Turing's Inspiration and why the campaign for justice should continue.

I like this picture, which comes  from this website


Proceeds from sales of the pictures go to Wood Street Mission . The artist, Guy McKinley explains the thought process behind the picture.


In today's Manchester Evening News, there is a letter from me responding to an article by Paul Taylor, about why this campaign for justice for Alan Turing matters to me. I cut the letter down, but thought you might want to see the first, un edited, version.

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to the article published in your newspaper last week by Paul Taylor entitled “We must live with history, not rewrite it to hide our shame” in order to express my point of view on the campaign to pardon or secure a disregarded conviction for Alan Turing and others like him and to counter some of the points made in the article.

I think that the article has missed the point of the true reasons behind the campaign. I am not fighting for a pardon or a disregarded conviction “to make us feel a little better”, 000 men.I want the UK to be an example in the global fight against oppression based on sexuality and I believe that we cannot truly hold our heads high and lead from the front without taking a proactive stance in righting the wrongs that were inflicted on more than 75,000 men.

 The article is correct in describing what happened to Alan Turing, Oscar Wilde and others as “shameful”, “monstrous” and “cruel” which is why we cannot hide behind a veil of martyrdom and argue that it’s “better that we shoulder the shame” because, for the most part, we have not been exposed to the effects that the different convictions and punishments have had on families all over the country. I cannot live under the pretence of making a martyr of ourselves or, more importantly of the thousands like Alan Turing, I want meaningful recognition that those convicted did no wrong.

The article asks whether pardons for drowned witches, the beheaded wives of Henry VIII and burned churchmen should follow suit. I would respond with the point that these events happened in the 16th and 17th centuries, almost 500 years ago, the legal inequality that helped feed the discrimination toward people like Alan Turing happened right up until the beginning of the 21st century. There is a clear and important distinction to make between what happened in history and events that happened in living memory.

Indeed, the phrase ‘in living memory’ counted a lot towards a recent posthumous pardon. In 2006 Des Browne issued posthumous pardons for the executed World War I deserters, it is said that seeing the weight of an unjust conviction on relatives first hand helped Mr Browne make his decision. That decision gave welcome relief to families that suffered years of indignity because a member of their family was a deserter, I hope that a similar decision can do the same and more.

A decision to award a pardon or a disregarded conviction would not be an “empty gesture” as suggested in the article; it would represent justice for anyone affected by the homosexuality laws while showing the Government’s commitment to promoting equality, reducing prejudice and eliminating discrimination on all levels. This is not a campaign that looks back at what happened to one person, but a campaign that looks forward to a world without prejudice or discrimination.

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