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 …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    At last

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

    1. frank ly 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.

      1. ThomH 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?

        1. Tony Green

          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.

        2. Trollslayer Silver badge

          Re: At last

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

          Much better than in many other countries though.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        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.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: At last

          They did pardon the WWI victims in 2006

        2. Matt Bryant 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.

          1. The Mole

            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.

          2. Vociferous

            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.

          3. Charles Manning

            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.

        3. Connor

          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.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        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.

    2. Charles Manning

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And the other objection is

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

    3. Anonymous Coward
      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?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. LarsG

          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.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            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.

          2. Lapun Mankimasta

            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 ...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          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.

          1. Vociferous

            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.

          2. kain preacher Silver badge

            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

      2. John Sanders

        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

      3. Brent Longborough

        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.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      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?

      1. Maharg
        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.

    5. Vic

      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.

  2. Graham Marsden
    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"?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward 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"

      1. Anonymous Dutch Coward
        Thumb Up

        Re: Does this mean...

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

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Does this mean...

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

  3. JP19

    "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.

  4. Steve Knox
    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."

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        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.

        1. JohnMurray

          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.

      2. sparkiemj

        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 ..

        1. diodesign (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.

          1. Matt Bryant 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.

        2. NumptyScrub
          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. :)

        3. jai

          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.

    2. the spectacularly refined chap

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. Phil O'Sophical 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

        2. Vociferous

          Re: What A Crock of SHIT

          > the constitution? We don't have one.

          That is not entirely true.

        3. the spectacularly refined chap

          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?

    3. Phil O'Sophical 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.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward 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.

  5. mickey mouse the fith

    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?

    1. Old Handle

      Re: A good start

      Now look, they can't pardon everybody, just imagine the huge backlog they'd have by the time they got around to pardoning the new people entering the queue with extreme porn and dangerous cartoon convictions.

  6. Ashton Black

    Too Late...

    59 years too late.

  7. John Whitehead

    All hail Turing, but pass the sick bag for royal connection

    There can be no doubt about the injustice done to one of our finest, but it sickens me that Mrs Windsor and her clan are the vector for redress. Surely the modernisation process that acknowledges that individuals' sexuality is their own business must also extend to the need to get rid of this nonsense of a hereditary head of state. 21st century or 11th?

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: All hail Turing, but pass the sick bag for royal connection

      The concept of a hereditary head of state was actually an important step forward in social evolution. Prior to this, individuals took power by murdering those in power, and all those who supported them. Heredity worked for some time, until we ran into the fairly obvious problem of a corrupt monarch (and yes, there were quite a few who weren't corrupt.)

      It was after we had some experience with corrupt monarchs that the aristocracy was created: in essence, a means to reign in the power of the crown by distributing many rights and duties amongst a broader base.

      Again: this mostly worked, but only in that it made the issue of corruption a more local one instead of a kingdom-wide one. There still did not exist a legal mechanism to remove a corrupt aristocrat. Slowly, and with time, the law evolved. A quorum of lords could challenge a corrupt lord and remove him. Then, lesser nobility (knights and so forth) inherited the ability to raise the flag.

      Laws were created by which even royalty had to abide and all this far before the modern recreation of "democracy." To be honest, I think the jury's still out on the concept of democracy as practiced today. Politicians today are not occupied with the business of governing. They are occupied perpetually with the business of getting reelected. This makes begin responsive to the issues plaguing the citizenry at best a secondary priority.

      Ultimately, regardless of the system of governance the issue has not changed since the pre-monarchy days of warlords: those who achieve a position of power over others but whose interests lie in protecting their own power instead of governing their people fairly and justly are dangerous and deleterious to society. Democracy hasn't changed this. Thanks to gerrymandering, democracy hasn't really made changing those in power over us easy or effective either.

      So for all that you lament what you see as unnecessary trappings of a forgotten past, do take the time to remember that the present is little better off. Maybe - just maybe - the best government is a mix of elected and inherited officials. Those who represent (theoretically) an expression of the people and those who have no need to run for reelection but who serve to sanity check the first group.

      How you keep tweedles dee and dum from becoming corrupt, well, that's our current pickle, innit?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: All hail Turing, but pass the sick bag for royal connection

        @Trevor Potts,

        Agree with your post. Perhaps it's worth pointing out too that since 1688 the Monarch reigns with the consent of Parliament, which means that on the death of the Queen, Parliament could in theory elect a different successor. Hence the people who think that Charles should be bypassed.

        With all its faults, the British system does create some degree of stability in Government (except when Prime Ministers abuse the system of creation of peers, as too often happens). The US system manages to provide at the same time wild policy swings in foreign affairs and legislative gridlock in domestic ones.

        1. HippyFreetard

          Re: All hail Turing, but pass the sick bag for royal connection

          That said, the Queen retains power over the military, retains the power to veto any laws we try to make, and will be taking £33,000,000 of our tax money this year, despite already making a killing with the Crown Estate, and despite hospitalised malnutrition doubling over the last few years.

