[Klug-general] Alan Turing Pardon Petition

AllenJB allen at allenjb.me.uk
Tue Sep 1 11:08:34 UTC 2009

James Blake wrote:
> On 1 Sep 2009, at 11:33, dan attwood wrote:
>> Out of interest if you do suceed in getting a pardon for Turing, what
>> then? Who else do we then need to appologise to?
>> I sometimes feel it seems fruitless making people apologise for the
>> past, you can't change the past only learn from it and hope it doesn't
>> happen again


> I think the whole point is for the recognition of what happened will,  
> hopefully, help educate people of today towards tolerance of others.   
> This is one way of reflecting back and drawing a line under it, until  
> then it remains a dark part of British history.

Why does apologizing to a single person when hundreds probably met
similar fates promote tolerance? Why should Turing get all the focus in
this particular matter?

> Also I think that the British government hasn't really been an  
> advocate for the very important role Turing played in artificial  
> intelligence, the development of the computer or his war effort.  Part  
> of this is that it is trying to avoid the awkwardness of its role in  
> his death - by apologies it opens the possibility of the country  
> finally embracing one of its heroes.

What exactly do you want the government to do? Start an advertising
campaign to let people know what a cool dude Turing was? Write a
biography and publish it for free?

(Completely ignoring the current governments complete failings in the
areas of technology and education)

How does the role of a past government, that probably virtually nobody
knew about before this campaign started anyway, help the citizens of the
country embrace one of many "heroes"? Why is Turing getting all the
focus? While I don't know the details I highly doubt any single person
was responsible for cracking enigma - from what I understand there were
vast teams of people involved in the activities of Bletchley Park.

Promoting the role of the women who worked there would, in my opinion,
do the technology industry far more good in the long run than promoting
the work of a single person.

Or how about just the work of Bletchley Park as a whole? At least when I
was at school we were taught great swathes about the Germans and Nazis,
but virtually nothing about what happened in Britain in that era.

> An American billionaire had to pay for the statue of Turing at  
> Bletchley Park as the government wouldn't :(

Frankly, I don't see why my taxes should be put towards creating a
static statue that stands on a single point in the country for a single
dead person. I'd much rather they were put towards the benefit of
current and future generations.

This is of course ignoring the stupid amount of debt our government is
currently in anyway.


> Regards
> James

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