A Centenary "Sod off!" to Alan Turing from Britain's PM

From today’s Times:

Jiminy crickets! I can’t imagine what downside there could possibly have been to issuing a posthumous pardon. Unless such things simply “are not done” for anyone, for any reason?

What is it with Eves and bad apples?

I can see a possible downside to issuing retroactive pardons to people convicted under a particular law when the law changes. Not in this particular case, of course, but as a general principle.

What Turing is owed is an apology for the crappy, discriminatory and hateful law existing in the first place, and for his being persecuted by it.

And he got one.

I can see how the decision was defensible as general policy. I’d argue an exception could probably have been made, but I’ve got no major problems with the UK issuing an apology for the circumstances of the day without issuing a pardon for this particular conviction, which wouldn’t have been overturned even with a pardon, anyway.

I probably should have put this under MPSIMS or Great Debates, but I was just so off-pissed by the story.

I think it’s inhuman of them to have failed this Turing test.

In view of the fact that the definition there is “to behave sufficiently like a human being that someone previously unaware whether the test subject was one, would be moved to conclude that he/she/it was,” yes, I’d ruefully agree that Cameron definitely failed the Turing test.

Well, sure, if you want to go around encouraging people like Finagle, and behavior like post #6

You’re just sore because **Finagle **beat you to the best line.

To correct one thing: It wasn’t Britain’s PM, David Cameron, that made this decision, it was the Justice Minister Lord McNally. I don’t know how much influence Cameron had on the decision–the UK government is an incohesive unit at the best of times, even more so now.

That said–how far does this rabbit hole go down, one wonders. Would a pardon of the Oxford Martyrs be rejected on the grounds that Protestantism was illegal in 1557? How about a pardon of someone who harbored escaped slaves before 1820? What stopped Lord McNally from saying not only that the law against homosexuality was absurd, but that it was so absurd previous convictions against it should be voided?

In Spain when a law changes and something either isn’t a crime any more or gets lower penalties, cases are reviewed de oficio, without any need to petition for it. It doesn’t seem to have caused us to sink into the sea.

Anyone point out that he is dead and doesn’t care one way or the other?

Why is it that only Alan Turing is deserving of being pardoned and not every other person who was jailed for being gay, too?

That’s probably the problem- I’m sure some of them are still alive, and may request stuff like… I dunno… compensation for jail time? Or for being ‘chemically castrated’?

Easier to just wurble something non-commital about how ‘shocking’ it all was, and not open the government up to potential claims.

I’m not saying that cannot be done.

I’m simply saying that the Spanish approach isn’t necessarily the only correct one, and if a legal system uses a diferent approach - that a legal change cannot have retroactive effect on penalties - there is a good reason to apply that approach consistently.

Would a posthumous pardon change anything? Would it bring him back?

There are probably other Brits still alive who were also convicted under that stupid law, who would love and deserve a pardon.

ETA: Governments do stupid things all the time. Good governments recognize their mistakes and own up to them. Like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which is basically apologizing for the residential schools that ruined the lives of so many natives. I guess Britain needs a better moral compass.

The nerve of him! Admitting to being homosexual! He should’ve done the decent thing and lied.

Allegedly, the Brits did apologize. At least, according to the OP.

There’s no “allegedly” or “according to” about it. A few moments Googling would have led you to this, by the Prime Minister: