For those of you who don’t know Alan Turing is widely seen as one of the fathers of computer science and programming. He was exceptionally brilliant and was instrumental in the breaking of the Nazi’s communications code which many argue was one of the contributing factors to the Allies success in WWII.
Alan Turing was also gay. In the early 1950’s the British government, during it’s morality crack down, arrested and convicted Alan Turing for homosexuality and then chemically castrated him as an alternative to prison time and stripped him of access to government projects. Turing took his own life 2 years later.
The UK government is now refusing to pardon the man saying that he was convicted of a crime that was a crime at that time and that he was guilty. Well I happen to be aware of many people who are convicted of crimes now and yet they are pardoned, even though they are guilty (this happens in the USA, Canada, England, and many other countries). Not quite sure why the British government is being such assholes about this, maybe they’re just sour over the calls to downgrade their triple A status or they don’t want to face the fact that they really goofed 60 years ago.
If the UK is not willing to expunge the record of Alan Turing or other men and women convicted of homosexuality then they are putting those individuals (still alive) at a disadvantage within the work place, which I’m pretty sure goes directly again the government’s anti-discrimination policies on the basis of sexual orientation (homosexual acts were not decriminalized in the UK until 1967). Those with the conviction will have to state that they have a criminal record to potential employers, even though they were arrested and convicted for simply being themselves. They very act of not pardoning all those convicted under that law is discriminatory let alone not pardoning such an amazing man as Alan Turing.
A good and just government should be able to admit when they were wrong and when they failed the people who they are meant to serve and look out for. The government’s failure here at this day and age is a failure to recognize and to right the wrongs of the past. Apologies are hollow in the absence of actions to support it.