and emotionally, for being gay.

I would consider this, apart from a few law consultant fees and a bit of pomp and circumstance to be a relatively low cost exercise, which few can disagree with the motive for doing, personally I think this will raise awareness of the treatment and behaviour of people in our past and hopeful send out a message that it is not acceptable, considering what is going on in Russia, India and continues to happen in parts of Africa I think it is a positive thing.

Issues to do with lack of jobs, redundancies and issues with the economy is not a low cost exercise that only requires the Queen to sign a bit of paper, do you think the Queen has barrels of jobs she just has to open for all to be well?

A lot of people do not have work, and a lot are not secure with the jobs they have, from no fault of their own, including myself, but to think the Queen can do much more than hire extra butlers or ground keepers is, for want of a better word, stupid, especially since I assume you are not a butler or grounds keeper.

In other words you are complaining that instead of everyone rebuilding homes after an earthquake some people are making tea for the survivors.

11
4
Silver badge
WTF?

Re: Mahatma Dolt Re: At last

"....They could make a start by having QEII make a public apology...." Why should the Queen apologise for the actions of politicians in which she played no part and had no say? You obviously do not understand how English Law is set - the people elect politicians, the politicians set the laws, the Police enforce the laws and the courts try those accused of breaking the law, so SFA to do with the Queen. In effect, this "Royal pardon" has SFA to do with the Queen, it is a political act.

8
6
Bronze badge

Re: Pandering

""'AT LAST' Emotional hysteria? Do you think it makes any difference to Alan Turing?"""

""Trying to re-write history to fit into the modern way of thinking just panders to a minority and allows politicians to get on the look how enlightened I am bandwagon.""

Aaaah the old vices of leftism, Political Correctness (PC) and Rewriting History (RH).

I shall not provide any example of PC because this history is a PC history.

As per an example of HR I would give you this current one: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/09/north-korea-kim-jong-un-uncle

0
7

Re: Mahatma Dolt At last

You obviously do not understand how English law is set.

Whilst it is politicians that set the laws, they are the Queen's government, it is the Queen who signs the decree placing the bill onto the statute book and thereby making it law and it is the courts who are nominally appointed and responsible to the Queen rather being under political control.

The fact her power in all of this is largely symbolic is irrelevant*, if the Queen made a public apology it would be a symbolic act apologizing for the past actions of her Government and in fact she is the most logical person to symbolically apologize for something that happened in her nation in the past (governments come and go but the monarchy stays pretty constant).

I'm not sure what difference a symbolic apology makes for something that happened in the past but apparently to many people these things provide closure and validation or something.

* In theory she could refuse to sign bills or appoint a prime minister she didn't like, in practice that would be the fastest way to get the country to transition to a republic and have public opinion turn swiftly against her.

3
3
Silver badge

Re: Mahatma Dolt At last

> Why should the Queen apologise for the actions of politicians in which she played no part and had no say?

She is a figurehead. Her very job description is to be a proxy for the actions and views of others, a symbol for all that is and has made the United Kingdom, even though none of the blame and none of the credit personally belong to Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor.

So when the United Kingdom fucks up, it's her job to apologize, even though she had nothing to do with it.

12
2

Re: At last

Better than it was. Though religious organisations are still allowed to work through their bigotry.

And while it's a lot less socially-acceptable to sound off about "poofs" or "fudgers", as a heterosexual man I still hear far too much of it.

5
1

Re: Pandering

I couldn't agree with you more.

If we issue a Royal Pardon for Turing, then logically we have to issue pardons for everyone who was convicted under the mediaeval law in force at the time.

If we issue a pardon for everyone convicted under that law, then logically we should issue pardons to people convicted under *every* law now seen to be barbaric. Pardons for the shot shell-shocked accused of cowardice in WW I; pardons for all the suffragettes; pardons for all the children hanged for stealing a loaf; the list is endless.

Then, once we legalise the consumption of cannabis, we have, logically, to pardon all those convicted under the present law. And so on.

This idea is called "re-writing history". Orwell satirised it in '1984'.

People, the damage is done! Although all these laws were abominable, they were the law at the time these injustices happened, and the injustices happened within a valid, if barbaric, rule of law.

We have to learn, improve, and move on. Pardons, and even apologies, just don't make sense.

5
3
Anonymous Coward

Re: Pandering

> As for Uganda, they and some other African countries are under the influence of US fundamentalist Christian right wingers.

You need to get your fundamentalist religions correct.

Uganda is predominately Catholic (over 80%) so is under the influence of fundamental papists. The USA don't particularly like Catholics and have only ever had one Catholic president who they ended up shooting (JFK).

There are 2 religions that dominate Africa and they are Islam and Catholicism. Neither of these religions are particularly tolerant of homosexuality.

Blaming the USA for everything is counter productive.

3
4
Anonymous Coward

Re: And the other objection is

That a "pardon" implies that what was done was wrong.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Pandering

> You need to get your fundamentalist religions correct.

He has.

Not that the catholic church is any bastion of liberalism either, but the on-going brutalization of african religion, with e.g. denial of the use of contraceptives to stop aids and death penalty for gays is driven by US missionaries.

5
3
Silver badge

Re: Mahatma Dolt At last

" so SFA to do with the Queen"

Not quite correct.

The Queen is head of state, so it falls on her to say sorry for past deeds of the state.

. Just like the CEO stands up and says sorry when management screw up, it is her job.

0
3

Re: Pandering@AC08:49

"Do you really think Cameron has the stature of Churchill? "

Cameron doesn't exactly have the real-world power that Churchill had. And Britain is weak and a joke - all that "special relationship" stuff designed to hide the fact that where the US goes, Britain goes ... the non-outrage over the abusive treatment of a British citizen in an illegal US gaol being a case-in-point ...

3
1

Re: Pandering

SO the fact that it was an American supported by an America based group that went over to Uganda to lobby they Uganda absolve the US of all wrong doing? the fact hat was not catholic based group allows Catholics? to be blamed

0
0

Re: At last

What about slavery? What about those hanged for poaching? Unable to pay debts? The serfs who abandoned their masters? Pickpockets? Those who fought for the wrong side during the civil war? Where will it end? You CANNOT go back and re-write historical wrongs, it is foolish, discriminatory and completely and utterly pointless. I cannot believe that people are so blind and so naive and easily led that they are celebrating this pointless act and allowing the politicians mileage from it.

2
0

Re: At last

Sadly no, people still get beaten up for it and sometimes worse.

Much better than in many other countries though.

0
1
Silver badge
Childcatcher

Does this mean...

... that children will not be blocked from researching Alan Turing because web pages that mention him will no longer contain "objectionable content"?

28
0
Silver badge

Re: Does this mean...

They will still be blocked for his flagrant copyright violation.

Especially his notorious roll in developing "tools intended for circumvention of copy-prevention systems"

40
0
Bronze badge
Thumb Up

Re: Does this mean...

@GM & YAAC: wish I could upvote those multiple times.

7
0
Silver badge

Re: Does this mean...

Sorry, should be "role" - I can't type and this gadget thinks it's cleverer than me.

1
0
Bronze badge

"is a wonderful Christmas gift to the world"

Excuse me while I barf. The only one it would be a gift to has been dead for 60 years.

It is vacuous gesturing driven entirely by political self promotion. Look how much more caring, thoughtful, and sexual orientation tolerant we are than our predecessors 60 years ago were, don't you just have to love (and vote for) us?

Any politician who claims this is a good or worthwhile idea is a dishonest slimeball - so that's probably all of them.

15
2
Silver badge
Mushroom

What A Crock of SHIT

"Grace"? "Mercy"? "Pardon"?

