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Did Queen Elizabeth II's pardon of Alan Turing go far enough?

Queen Elizabeth II granted a posthumous pardon yesterday to Alan Turing, the legendary British code breaker who was criminally convicted for being gay. After being forced to undergo chemical castration, Turing committed suicide in 1954.


As Ally Fogg notes, Turing’s work on the Enigma codebreaking machine “made him more responsible than almost any other British individual for the ultimate defeat of Nazi Germany.”

Quite understandably, many tweeters believe the Queen’s pardon was long overdue:


A number of commentators, however, believe the pardon is not enough. David Allen Green, for example, argues that everyone who was prosecuted for homosexuality should be cleared:

Turing’s conviction was just one of about 75,000 under a vindictive law.  But here is no logical reason why his should be regarded as a unique case.  The actual wrong done to Turing was also one done to many thousands of men, and so any righting of that wrong must apply to those men too.

If Alan Turing is to be pardoned then so should all men convicted under section 11 if the facts of their cases would not be a crime today.  But a better posthumous gesture would be to simply extend the 2012 scheme to all those who are now dead.  Removing the criminal records completely of all those prosecuted who would not be prosecuted today on the same facts would be a better legislative gesture than a single statutory pardon, if there is to be a legislative gesture at all.


Many Twitter users agree:



A few have argued for putting Turing’s photo on the ten-pound note:

He deserves it. Besides, putting Turing on the tenner would forestall the possibility of putting this guy on it:


Editor’s note: Twitchy has amended this post to correct two typos. Apologies for the errors.

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