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Royal pardon for codebreaker Alan Turing

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Mi Amigo
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Royal pardon for codebreaker Alan Turing

Postby Mi Amigo » Tue, 24 Dec 2013 4:55 pm

Finally...

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

I hate the way the word 'genius' is so over-used these days, but Turing was a person who more than earned that epithet, IMO. The work that he and his colleagues did certainly shortened the war and saved countless lives, and who knows what else he could have achieved had he not been treated so shabbily by the authorities.
Be careful what you wish for

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x9200
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Postby x9200 » Wed, 25 Dec 2013 11:20 am

Good example how medieval law and mindsets can deprive one country from people who could still win for this country a lot.
Is Singapore having basically the same law until now in place at least more pragmatic in executing it?

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the lynx
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Postby the lynx » Thu, 26 Dec 2013 8:44 am

Although the royal pardon was a big deal, the fact it was:

1. posthumous, and;
2. a pardon for something that wasn't actually wrong in the first place,

really puts a joke on the British government (I'm sorry to have to say this) but yeah it is all in the history now so I guess this is the best they can come up with.

Looking forward to The Imitation Game movie on Turing's work, starred by Sherlock Holmes star next year.

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 26 Dec 2013 9:27 am

the lynx wrote:Although the royal pardon was a big deal, the fact it was:

1. posthumous, and;
2. a pardon for something that wasn't actually wrong in the first place,

really puts a joke on the British government (I'm sorry to have to say this) but yeah it is all in the history now so I guess this is the best they can come up with.


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Turing's homosexuality resulted in a criminal prosecution in 1952, when homosexual acts were still criminalised in the United Kingdom. ... On 10 September 2009, following an Internet campaign, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made an official public apology on behalf of the British government for "the appalling way he was treated."

In May 2012, a private member's bill was put before the House of Lords to grant Turing a statutory pardon. In July 2013, it gained government support;however, instead of calling for the second reading of this bill, through the House of Commons, the government opted for the royal prerogative of mercy on 23 December 2013.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_turing
----------

2) It was illegal. Similar to how it is, and would be prosecuted here today. I think one has to consider that at the time of his trial in 1952, well 1952, that would have been:
- One of the more austere periods in UK history. And I think conservatism tends to go hand in hand with austerity.
- Going about half-way back to Victorian times, which in it's late-stage was so puritanical, they for example used to clothe the legs on pianos, in case them being 'naked' caused anyone offence.
I think it is perhaps impossible to accurately judge this now through the prism of 60 years ago, so much has society changed.

1) Plenty of wrongs eventually get righted. Better to hold your hand up and admit you got it wrong, than pretend you are somehow faultless (like some other regimes that come to mind).

If you question the value of posthumous recognition, can it be taken that you view the process of beatification ('sainthood') in a similar light? Requirement #1 of which being, the nominee is dead, often by centuries.

- Oh, and yes, this 'tokenistic action' would have been Gordon 'Weirdo' Brown pandering to the gay-lobby. [No no, stop that, all those rumours are definitely false!]

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Postby x9200 » Thu, 26 Dec 2013 9:54 am

As it was said in the article, there were like 50k people convicted for the same "crime" and they have never heard a simple word of apology. This whole thing just does not make sense. A pardon is an act of clemency so it does not mean, oh sorry, we were wrong. It means, we show our mercy but you are still a criminal. He was already punished and he is dead now so what true purpose it served? In cases like this it is just a worthless gesture as much as I could see it.
More it looks like to force the government to admit that something was wrong than to give any justice to Turing. It must be not really a comfortable subject for the officials.

The proper thing to do would be to admit to the wrongdoing and apology to all the victims. Because Turing was a great man he was just showed some formal forgiveness of his crime but no mature society considers what he did a crime in the first place.

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 26 Dec 2013 10:55 am

x9200 wrote:Because Turing was a great man he was just showed some formal forgiveness of his crime but no mature society considers what he did a crime in the first place.


Well yes, perceived as a 'great man' until his social downfall and disgrace... said now that we look back to events of 60 years ago, via our prism of today, and post-hippy anything-goes moral-emancipation, trying to view and re-judge historic events retrospectively, incorporating the social mores of today. But at the time, of course it was considered immoral, and it was illegal.

It is like the British establishment spy-ring of the 1960s. Or this current American yahoo holed up in Moscow. Should we expect to have to pardon and accept what they did, in due course, you know when we, society as a whole, too, reach the enlightened moral uplands that these people inhabit?

[Sorry I'm not picking a fight at all, just having a laugh, and 3-mugs of M&S tea tends to rather wire me hehe :)]

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Postby x9200 » Thu, 26 Dec 2013 11:22 am

I believe there should be at least some consequence. He is not the only one convicted so back to my other point, what purpose does it serve? I am fine with not judging the past from current moral perspective, but than no pardon should be given to anyone. I see it as a sort of political/legal schizophrenia: in one act the man is made honored but the same act is a reminder that he is still considered a criminal (at least technically).

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 26 Dec 2013 12:08 pm

x9200 wrote:what purpose does it serve?


Hmmm. Maybe it symbolises, and communicates, that 'We as a society have done wrong, accept that, and are now moving on hoping not to repeat the mistake'?


x9200 wrote:I am fine with not judging the past from current moral perspective, but than no pardon should be given to anyone.


Hmm :) There is some difference between morals, and laws. Should Guy Fawkes ever be pardoned for trying to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 16xx? No of course not. Or Henry the 8th for his holocaust of British Catholics? (come to think of it, arguably akin to what Hitler set out to do to the Jews)... nope.

I don't think retrospective pardons should be granted based upon currently fashionable morals. That's just tokenism. If pardons are merited, I think it should be hinged upon injustice, and lack of due process.

x9200 wrote: I see it as a sort of political/legal schizophrenia: in one act the man is made honored but the same act is a reminder that he is still considered a criminal (at least technically).


Quite, confusing isn't it. Like being a husband in a post-feminist household lol.


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