Alan Turing Pardon: Why So Narrow?

The Alan Turing Statutory Pardon Bill has been published on the Houses of Parliament website.
Turing was a mathematician and philosopher who cracked the Nazi Enigma code and invented electronic computing. He was also a homosexual, and was convicted of ‘Gross indecency between men’ in 1952. As a result he lost his security clearance, was subjected to chemical castration, and committed suicide when he was only 42.
This statutory pardon seeks to atone for the Government’s appalling treatment of a national hero.
Nevertheless, the idea of such a narrow pardon worries me a little. The implication seems to be that Turing gets a pardon because he achieved so much. But that should not be how the law and justice works. What about all those under-achievers and ordinary men who were convicted under the same iilliberal and unjust law? Why do they not get a pardon too?

Alan Turing
Alan Turing

4 Replies to “Alan Turing Pardon: Why So Narrow?”

  1. I think you may need to take this from the person first, not the principle.
    How was one of the brightest 20th century thinkers that Britain ever produced effectively silenced? The decision to prosecute him, and then to give him the castration options that led to his suicide looks a bit nefarious.Clearly, someone managed to convince the authorities that he was a security risk – perhaps he actually was. Whether the Soviets tried to turn him, or used a pliant insider to neutralise him is very hard to tell now. Either way, that such an asset was in peril should have been flagged.
    I don’t think the government is apologising for it’s lack of compassion, as opposed to a security lapse.

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