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Royal Pardon For Codebreaker Alan Turing

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25495315

Computer pioneer and codebreaker Alan Turing has been given a posthumous royal pardon.

It overturns his 1952 conviction for homosexuality for which he was punished by being chemically castrated.

The conviction meant he lost his security clearance and had to stop the code-cracking work that proved vital to the Allies in World War II.

The pardon was granted under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy after a request by Justice Minister Chris Grayling.

'Appalling' treatment

"Dr Alan Turing was an exceptional man with a brilliant mind," said Mr Grayling.

He said the research Turing carried out during the war at Bletchley Park undoubtedly shortened the conflict and saved thousands of lives.

This should be extended to everyone else who was convicted under the same law and punished in the same way.

Did Turing lose his importance to be tried and found guilty in this way?

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25495315

This should be extended to everyone else who was convicted under the same law and punished in the same way.

Did Turing lose his importance to be tried and found guilty in this way?

I know it's just symbolic but this was an outrageous case. Vast contributor to the war effort, hard-working mathematical genius, goes to the police as he was the victim of a burglary. Then disgrace and suicide for the sole reason of being an active homosexual.

It was no way to treat somebody and a "sorry" is in order from the establishment, even though the people have changed.

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I know it's just symbolic but this was an outrageous case. Vast contributor to the war effort, hard-working mathematical genius, goes to the police as he was the victim of a burglary. Then disgrace and suicide for the sole reason of being an active homosexual.

It was no way to treat somebody and a "sorry" is in order from the establishment, even though the people have changed.

"Sorry" :lol::lol: yeah thatll do it, the wonders of legitimised violence, how civilized

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25495315

This should be extended to everyone else who was convicted under the same law and punished in the same way.

Did Turing lose his importance to be tried and found guilty in this way?

Why should he get a pardon? Was he innocent? It was the law of the time and he broke it. (I'm not trying to defend the law here....it clearly was a wrong law).

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Last thing I need on my bookshelf is a "gay maths book" The finger of suspicion, is un-clean!

My finger of hate wags in delight! :o:blink:

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"Sorry" :lol::lol: yeah thatll do it, the wonders of legitimised violence, how civilized

Should we dig him up and pin a medal on him? Or have a Lady Di / Mandela day of self-indulgent mourning? Or should we just formally recognise how badly he was treated?

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Should we dig him up and pin a medal on him? Or have a Lady Di / Mandela day of self-indulgent mourning? Or should we just formally recognise how badly he was treated?

My uncle was gay! We all knew, but nothing was said! He must have lived through shit times'! :huh:

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In my view if i were a family member a "sorry"or indeed a royal pardon would mean absolutely chuff all, they could take it and stick it where the sun doesnt shine up a royal or political derriere, its completely pointless, whats done is done and no meaningless words or placations from nomarks trying to make good on previous nomarks violence will change that.

True his family might feel different to the above but thats just me

So the state should never admit that it's done wrong? That's absurd.

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Why should he get a pardon? Was he innocent? It was the law of the time and he broke it. (I'm not trying to defend the law here....it clearly was a wrong law).

It's getting close to an election and the government are after the "pink" vote.

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Total and utter nonsense in my opinion. I prefer to watch the state squirm as it justifies its treatment of a man that may well have saved the establishment. This revision is unjust to the other homosexuals similarly persecuted and achieves nothing other than giving the state cover for its atrocious behaviour.

In the case of the state revising its own position sorry seems to be the easiest word.

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"Sorry" :lol::lol: yeah thatll do it, the wonders of legitimised violence, how civilized

England isn't North Korea you know.

We don't jail people for having sex, then chemically castrate them, and finally (probably) arrange the secret police to kill them with cyanide.

We're a civilised country.

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I know it's just symbolic but this was an outrageous case. Vast contributor to the war effort, hard-working mathematical genius, goes to the police as he was the victim of a burglary. Then disgrace and suicide for the sole reason of being an active homosexual.

It was no way to treat somebody and a "sorry" is in order from the establishment, even though the people have changed.

That's got nothing to do with it.

Obviously it's a grey area as by todays standards his crimes are not recognised, but they were at the time. As I said last time, either give a royal pardon to all men convicted of the crime (which I would be totally in favour of) or not at all.