How about "It was a stupid fucking law, written and enforced by ignorant assholes, and the fact that over sixty years later we're just 'pardoning' one of the most prominent victims of this travesty rather that just simply vacating ALL convictions under this COMPLETELY WRONG law shows just how bigoted and stupid we still are."

35
5
Silver badge

Re: What A Crock of SHIT

Exactly. The law was grossly unsound and when it was removed from the books it should have resulted in am official apology to anyone with a conviction and any convictions being expunged. A pardon suggests guilt. He may have broken a law but the law was as unsound as they get. It should never have been a law and if our elected officials weren't spineless, greedy, moronic sacks of excrement it would have been dealt with properly.

7
2
Bronze badge

Re: What A Crock of SHIT

How about "It was a stupid fucking law, written and enforced by ignorant assholes, and the fact that over sixty years later we're just 'pardoning' one of the most prominent victims of this travesty rather that just simply vacating ALL convictions under this COMPLETELY WRONG law shows just how bigoted and stupid we still are."

If you waited for that it would never happen. The Queen can't make those kinds of statements: if she was to do so that would rightly attract criticism as exceeding her power, and indeed her very statement of position on a political issue would be a catastrophic abuse of power.

How about someone writing in 2113 stating "Turing is still a convicted pervert because a century ago a common sense decision could have been made but never was. This was because some jerk with an axe to grind completely ignored the constitution and the law, and demanded a completely impossible ideal instead of something that could have been granted easily and legally".

Would that have made you feel better? This is reality, not some some nirvana where constitutional law can be cast aside based solely on your whim.

3
5
Anonymous Coward

Re: What A Crock of SHIT

"This was because some jerk with an axe to grind completely ignored the constitution"

Go on then, tell us how they ignored the constitution? We don't have one. Yanks have one: Their government routinely ignores it, so it means nothing, although the population still cling to the lifeless document as if it were a holy relic..

The idea of a constitution in the UK being the sum of all statute simply isn't the same thing, because there is no bedrock on which to build.

7
5
Silver badge

Re: What A Crock of SHIT

" The law was grossly unsound "

By modern standards. By the social standards of the day it was widely regarded as a deviant practice which should be illegal. You might not like that, but that's how things were. And the underlying social attitudes persisted long after the law was changed - remember a certain glittery rock star's sham wedding to some Austrlain bird to prove he wasn't gay? Or how a reasonably long list of celebrities and politicians had to resign because they were gay, usually after denying the fact? I don't think Freddie Mercury ever publicly admitted being gay.

It's all very well condemning old laws for being wrong, but often they mirror the social attitudes of their times.

11
0
Silver badge

Re: What A Crock of SHIT

Go on then, tell us how they ignored the constitution? We don't have one. Yanks have one:

Wrong. You can have a consitution without having it all on one bit of paper headed "Ye Olde Conftitution". There is plenty of information about the British Constitiution on the web, for example:

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/constitution-unit/whatis/uk-constitution

8
1
Silver badge

Re: What A Crock of SHIT

It was a stupid fucking law, written and enforced by ignorant assholes,

True, as seen by today's standards, but it was less clear at the time. 20/20 hindsight is always easy.

There are several problems with rewriting laws to make them fit modern standards, not least the one of compensation. A blanket pardon for any crime would simply have the no-win-no-fee ambulance chasing scum salivating at the thought of the money they could make by suing the taxpayer for all the past convictions. It wouldn't do those who were convicted much good.

Then, of course, you have the problem of laws that went the other way. What about things which are crimes today, but weren't crimes 100 years ago, like racial or other discrimination? Would you suggest posthumously prosecuting everyone who used to have a "no Irish need apply" statement on their job adverts, etc.?

Realistically all we can do is accept that things were different then, and make an effort to educate our children about our mistakes, so that they learn not to repeat them.

13
0
Bronze badge

Re: What A Crock of SHIT

The law/s may have changed, but a lot of society has not.