          IN 1999, an anti-Iraq-war politician put forward a bill to remove the Queen's military power, and it was vetoed by the Queen. And we went to war, with hilarious consequences.

          So yeah. Some over-privileged old warmonger in London forgives Alan Turing for being gay? Pass the sick bag.

      2. TheOtherHobbes

        Re: All hail Turing, but pass the sick bag for royal connection

        "Democracy hasn't changed this."

        Democracy was never supposed to change it. The vote in the UK was created to avoid a messy revolution, not to give the likes of us a say in policy.

        If you want to set policy, you have to become unfeasibly rich and influential and probably criminal, and/or be a corporation.

        Voting is a bit of irrelevant panto that happens every few years. It has nothing to do with practical politics - see e.g. the last UK election where the Tories only won because Nick Clegg stole all the LibDem 'let's do something different' votes and betrayed the people who cast them.

        As for Turing - being gay seemed to be pretty much obligatory in Oxbridge circles for quite a long time. I've always found it odd that Turing was prosecuted and aggressively persecuted, when so many other famous Establishment names were left alone.

      3. John Sanders
        Thumb Up

        Re: All hail Turing, but pass the sick bag for royal connection

        @ Trevor_Pott

        """Politicians today are not occupied with the business of governing. They are occupied perpetually with the business of getting reelected. This makes begin responsive to the issues plaguing the citizenry at best a secondary priority."""

        If I ever meet you I owe you a pint.

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: All hail Turing, but pass the sick bag for royal connection

          @John Sanders if you're every in Alberta, give me a holler: I'll buy you one.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: All hail Turing, but pass the sick bag for royal connection

            Hey get a room you guys

            1. Red Bren

              Re: All hail Turing, but pass the sick bag for royal connection

              "Hey get a room you guys"

              Get a room, not a conviction followed by a pardon half a century later...

      4. HippyFreetard

        Re: All hail Turing, but pass the sick bag for royal connection

        Completely agree, historically.

        But we have even further evolved ideas that are being worked out by other countries. Some countries in Europe have kept their monarchy as nothing but a symbolic tradition with no political power. Some have got rid of theirs altogether.

        It all seems to be moving towards anarchistic autonomy. Sweden has a powerless monarchy (since 1975), and some cantons even have a system of Direct Democracy, where every citizen is involved with political decisions.

        To keep corruption out, simply take a look at the Government Transparency indices (e.g. Corruption Perceptions Index) at the countries at the top - i.e. Denmark, New Zealand, Sweden - and find out what they're doing better than us. Incidentally (or perhaps not), they also top the democracy, quality of life, and low poverty indices.

        There are better ways than what we have now, and we need to move towards them.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: All hail Turing, but pass the sick bag for royal connection

        > To be honest, I think the jury's still out on the concept of democracy as practiced today. Politicians today are not occupied with the business of governing. They are occupied perpetually with the business of getting reelected.

        Quick and easy fix for this: nobody can run for more than one term. This would have advantages:

        - End of career politicians

        - No point in campaigning for re-election if that's not possible.

        - Refresh of the political faces every time.

        There would be downsides (less chance for politicians to gain experience, but it would be arguably more democratic and less of a crony club.

    2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: All hail Turing, but pass the sick bag for royal connection

      History is a funny thing, and you have to considered carefully why things are the current way. They brought back Charles II in 1658 after Cromwell's death because it was considered better to have a monarch with prescribed powers (largely ceremonial since) than a Lord Protector with no limits.

      Looking at it another way, she was actually around at the time of his conviction, so is that not a better choice to offer a pardon?

      And it gives less opportunity for the slime-ball that is Dave Cameron to appear 'good'.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: All hail Turing, but pass the sick bag for royal connection

        They also brought Charles back for an important technical reason; the Roundheads were a land army (like Hitler's) and were unable effectively to counter the Dutch raids. Charles II was a knowledgeable marine architect who understood the technical basis of Dutch sea power in the North Sea and was able to promote ship designs which could counter them. (see The Command of the Ocean, by N A M Rodger, and some of its bibliography). The Dutch wars concluded, of course, in 1688 when the Orange and English monarchies linked up and the power of Parliament to determine succession was established.

        In a world with a much higher incidence of armed conflict than there is today, the idea of selecting the Head of State from a family which had demonstrated its ability to manage armed forces was logical. More logical,say, than giving the job to an ex-alcoholic with no visible track record whose Daddy had once been President.

  8. David Webb

    Optional

    Well, I too think it was about time, though in reality it should never have been a crime in the first place.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's really celebrate!

    Sack the monarchy and its peers!

  10. madmalc

    Regarding the above (And possibly below) comments

    Some people are never bleedin' happy!

