Friday, September 11, 2009

UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, Apologises for "Appalling" Treatment of Alan Turing

Fantastic news! Great success for John Graham-Cumming and his petition to 10 Downing Street, demanding an apology to Alan Turing, a brilliant mathematician and code-breaker, named by Time Magazine as "one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century" in 1999. UK's Prime Minister, Gordon Brown has apologised:

"Alan deserves recognition for his contribution to humankind. For those of us born after 1945, into a Europe which is united, democratic and at peace, it is hard to imagine that our continent was once the theatre of mankind’s darkest hour. It is difficult to believe that in living memory, people could become so consumed by hate - by anti-Semitism, by homophobia, by xenophobia and other murderous prejudices - that the gas chambers and crematoria became a piece of the European landscape as surely as the galleries and universities and concert halls which had marked out the European civilisation for hundreds of years. It is thanks to men and women who were totally committed to fighting fascism, people like Alan Turing, that the horrors of the Holocaust and of total war are part of Europe’s history and not Europe’s present.

So on behalf of the British government, and all those who live freely thanks to Alan’s work I am very proud to say: we’re sorry, you deserved so much better.

Gordon Brown"

Read full statement on

"Plato said that there is no true measure of justice, but it is important for a government to give the appearance of justice to society. This is a textbook example of that in action".. (Computer World blogs)

BBC news report: PM apology after Turing petition

Gordon Brown has said he is sorry for the "appalling" way World War II code breaker Alan Turing was treated for being gay.

A petition on the No 10 website had called for a posthumous government apology to the computer pioneer.

The campaign was the idea of computer scientist John Graham-Cumming.

He was seeking an apology for the way the mathematician was treated after his conviction. He also wrote to the Queen to ask for Turing to be awarded a posthumous knighthood.

The campaign was backed by Ian McEwan, scientist Richard Dawkins and gay-rights campaigner Peter Tatchell. The petition posted on the Downing Street website attracted thousands of signatures.

Mr Brown, writing in the Telegraph newspaper, said: "While Mr Turing was dealt with under the law of the time and we can't put the clock back, his treatment was of course utterly unfair and I am pleased to have the chance to say how deeply sorry I and we all are for what happened to him."

National legacy

He said Mr Turing deserved recognition for his contribution to humankind.

From here.

Gordon Brown passes Turing test for humanness!

"The real Turing test: learning to say sorry" from: New Scientist


"Online petitions posted to the official 10 Downing Street website are plentiful, provide fodder for newspaper reporters when it is a slow news day and rarely have any real impact. So I didn't exactly hold out much hope when I added my signature to this one.

Normally you might expect a few hundred people to sign a petition such as this, maybe a couple of thousand if you are lucky. As of today, this one has more than 31,000 signatures.

Thanks largely to a word of mouth online campaign which spread across social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, the number of people signing and the amount of publicity being generated rose quickly.

Beleaguered British PM Gordon Brown, no doubt looking for a good news story to boost his ratings, latched on and in a highly unusual turn of events acted upon the demands of the petitioners. He gave that apology for the treatment of Alan Turing.

As one of the signatories of the Alan Turing apology petition, I today received an email from British Prime Minister Gordon Brown"

Poignant apology to ponder, on the eighth anniversary of a terrible act against human-kind: 9/11.

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