According to a BBC news report, an online petition has been drafted to urge the HM Government to pardon Alan Turing.
Well, it's about f'ing time.
The e-petition (have you signed it yet?) reads:
Grant a pardon to Alan Turing
Responsible department: Ministry of Justice
We ask the HM Government to grant a pardon to Alan Turing for the conviction of 'gross indecency'. In 1952, he was convicted of 'gross indecency' with another man and was forced to undergo so-called 'organo-therapy' - chemical castration. Two years later, he killed himself with cyanide, aged just 41. Alan Turing was driven to a terrible despair and early death by the nation he'd done so much to save. This remains a shame on the UK government and UK history. A pardon can go to some way to healing this damage. It may act as an apology to many of the other gay men, not as well known as Alan Turing, who were subjected to these laws.
The e-petition (sign it already) is on the official U.K. Government e-petition web site. E-petitions are described by the site as "an easy way for you to influence government policy in the UK. You can create an e-petition about anything that the government is responsible for and if it gets at least 100,000 signatures, it will be eligible for debate in the House of Commons."
The site has garnered some controversy over the nature of some e-petitions and the fact that 100,000 signees represents 0.2% of the electorate. On the other hand, Government House Leader Sir George Young countered that:
The site has been widely welcomed as a realistic way to revitalise public engagement in Parliament. But there have been some who have been concerned by some of the subjects which could end up being debated – for example, the restoration of capital punishment.
The last time this was debated – during the passage of the Human Rights Act in 1998 – restoration was rejected by 158 votes.
But if lots of people want Parliament to do something which it rejects, then it is up to MPs to explain the reasons to their constituents. What else is Parliament for?
People have strong opinions, and it does not serve democracy well if we ignore them or pretend that their views do not exist.
Whatever the result of the e-petition (hey buddy, less reading, more signing, capice?), it seems that Alan Turning's remarkable life, and tragic death, still resonate today.
The only question that remains is: was this blog post written by a computer or human? How can you tell?