  11. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Trollface

    The man in the high castle

    "many of us might not be free to enjoy the season"

    Not into a gradle-to-grave welfare-warfare well-regimented state when you can drive your Volkswagen Mark IV at 160 kilometer pro stunde down to London in order to enjoy Weihnachten with the rest of the very anglo-aryan family?

    Come on now!

    You would probably still get Krugman talking up the economy on Deutschlandfunk, so there is no escaping that iffyness.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: The man in the high castle

      'The Man in the High Castle' by Philip K Dick, an 'alternative history' novel set in the late 20th century, in which the USA co-exists with a Nazi Europe and Japanese Pacific. Easier going than 'V.A.L.I.S', at least!

      There are a fair few novels of this type in which the fork in history occurs around or prior to World War 2 (Swastikas sell books), including 'The Plot Against America' by Philip Roth, and 'Making History' by Stephen Fry, concerned in part with Jewishness and homosexuality respectively.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: The man in the high castle

        "The Man in the High Castle" is more exploration of PKD's question of "what is real" than anything else. Excellent reading, read at least once every few years.

        "The Plot Against America" is still on my reading list.

        Do not forget Robert Harris' "Fatherland", and also watch "It Happened Here".

        1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

          Re: The man in the high castle

          To add another, C.J. Sansom's "Dominion" has the most realistic and plausible depiction of a United Kingdom operating as a puppet Nazi state following a German victory that I've read.

  12. Inquisitive

    Unjust conviction on many levels despite being 'right' at the time.

    The British class system alive and well it seems, whereas Alan Turing was trying to save lives with his brilliant mind, other brilliant minds and well known homosexuals, were quite happy to give away our secrets to the Russians for many years. But though they were known homosexuals they were never arrested for such crimes of the day as was Turing.

    Burgess, Philby, Maclean and Blunt, and few lesser known spies, were all, baring Blunt, 'allowed' to escape to their chosen utopia it seems and it was only Blunt who suffered any sort of humiliation when his knighthood was rescinded. It was a well known KGB tactic to entrap homosexuals because it was a criminal act back then.

    Having visited Bletchley Park and having seen some of Turings surviving writings it was all so way above my head as to be sci - fi. I was told that he had moved on from this war time work and was working on other far out stuff, for the time, to do with brain functions and what could be done to help the human body be better, it is well worth a visit to Bletchley and Enigma is not the only reason for going there.

    1. Thomas 4

      Re: Unjust conviction on many levels despite being 'right' at the time.

      Huh. So the Russian government was quite happy to have gay people working for it in the KGB but publicly despises homosexuality....

      1. John Sanders
        Holmes

        Re: Unjust conviction on many levels despite being 'right' at the time.

        @Thomas 4

        Yes, that is right, I suggest you read about the soviet propaganda during and before the cold war, and what the Russian Communist Party/KGB used to call "Useful idiots"

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re: Unjust conviction on many levels despite being 'right' at the time.

          Well, quite a few of the nomenclatura were jewish (including Trotsky) while the Red Army strung up jews for being "for the capitalists", so what's the problem?

    2. Lapun Mankimasta

      Re: Unjust conviction on many levels despite being 'right' at the time.

      "to do with brain functions and what could be done to help the human body be better"

      Now you've got me interested. Is it possible to get copies of this sort of Turing's writings Interloaned from overseas? (I seriously doubt I could get to Bletchly Park within the remaining lifespan of the Universe ... the international economy being what it is ... :)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Queen seriously needs to get...

    ...a new scanner

  14. PassiveSmoking

    Pardon

    I think the conviction should stand.

    Hear me out here! It's not because I think gay people should be punished for being gay. I have two reasons for thinking it should stand.

    1) As others have pointed out, once you start pardoning people who were punished by an unjust lawwhere do you stop? Thousands of people were persicuted under the same laws, do they all get pardons now? Or are you only entitled to one if your supporters kick up a fuss? It's got to be everyone or no-one, anything else is just empty gestures.

    2) It smacks of revisionist history. Turing was a great man who we owe our relative freedom to, and for those of us who work in IT our livlihoods. He wa also treated unbelieveably shoddily and punished unfairly by an unjust law. Both those facts should be remembered, but pardoning him now feels awfully like an attempt to sweep the abuse he suffered at the hands of the law under the carpet. Instead of saying "It's okay, we overturned his conviction so we can pretend it didn't happen" we should be saying "Here's an example of how even the most remarkable people to whom we owe so much can be destroyed by blinkered bigoted arbitary hatred".

    I can understand why people would campaign for this, but I can't help but feel they're misguided.

    1. Joe Harrison Silver badge

      Re: Pardon

      I actually agree with you. Otherwise what about my great-great-great-great-granduncle who was hanged for stealing a turnip he should get a pardon as well.

      Also I think if Alan Turing was here today and asked if he thought this government action made things right he would probably say "well no I would much rather you had not hounded me to death."

      1. Lapun Mankimasta

        Re: Pardon

        "Otherwise what about my great-great-great-great-granduncle who was hanged for stealing a turnip he should get a pardon as well."