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At the time Turing was convicted, homosexual intercourse was a criminal offence, and a majority of the British public supported that. Now it isn't, and most would oppose recriminalising it. However, there is no serious suggestion that Turing's conviction was unsound under the law as it existed at the time.

The problem is that the pardoning of people who were correctly convicted in a previous age but whose conviction is considered unjust by the prevailing moral standards today becomes a political football. Turning and Bentley have been turned into causes-celebre by campaigners, and have been pardoned as a result. But under that precedent, every WWI soldier shot for desertion, every child in Victorian London who was hanged for stealing a loaf of bread, every witch burnt alive in the c18 ... in fact, probably a majority of those subjected to any criminal sanction before the mid-c19 - they should all be pardoned. Whether they are or not will depend on whether a bunch of PC Guardianista activists start to campaign about their cases, and that should not be the way history is written.

It also blurs the boundary between just convictions under an unjust law, and simple miscarriages of justice. There is a difference between someone shouldn't have been punished because what he did shouldn't have been considered a crime, and someone who shouldn't have been punished because he didn't do the act he was convicted of doing. In my view, the latter are the more important injustices to correct, and by concentrating on the former, we put the correction of them at risk. The way the injustices to Bentley and Turing should have been corrected was to change the laws under which they were convicted (which has been done, in both cases), not to pretend that they didn't exist at the time, which is effectively what has now been done as well. A pardon is a statement by the state to the effect that someone would not have been convicted if the legal process had done its job properly, which in Bentley and Turing's case is simply not true.

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Why should he get a pardon? Was he innocent? It was the law of the time and he broke it. (I'm not trying to defend the law here....it clearly was a wrong law).

Which is, of course, why proper democracies do not take away the right of prisoners to vote.

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At the time Turing was convicted, homosexual intercourse was a criminal offence, and a majority of the British public supported that. Now it isn't, and most would oppose recriminalising it. However, there is no serious suggestion that Turing's conviction was unsound under the law as it existed at the time.

[chop - remainder of a very good post]

One thing to bear in mind: the law under which he was convicted corrected a previous situation which most of us even today would consider a lot worse. The law had started to protect children under 10 (and, very weakly, under 12) from sexual exploitation, but was still wide open to abuse. The government of the day was shamed into the 1875 act, by a campaigning journalist who - openly and perfectly legally - bought himself a 13-year-old girl. Once her virginity had been medically established, she was lightly drugged before being handed over to her new owner at a brothel. But his motives differed from others involved in similar transactions: instead of taking her for himself, his was a successful effort to write about the transaction, outrage public opinion, and shame the government. The girl was handed into the care of the salvation army.

Given that background, noone should be surprised or outraged that the law took a tough and wide-ranging look at sexual deviance, and that homosexuality got caught up in that.

As for a pardon, that's nonsense. I hate to say this, but Gordon Brown made a better job of it: an apology may be futile but at least it's not actively stupid and wrong.

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One thing to bear in mind: the law under which he was convicted corrected a previous situation which most of us even today would consider a lot worse. The law had started to protect children under 10 (and, very weakly, under 12) from sexual exploitation, but was still wide open to abuse. The government of the day was shamed into the 1875 act, by a campaigning journalist...

W.T. Stead?

To note further: the law as it stood worked relatively well. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there were only two substantively publicised prosecutions relating to consensual homosexual acts between 1875 and the Woldenden Report: Turing's and Oscar Wilde's. In both cases, there were additional factors that contradict their portrayal by the gay rights brigade as angelic martyrs to the cause. Wilde and his circle were regularly shagging boys as young as 10 (though the police couldn't prove it, and so couldn't act against him until the Marquess of Queensbury gave them the opportunity), and Turing solicited a (male, though this is irrelevant because soliciting a prostitute of the opposite sex was also illegal) prostitute and then lied about it to police when his house was burgled. In practice, prosecutions for consensual homosexual sex between adults did not happen unless there was a serious, additional aggravating factor that prompted the authorities to take action. Even Burgess and Blunt weren't done (or even blackmailed or coerced by the authorities) for their homosexuality, even after it was strongly suspected that they represented a national security risk; Peter Pears and Benjamin Britten enjoyed the status of national treasures throughout the '40s and '50s (despite the authorities knowing that Pears purchased the services of very young rent boys on overseas singing tours), etc. etc.