At the ¨upper¨ levels of society, sharing the mattress with a partner of the same sex was frowned upon if it became general knowledge. Otherwise it was just another day. At the lower levels it was an invitation to be admitted to A&E. And women loving women has never been illegal in the UK anyway.

Doubtless we can be amused at the amount of MPs´ wandering around Hampstead Heath and inspecting the bushes.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: What A Crock of SHIT

> the constitution? We don't have one.

That is not entirely true.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: What A Crock of SHIT

That's why it is a pardon. A pardon says "yes you did it but";

we have forgiven you/ we don't mind/we understand you had a reason/we now like you.

2
0

Re: What A Crock of SHIT

while it may always be debatable .. This law was felt necessary in the society to prevent depravity from taking over .. Most of the population aren't in favour of gays anyway .. its a bit like feminism .. and despite what anyone wants to think or pretend to be tolerant to other views or being politically correct, this whole LGB thing is creating a havoc in society and making a mockery of marriages .. Hence it is also not accepted by any of the major religions of the society whether Christianity, Hinduism or Islam ..

0
4
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Re: What A Crock of SHIT

"making a mockery of marriages"

More than the straight people repeatedly marrying and divorcing in their droves? Check the divorce rates. I know friends who have divorced and remarried for good reasons, and they're happy. And I'm pleased for them. But in the wider sense, what's "making a mockery of marriage" more - people recklessly exchanging vows or gay people?

Just my personal opinion.

C.

5
0
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: diodesign Re: What A Crock of SHIT

"....More than the straight people repeatedly marrying and divorcing in their droves?...." I would suggest the "making a mockery of marriages" has been the fault of the media industry for decades. It seems it is just not fashionable to realise marriages and relationships in general are actually hard work and require compromise, and that there might not actually be "one ideal person" for everyone, gay or straight. Going into it with eyes open and ready for a bit of compromise and some effort make for a happier relationship, whether it's a marriage, business partnership or any other form of interaction between people. Far too many people seem to rush into what they see as idyllic partnerships with some fairytale expectation they have gathered from films, TV or magazines. Added to that are the hilariously OTT expectations we put upon ourselves - does anyone actually go on a first date as themselves or as what they think that prospective partner wants to see? My advice to my kids was don't rush in, make sure you spend at least a year "living in sin" together because it's the only way to actually be sure you're marrying the person you think you are. Which has SFA to do with gays "corrupting" marriage and a lot more with common sense.

0
0
Bronze badge
Trollface

Re: What A Crock of SHIT

quote: "this whole LGB thing is creating a havoc in society and making a mockery of marriages"

People were homosexual before Christ was born, and people were living in family groups before the concept of marriage even existed.

You appear to be the one failing to see that we were and are perfectly capable of being a "society" which contains homosexual individuals, and have family groups without the need for a marriage certificate. Your consent is not required for either of those to work, and never was.

Please get back to the far more important task of ensuring your religion (whichever it happens to be) is never used to promote violence against others. That is far more important than the deliberate persecution of any subset of society for daring to disagree with you. :)

2
0
jai
Silver badge

Re: @ sparkiemj : What A Crock of SHIT

making a mockery of marriages

sorry, but i think you'll find the likes of the Kardashians are doing a fine job of mockery making all by themselves, the "whole LGB thing" as you put it, if anything seem to take marriage far more seriously.

1
0
Bronze badge

Re: What A Crock of SHIT

The idea of a constitution in the UK being the sum of all statute simply isn't the same thing, because there is no bedrock on which to build.

Who has ever said that? Oh, that's right, you.

Go away and learn something about that you are pontificating about.

Go through the legal section of any decent higher education library and you will find shelf upon shelf of books on UK constitutional law. What is your great insight that all of those great legal minds have missed?

2
0

A good start

About bloody time, now how about apologising to the other 50,000 or so also convicted of this `crime` who`s lives, careers and health were ruined by this unfair law?

4
5

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.