        Are you kidding? Stealing turnips is the very essence of Terrorism! (Now if it was stealing parsnips, it'd be a different story, of course! :) The GCHQ exerts its almighty forces in eternal vigilance to prevent the unwashed masses from Elsewhere from invading the Land to steal turnips!

    2. John 156

      Re: Pardon

      Although Alan Turing was clearly entitled to a posthumous Royal parden, was he first in the queue? I humbly submit that Charles I was the innocent victim of the traitor Oliver Cromwell known to have been funded by banksters in Amsterdam who were then allowed to enter our realm as a reward to engage in usurious banksterism. What about Joan of Arc? A witch? Come on. We need a new quango (the National Organisation for the Rewriting of History to make Everything Better) to draw up a comprehensive list of important historical figures who met a sticky end at the hands of the English authorities and therefore should receive a Royal pardon.

    3. John Sanders

      Re: Pardon

      @PassiveSmoking

      """We should be saying "Here's an example of how even the most remarkable people to whom we owe so much can be destroyed by blinkered bigoted arbitary hatred"."""

      This represents 1000% how this should be treated, and not the Politically Correct version.

      Society has to admit mistakes and repent them, not forget them or clean its conscience.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well yes.....

      If every dead man, woman and child, who deserved a pardon, rose from their graves at once, we'd be just a tad crowded.

  15. Only me!

    About time.....but

    It is well over due from him (and all the others), so it is a step in the right direction.

    Not quite sure a pardon really does it.....should it be more...."We f*&ked up and killed one of the best minds we had in the field and we really, really should have treated him better in the first place"

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: About time.....but

      "...."We f*&ked up and killed one of the best minds we had in the field....." Go do some reading on his final days (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Turing#Death), he fucked up an hobbiest chemistry experiment and killed himself by accident. Even his mother has said she thought that at the time of his inquest. But that conclusion doesn't fit with the preferred gay fable, does it?

      "..... we really, really should have treated him better in the first place"" Turing actually - and quite stupidly - told the Police he was having a gay relationship with an (alleged) rent boy that was suspected of the burglary of Turing's home. As Turing worked on sensitive projects he was shooting himself in both feet. BUT, if he had been an heterosexual male working on secret projects and had been picking up teenage girl prostitutes he would also have been in trouble with the law, and he would have been classed as a security risk (the KGB also used young prostitutes to ensnare lonely old men), and would have lost his security clearance.

      Turing was also given the choice of imprisonment OR probation and chemical castration (injections of female hormones) and he chose the latter himself. If he had been a heterosexual male convicted of soliciting he would not have been given a choice, it would have just been jail time. Turing made bad choices and set the legal and security apparatus in motion with his own admission, but that legal and security apparatus would have swung into motion if he had admitted to the equivalent heterosexual crime. Yes, looking back the laws of the day criminalising homosexuality were wrong with today's value set, but he would have been convicted and lost his job if he had been the heterosexual equivalent. And many people today with today's value set question the illegality of heterosexual prostitution, so the homsoexual angle is just fluff and fanfare. And none of it would have made him no less likely to kill himself with a bit of bad lab practice.

      Alan Turing's achievements in the field of computing and his service to his country should be applauded and upheld as both an example of intellect and how homosexuality should not be seen as a barrier to either loyalty or ability, but twisting the tale into gay propaganda is not going to do anyone any favours.

      1. Vic

        Re: About time.....but

        Alan Turing's achievements in the field of computing and his service to his country should be applauded and upheld as both an example of intellect and how homosexuality should not be seen as a barrier to either loyalty or ability, but twisting the tale into gay propaganda is not going to do anyone any favours.

        My god. A Matt Bryant post I agree with.

        Have an upvote. I need a little lie down...

        Vic.

        1. Red Bren
          Happy

          Re: About time.....but

          "A Matt Bryant post I agree with."

          It's a Christmas miracle! God help us, every one…

      2. Equitas

        Re: About time.....but

        Matt Bryant has made well the points that Turing, for all his brilliant contributions to computer science, acted very naively in calling in the police with regard to alleged actions of a homosexual lover; further that he'd have lost his security clearance anyway had he been known to be associating with female prostitutes.

        There are aspects of the laws of our time which we may not like -- but if we make clear that we've been breaking them, surely we should realise that such a fact will place us in a very dangerous situation.

        There's a further aspect to the Turing matter that's very strange. He was an intelligent man. He chose chemical castration. He surely had the intellect to ascertain that a known and relatively common side-effect is the development of female breasts? Every male undergoing even milder forms of hormone treatment for prostate cancer is warned that the development of breasts is a side-effect they should be aware of. Strange, then, that he should have been so upset by a predictable effect of the treatment he chose.

  16. TitterYeNot

    Did I miss something in the news?

    "NOW KNOW YE the We, in consideration of circumstances humbly represented unto Us...."

    Wha? Is this our new Scottish queen?

