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Reading around the Alan Turing Pardon

I have a piece in this week’s Pod Delusion episode 123 at 45:00 on the pardon for Alan Turing.

Here are links to some of the bits I talked about in this.

I spoke about concerns of overdoing the Turing celebrations, saying: what Turing did was brilliant, but we should celebrate what Turing actually did, not some imagined feats, and we should not forget others in doing so. You can read more about this and find out about the article which suggested that had Turing lived then Silicon Valley might have been started in the UK at ‘Beware the Alan Turing fetish‘ by John Graham-Cumming.

Turing was convicted under Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885. In 2009 Gordon Brown issued an official apology for the way Turing was treated. Read about the official Government apology in ‘PM’s apology to codebreaker Alan Turing: we were inhumane‘. Read how the apology came about in ‘How Alan Turing Finally Got a Posthumous Apology‘ by John Graham-Cumming.

Now there is a current e-petition calling for a pardon for Turing. John Leech MP issued an early day motion calling for this pardon. (I also mentioned the current e-petition calling for a pardon for Oscar Wilde.)

Asked a question in House of Lords, a Government Justice Minister said “a posthumous pardon was not considered appropriate”. Read the text of Lord McNally’s statement.

I’ve seen the refusal to pardon Turing described as “homophobic” and an “act of malice“. Particularly, the complaint is that Turing is still seen as a criminal in the eyes of the law.

John Graham-Cumming on ‘Why I’m not supporting the campaign for a pardon for Alan Turing‘, in which he writes about the Protection of Freedoms Bill, which “specifically allows for the disregarding of convictions under the old law that was used against Turing”.

To honour Turing I suggested you might attend events under the Alan Turing Year banner, or donate to Bletchley Park’s Action This Day! fundraising campaign.

This piece used audio from episodes 84 and 85 of the Pulse-Project Math/Maths Podcast.

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  • Peter Rowlett teaches mathematics at university. His views do not represent those of his employer. His column at The Aperiodical is Travels in a Mathematical World.

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