As you note, compared to the Buggery Act 1533 and the Offences Against the Person Act 1828, the law in relation to homosexuality between the late c19 and the outright legalisation of gay sex was a lot more sensible than today's Guardianistas would have you believe, and as a general rule it was only deployed when child protection and prostitution issues came into play.

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W.T. Stead?

As you note, compared to the Buggery Act 1533 and the Offences Against the Person Act 1828, the law in relation to homosexuality between the late c19 and the outright legalisation of gay sex was a lot more sensible than today's Guardianistas would have you believe, and as a general rule it was only deployed when child protection and prostitution issues came into play.

You have given me an idea for a Pantomime! :blink:

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'An Acte for the punysshement of the vice of Buggerie', to quote the full title of the legislation (personally written by Henry VIII - given his multiple failures in the heterosexual marriage department, a case of he doth protesteth too much?). Now that would make an interesting performance...

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W.T. Stead?

To note further: the law as it stood worked relatively well. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there were only two substantively publicised prosecutions relating to consensual homosexual acts between 1875 and the Woldenden Report: Turing's and Oscar Wilde's. In both cases, there were additional factors that contradict their portrayal by the gay rights brigade as angelic martyrs to the cause. Wilde and his circle were regularly shagging boys as young as 10 (though the police couldn't prove it, and so couldn't act against him until the Marquess of Queensbury gave them the opportunity), and Turing solicited a (male, though this is irrelevant because soliciting a prostitute of the opposite sex was also illegal) prostitute and then lied about it to police when his house was burgled. In practice, prosecutions for consensual homosexual sex between adults did not happen unless there was a serious, additional aggravating factor that prompted the authorities to take action. Even Burgess and Blunt weren't done (or even blackmailed or coerced by the authorities) for their homosexuality, even after it was strongly suspected that they represented a national security risk

How is that evidence that the law worked well? It's like citing Nigella Lawson's confession under oath of class A drug use with no consequences as evidence that current drug policies are spot on.

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One thing to bear in mind: the law under which he was convicted corrected a previous situation which most of us even today would consider a lot worse. The law had started to protect children under 10 (and, very weakly, under 12) from sexual exploitation, but was still wide open to abuse. The government of the day was shamed into the 1875 act, by a campaigning journalist who - openly and perfectly legally - bought himself a 13-year-old girl. Once her virginity had been medically established, she was lightly drugged before being handed over to her new owner at a brothel. But his motives differed from others involved in similar transactions: instead of taking her for himself, his was a successful effort to write about the transaction, outrage public opinion, and shame the government. The girl was handed into the care of the salvation army.

Given that background, noone should be surprised or outraged that the law took a tough and wide-ranging look at sexual deviance, and that homosexuality got caught up in that.

As for a pardon, that's nonsense. I hate to say this, but Gordon Brown made a better job of it: an apology may be futile but at least it's not actively stupid and wrong.

That's not quite what wikipedia says about it. The "Eliza Armstrong" scandal was a typical media-driven propaganda campaign by well-connected moralists, including Bramwell Booth, founder of the Salvation army. She wasn't bought openly and legally - the mother was told she was to be a maid, and in the end,

Thus Stead, Rebecca Jarrett, Bramwell Booth, as well as Louise Mouret, the midwife, and two others were brought before the court on 2 September for the assault and abduction for Eliza Armstrong without the agreement of her parents.

Sounds just like the current media-driven moral scandals whirling about us today.

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How is that evidence that the law worked well? It's like citing Nigella Lawson's confession under oath of class A drug use with no consequences as evidence that current drug policies are spot on.

I think that comparison illustrates that. Drug use is illegal, but in practice you are only likely to be prosecuted if there is a significant aggravating factor over and above simply ingesting the stuff. In Lawson's case, there are possibly even mitigating ones, hence the police deciding that making a case against her would not be in the public interest.

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I think that comparison illustrates that. Drug use is illegal, but in practice you are only likely to be prosecuted if there is a significant aggravating factor over and above simply ingesting the stuff. In Lawson's case, there are possibly even mitigating ones, hence the police deciding that making a case against her would not be in the public interest.

There is not sufficient evidence available in the Lawson case.

All there is is her confession.

But in court, the prosecution will have to prove that it was cocaine that she took, and I do not see how they can do that.

Her confession that she took what she thought was cocaine could at the most amount to an attempt to commit the offence.

But can you attempt to commit an offence if you do not have the wherewithal?

i.e. can you attempt to pick an empty pocket?

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