  17. Arachnoid

    Can the Dead be Harmed

    by Masayuki Yoshida

    Product Description

    Masayuki Yoshida examines the harm thesis in the light of some specific questions: When a corpse is damaged or the reputation of a deceased person is sullied, what or who is actually being harmed? If the dead cannot be harmed, then is it possible for nobody to be harmed? If a living person is otherwise harmed, is the person a former living person of the damaged corpse? However, any answer to this question is prima facie at least bizarre, in particular because dead persons cannot perceive of damage or harm against them. Moreover, if it should be possible for the formerly living person of a corpse to be harmed, then it would follow that time goes backward. The author, despite the apparent bizarre nature of any answer, nevertheless argues that the dead can be harmed both in the case of damaging a corpse and in the circumstance of defamation of a dead person.

  18. Longrod_von_Hugendong
    FAIL

    About bloody time...

    Shouldn't have happened in the first place.

    1. John Sanders
      Boffin

      Re: About bloody time...

      The past has to be understood by the conditions present in the past.

      I remember that in the past people affected with leprosy were cast away from populated areas.

      I remember that in the past there was slavery, and that in the past there was even people who believed earth was the centre of the universe.

      Ah the past, it is so funny to realise that the world did not started with you being born...

  19. Tony Green

    Breathtaking pomposity

    The wording of the document confirms what I've always thought - Elizabeth Saxe-Coburg-Gotha is one hell of a pompous, self-important bitch.

    1. BlinkenLights

      Re: Breathtaking pomposity

      Do you really think she wrote that? This is a document written by the government and signed by the monarch. You are an ignorant racist...

  20. clatters

    What about the forgotten ones?

    Going off track about the homosexual injustice etc, what about that chap - whats-his-name - Tommy Flowers - that's it. The guy who made the first electronic computer (at Bletchley) plus all the other unsung heroes who created our industry.

    I saw some bilge on TV a few months ago which strongly implied that Microsoft and IBM created the PC and hence invented computing too. Aired on teh BBC - what an insult to history and the truth.

    Merry Chrimbo one and all.

  21. Lefticus Left
    Thumb Up

    About F*cking Time!!

    WAY WAY WAY too late (about 61 years, actually)

  22. phands

    What a revolting travesty - Turing did NOTHING wrong

    Mercy??? How is this mercy?

    There was nothing to pardon. He should have been declared innocent, and the state should issue an apology.

    I saw this comment elsewhere, which says it well....

    Quote:

    Perhaps worth remembering is that it doesn't, as some reports have said, "overturn the conviction".

    He would be sprung from jail if he were in there and any fine repaid, but the conviction would still stand and he'd have to declare it if he were going to work with children.

    He was, of course, convicted of exactly the same offence as Oscar Wilde was; many people think he should be pardoned too, along with thousands of other less distinguished men down the years under that particularly vicious homophobic Victorian legislation.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What a revolting travesty - Turing did NOTHING wrong

      It's ironic that large majorities of commenters in this thread seem to believe both that

      (1) Democracy is good; and that

      (2) Homosexuality is natural and should not be discriminated against or punished.

      Yet, at the time of Turing's conviction, a large majority of British people (and voters) would have maintained that homosexuality was unnatural and should be discriminated against (and possibly punished).

      Do you see the problem? Those among us who don't think much may be inclined to reply that there is no problem, because we now have democracy and no longer harbour any incorrect opinions. But I ask you: do you really firmly believe that, in 50 or 100 years, our descendants will look back on 2014 and say "Yup, they got everything right"?

      Furthermore, opinions reflect values - which by definition are subjective and cannot be derived solely from facts. Consider the possibility that the prevailing PC values of today may be dictated (at least in part) by fashion rather than careful soul-searching.

  23. EPurpl3

    Ti hi :D

  24. korikisulda

    But...

    It's actually very likely he poisoned himself by accident.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18561092

    And even though he was a cryptanalytical genius, the only wartime machines he contributed to the design of were the bombe. Colossus was the real masterpiece of Bletchley park, and Turing had absolutely no influence whatsoever on its development.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But...

      It could have been an accident. But you've lost your security clearance, Womersley fouled up your computer project, and Manchester is not going to give you the scope for your exciting ideas. You're washed up at 41 and it seems there is no way back. It wouldn't be the first time.

      As for WW2, Turing was involved in audio encryption as well as the Bombes, and on the theoretical side he is known to have contributed a lot of statistical methods (which are presumably still secret). By the time Colossus was working, the Battle of the Atlantic was basically over. Thereafter, sigint did not have the power to stave off defeat; it could merely shorten a war whose outcome was already certain.

      Turing obviously knew a fair bit about Colossus because his computer design was based on the same technology.

      Turing's main contribution was to establish the feasibility of digital computing and provide routes of attack. There were others, but his notion of universality was way above anything Zuse or von Neumann came up with. From a mathematical point of view the use of valves, relays or transistors is irrelevant, so although Flowers's technical contribution was of the greatest importance, it was not as revolutionary as the Turing Machine. That his work may have shortened the war by six months and even prevented a British surrender is politically important, but in terms of the history of science, it's a footnote to the article on Turing.

  25. willi0000000

    pardoning dead people and apologizing for repealed laws that killed people is like going to Turing's grave and shouting "all's well, you can come out now!"

    remember the evil and endeavor not to repeat it.

  26. Trigun
    Flame

    Makes me see red

    I'm happy that there's now been an apology and a pardon (both very much over due), but it still makes me see red to know that anyone was treated in such a criminal and shabby manner because of their sexual leanings - especially as they guy was so instrumental in bringing the WW2 to a close.

    I acknowledge that society has changed and that what was acceptable at the time is not the same as it is now. I just feel very bad for the guy and all those like him that had to hide their leanings, or were caught and jailed and/or "chemically castrated" by the state.

  27. John Tserkezis

    Holy crap, are all governments this slow to do anything?

    If you were an employee and moved as slow as the governments, you'd get sacked before the end of the day.

    If your employer was as slow as the goverments, you wouldn't work there for much longer.

    And we keep voting these idiots in, perhaps we should sack them.

    No wait, the result would be anarchy.

    I'm not saying it's better, but it certainly would be faster...

  28. frobnicate

    > Turing's work is widely held to have shortened World War II...

    How is that? Did they share decoded info with their Soviets allies, who did most of the fighting?

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: frobnicate

      "....their Soviets allies, who did most of the fighting?" Some allies. The Soviets started their "fighting" in 1939 by signing the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact that effectively sealed Poland's fate, then invaded Poland on 17th September 1939 to help the Germans carve up Poland. Even before Poland had fallen the GRU and NKVD were meeting with the Gestapo to plan out which Polish intellectuals, politicians and trade unionists were likely to be troublemakers and needed to be eliminated or sent to concentration camps. This was despite Stalin having fought a four year proxy war against the Nazis and Fascists in the Spanish Civil War.

      Even before that, Stalin was planning to use the Nazis to weaken the rest of Europe. He set the ground by using his "useful idiots" amongst Western socialists and communists, especially in France where - under the pretext of "anti-war" - they sabotaged the French arms industry and set about demoralising the French forces. French socialist politicians did their bit, either in cahoots or simply through immense stupidity, and just about destroyed the rest with the result that the French had half the working tanks and modern fighters or bombers they should have had by May 1940. You could argue Stalin really wanted to distract the West from his plans to rape the old Eastern European countries but he really didn't care, not as long as Communism (I.e., Stalin) came out the winner.

      And even before that, the Soviets trained and rebuilt the German war machine, especially the Luftwaffe, when it was completely illegal to do so. The Soviets provided aircraft and facilities at Lipetsk that allowed the Germans to develop the "terror bombing" techniques the Communists would shriek in horror at when used at Geurnica in the Spanish Civil War.

      Those Soviet "allies" then followed up on their niceness to the Poles by invading Finland and the Baltic States. At that point, France and the UK counted the Soviets as an enemy and sent aid to Finland. They even planned to invade neutral Norway to keep the Soviets from seizing the Norweigean iron mines and supplying the Nazis with the iron ore they needed for their war machine. Of course, ironically, after the Nazis turned on their Soviet chums the Fins sided with the Germans and became enemies of the UK and France.

      Right up until June 21st 1941, Stalin was happily using his "useful idiots" in the UK (and US) to cripple the Allied war effort as much as he could. His sudden conversion to the Allies was when the Germans beat him to the punch and invaded Russia before Stalin could invade Germany. Even then, Stalin only managed to do "most of the fighting" against Germany because the Nazis simply couldn't fight elsewhere - the Kriegsmarine were too weak to contest the English Channel so he couldn't pursue his war with Britain by invading the UK or go to the assistance of the Japanese; German efforts in North Africa were very much as a prop to the war being fought between Italy and the Commonwealth; and the Luftwaffe was simply too constrained by their tactical design to fight a strategic bombing campaign against the UK or the USA.

      In fact, it is arguable that the British effort to help the Greeks delayed the German invasion of Russia by the three weeks that made all the difference between Soviet defeat and eventual victory. It also ignores the fact that the Soviets had a treaty with Japan that meant they did SFA in fighting the Japanese until the very end of the Pacific War, when they tore up the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact in order to try and grab as much of Mongolia and China as they could.

      So, I suggest you go do a LOT more historical reading before you try and claim that load of baloney.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: frobnicate

        Calm down, Matt. You have made a convincing case that Stalin did not have the welfare of Britain at heart - which isn't surprising considering its government had done everything in its power to destroy his regime and (presumably) kill him and his associates. Did you know that British armed forces were fighting in Russia for several years after 1918? Did you know they used poison gas against Red forces in their own country? Not to mention that American and British bankers and industrialists did much to propel Hitler and the Nazies to power, precisely so that they could serve as a bulwark against the rising Soviet power.

        However Stalin's motivation has nothing to do with the fact that the USSR did at least 75% of the fighting - and a lot more than that of the dying. In the week that the Normandy landings went in, the USSR launched Operation Bagration on a far bigger scale. If not for the German forces tied up (and chewed up) by Bagration, they would very likely have been able to repel and destroy the Allied forces in Normandy.

        The Great Patriotic War, as the Russians call it, killed ONE IN SEVEN of the inhabitants of the USSR. That's including civilians. Regardless of motivation, the plain fact is that it was the USSR that overthrew Nazi Germany. The USA and Britain merely jumped on Germany's back while it was engaged in mortal combat in the East.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: Tom Welsh Re: frobnicate

          ".....However Stalin's motivation has nothing to do with the fact that the USSR did at least 75% of the fighting....." Apart from the fact Stalin did 0% of the fighting against Japan, you are simply wrong even if just looking at the fighting against German forces. Stalin did NONE of the fighting against the Nazis in the first 21-odd months of the War, when Britain (and to a lesser extent the Fwench) destroyed the core of his pre-War highly-trained forces. One of the biggest problems for the Germans - especially the Luftwaffe - was that they simply didn't have the training structure to replace those properly trained and experienced men. The Germans were happy to send poorly-trained recruits to fight the Soviets but tried to keep their more experienced units for fighting the Western Allies. If Hitler had been able to invade Russia in May rather than June 1941, without the delay caused by the British in Greece, without the thousands of highly-trained tank, bomber and fighter crews he had lost in the campaign in the West, without having to divert forces to prop up Mussolini in North Africa, without having to divert men and materials to fighting the Atlantic Campaign, and without having to worry about the West supplying the Russians, then he would most probably have defeated the Soviets. Especially if he could have persuaded the Japanese not to attack the US and UK and to attack Russia instead. Stalin was only able to resist the Germans because he could transfer forces from the East to defend Moscow, forces he could only move because the Japanese promised they would honour their Neutrality Pact. When the positions were reversed in 1945, when the US and Commonwealth had defeated the Japanese, and Stalin saw the chance to seize Mongolia, he didn't hesitate to tear up the Pact.

          It was the industrial behemoth of the USA joining the war that sealed Hitler's fate, regardless of his attacking Russia. The manpower and resources of the Commonwealth along with the manpower and industrial power of the USA were far greater than that of the Soviets. Invading Russia without having defeated the British was a big mistake by Hitler, but a bigger mistake was declaring war on the British without an actual plan of how he could defeat the British Empire, and his BIGGEST mistake was declaring war on the USA when he could have left fighting the US to the Japanese. Hitler simply never had a strong enough navy to defeat Britain and the Commonwealth, but he could have had a strong enough army and airforce to defeat the Soviets alone.

          "..... a lot more than that of the dying......" Again, the fact Stalin was happy to send untrained peasants on foot, even at times with one rifle to a pair of men, into human-wave attacks against mechanised German troops, just shows the callous disregard the Communists had for the very people they claimed to serve. Trying to show that more of your troops died as some sign of moral superiority doesn't exactly sound smart to me.

          "..... In the week that the Normandy landings went in, the USSR launched Operation Bagration on a far bigger scale....." Apart from the fact Stalin could only make the attack because the West had kept him in business with supplies (especially the vast majority of the lorries that converted his peasent armies into a mobile force) when he was facing defeat in 1941 and 1942, the main reason Stalin could employ his massed wave attacks in 1944 was because the majority of the Luftwaffe's fighter force was engaged fighting the US bomber attacks. Goering always kept his best fighters in the West. Luftwaffe units returning from the relatively easy air war of the Eastern Front in 1943 and 1944 had to be completely retrained to face the much stiffer opposition of the West. If the Germans had been able to employ the full might of the Luftwaffe in the East without the losses made to defending against the USAAF bomber attacks in 1943 and 1944 then the Luftwaffe would have been easily able to retain air superiority in the East and would probably have destroyed Stalin's armies from the air, as they did in 1941.

          "....If not for the German forces tied up (and chewed up) by Bagration, they would very likely have been able to repel and destroy the Allied forces in Normandy." Rubbish. The eventual success of the Soviet forces in the East was largely due to Hitler throwing away his strategic reserves on the pointless Ardennes Offensive in the West, leaving him nothing to patch the holes in the Eastern Front. If Hitler had been able to face just the Allies in the West then the Normandy campaign would probably have never been anything other than a distraction exercise to keep his forces in the wrong area and the Western Allies would probably have followed the far smarter British plan of invading via the Southern Front, through Italy and Greece, which would have also probably stopped the Russians occupying Eastern Europe for forty-odd years. Even if the Germans had only faced the Western Allies, and even if the Normandy landings went ahead, Hitler could have transferred all his forces to Calais (where he had been fooled into thinking the actual Invasion landing would have been by Operation Fortitude South) and it would have made SFA difference as he had lost control of the air. He simply would not have had the rail stock or fuel to move all his armies quickly to the Normandy area, and they would have been under continual air-attack the whole time. One of the great successes of Operation Overlord was that the Allies in Normandy DID NOT have to face all the available German forces BECAUSE control of the air had allowed the Allies to destroy the rail system the Germans depended on BEFORE the invasion, keep the Luftwaffe away from the invading beaches, and decimate the German forces in transit. Plenty of Panzers were abandoned in Normandy because Allied fighters had destroyed the fuel trucks before they could get to the front. By 1944 the Western Allies had such a superiority in the air they could have faced ALL the Luftwaffe over Normandy and still won. So, TBH, you are talking out of your rectum.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @frobnicate

      "Did they share decoded info with their Soviets allies, who did most of the fighting?"

      Rarely, and then only in the most important circumstances and only when the intelligence could plausibly be explained as having been obtained by other means.

      No, it helped to prevent Britain losing the war - which it very nearly did - before the Soviets could win it. (Remember, Hitler didn't even decide to attack the USSR until after he had lost the Battle of Britain).

  29. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    The UK ain't daft

    You see, by making posthumous pardons the UK avoids having to pay costs or damages.

    For example, were Mr Turing alive today imagine the brouhaha today and in coming weeks?

  30. Mr. Peterson

    why computers are gay

    never mind the source, just enjoy the history & analysis

    http://gaytoday.com/garchive/viewpoint/101600vi.htm

  31. grammaphobe

    Not right

    The law at the time was made by a democratically elected government. Just because sodomy and buggery are legal and almost trendy now doesn't mean ONLY he should get a pardon. Why not all the perverts of the time? (thats what the law saw them as).

    Over all a disgusting mis-use of pardons - dirty unhealthy behaviour is still that and just because the law has changed does not change the fact that it involves filthy practices. Especially male queers.

    1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

      mod note

      "Commentards, at the target to your front, BURSTS - RAPID - RAPID..."

  32. Scaffa

    I'm not sure a pardon feels adequate for Turing.

    A pardon seems to me, that we "accept" you did something wrong but we forgive you for it. Maybe it's the cynic in me, but it also seems to be of more benefit to the people issuing the pardon than he who receives it (posthumously, even more so).

    I don't believe Turing was doing anything wrong by being homosexual.

    1. auburnman

      Exactly why I dislike the pardon. The forgiveness inherent in a pardon implies he did something that he should be forgiven for, when it is (was) us who should be begging forgiveness for hounding a man to self-destruction when he should have been Britain's guiding light in the new computing age.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        ".....for hounding a man to self-destruction...." Please take a break from the gay propaganda and go READ some actual factual history on the subject. Turing was not being hounded by anyone and most likely died by accident.

        1. auburnman

          The inquest gave a verdict of suicide. There's a little bit of factual history for you. Perhaps it was wrong, as some now claim, but that hardly makes it "gay propanganda."

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: adimman

            " The inquest gave a verdict of suicide. There's a little bit of factual history for you....." I suggest you start with the basics and go read the Wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Turing) as it seems the only basis for such a conclusion were the coroner's preconceptions. The supposed tool of the suicide, the half-eaten apple, was never even tested for cyanide. That hasn't stopped the gay propaganda machine insisting (a) he was hounded - he wasn't, he was living quite peacefully; and (b) it had to be suicide - despite HIS OWN MOTHER stating at the time that it was highly unlikely.

            ".....Perhaps it was wrong, as some now claim, but that hardly makes it "gay propanganda."" I suggest you go Yahoogle "Alan Turing gay icon" and read some of the propaganda that shrieks on about how he was "unashamed at being gay", ignoring the fact he kept it carefully hidden from the authorities right up until his stupid slip with the Police in 1952. It was the decidedly Marxist and anti-establishment Gay Liberation Front in the Seventies that really started on the "Turing gay icon" crusade as a way of slighting both the secret services and the establishment. They needed him to have been hounded by the establishment and driven to suicide to fit their agenda. It would seem you have plenty of reading to catch up on before your next post.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. re. pardon

    I still want to know why a fringe movement that falsely claims to be able to "cure" homosexuality with cognitive behavioral therapy is gaining strength.

    Even some local NHS hospitals are offering it as a "treatment" when every major psychiatric journal and even the DSM-V are giving it the cold shoulder.

    This movement is tantamount to mind fascism and needs to be stopped before it causes any more casualties.

    On the subject of pardons, what about compensating the thousands of inventors in the UK who have had their inventions classified since 1945? a lot of these aren't even dangerous now due to advances in technology but still have financial value which could help in old age.

    Talk about discouraging innovation, what is the point in applying for a patent only to have it classified and nothing paid out? Even the value of the patent application would be a fair price, or simply offer to employ said individual at GCHQ or other TLA as "technical consultant" ? Simplez.

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