Friday, 21 October 2016

The "Turing law" pardoning deceased homosexual men convicted of illegal sexual acts in the past is a load of sentimental nonsense

I write this with some trepidation, because - I was recently informed - while it's just about all right among young educated white folk to criticise Muslims, Jews, and even blacks,  disparaging or making fun of gays is considered unacceptable. The ultimate social sin - the act which will lead to immediate ostracism - is to question the necessity for gay marriage. Presumably this attitude of fiercely intolerant tolerance accounts for the seeming absence of scepticism when it comes to the government's announcement that 65,000 gay men convicted of breaking the law when consensual homosexual acts were illegal - of whom 15,000 are still alive - are to be pardoned.

I don't get it.

Announcing the amendment to the Policing and Crimes Bill, the Justice Minister, Sam Gyimah (me neither), claimed it was "hugely important that we pardon people convicted of historical sexual offences who would be innocent of any crime today". Why, exactly? Britain could hardly have done more than it has over the past half-century to signal its acceptance of same-sex relationships among consenting adults. According to the Stonewall website, these are the milestone legal changes since the start of this century:

2000: Government lifts the ban on lesbians and gay men serving in the Armed Forces

2001: Age of consent for gay/bi men is lowered to 16

2002: Equal rights are granted to same-sex couples applying for adoption

2003: Repeal of Section 28 (i.e. making it legal to "talk positively" about homosexuality in schools)

2003: A new law comes into force protecting LGBT people from discrimination at work

2004: Civil Partnership Act is passed

2004: Gender Recognition Act is passed

2005: The Criminal Justice Act gives courts power to give tougher sentences for homophobic crimes

2007: It becomes illegal to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity when providing them with goods or services

2008: The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act makes ‘incitement to homophobic hatred’ a crime

2009: A new law gives better legal recognition to same-sex parents

2010: The Equality Act is passed (i.e. LGTB people are granted the same special status enjoyed by any other "victim" group)

2013: The Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act is passed

That little lot, I presume, means that homosexuals are at the very least on a level legal footing with heterosexuals - apart from areas like hate crime, discrimination and sentencing powers, where they appear to enjoy protections not afforded to non-ethnic heterosexuals. There seems little point in rehashing the arguments against some of the measures on that list - traditionalists and conservatives who expressed concerns regarding some or all of them at the time were ignored, demonised or simply outvoted. As always. Speaking for myself, I'd like to see any legal measures which afford homosexuals greater protection than the rest of us rescinded; I harbour severe doubts about same-sex couples being allowed to adopt children or the use of surrogates in order to "manufacture" babies for them; and, for reasons I find hard to articulate, I'd like to see marriage go back to being defined as a union between a male husband and a female wife. (I am simply never going to be comfortable with a man referring to his "husband" or a woman referring to her "wife".)

I'm a social conservative who's getting on a bit,  but I recognise the undeniable fact that times and attitudes change, and that these changes are often necessarily and generally beneficial. I've known hundreds of gays and lesbians in my time (thanks to Cambridge, the BBC and living in West London) and the experience has been overwhelmingly positive. As friends, neighbours, priests, colleagues, whatever - they've been great. The general change in attitudes towards homosexuals during my lifetime has undoubtedly been A GOOD THING. But the "Alan Turing law" is A BAD THING, because it makes no logical or moral sense. Turing himself, or Oscar Wilde, or John Gielgud - or most of the thousands of men convicted of committing acts of indecency with members of the same sex - broke the law. They knew they were breaking the law, and the risks they were taking in doing so. The fact that the law was subsequently changed has nothing whatever to do with it: at the time these men were having sex with other men, they were knowingly indulging in a criminal act. Why should they be pardoned? It has nothing to do with the severity of their sentences or some of the barbaric treatment they subsequently received (for instance, the chemical castration undergone by poor old Turing). If it can be proved that they were somehow "fitted up" and didn't actually commit the crime they were accused of - well, fine, let the pardoning commence. Otherwise, they broke the law, and they were punished for it. Case closed.

Let's be honest - this is simply a protracted display of virtue-signalling, an excuse for progressives to parade their infinite capacity for empathy and compassion. Having won a whole series of gay equality battles against the forces of conservatism in this country, campaigners have evidently become addicted to the joys of victory. Unfortunately, they've pretty much run out of opponents here in the UK, and they have no desire to experience the cognitive dissonance that any left-liberal faces by attacking the horrendous homophobia practiced by other victimhood groups in, for instance, Muslim and African countries. In desperation, they've turned their self-righteous wrath on The Past - they damn well want an apology from all those dead white Englishmen who, not having the BBC or The Guardian to correct their appallingly inhumane, reactionary attitudes, spent centuries cruelly persecuting gays (and women and blacks and Catholics and children and the Irish and animals and the poor and the Scots - well, anyone or anything that wasn't a privileged white English male, actually).

As I've observed in the past, being a left-liberal compassionista is a lot like being a drug addict: just as no amount of the drug an addict craves is ever quite enough to satisfy him, so no amount of equality, social justice, fairness, wealth redistribution, affirmative action is enough to satisfy a member of the virtue-signalling classes - even their ancestors aren't safe when they need a fix of medical-grade moral superiority.


  1. Be afraid, be very afraid. You're right - they have come to the end of the gay thing now. It'll be polygamy next (and polyandry, of course) then incest and before we know where we are bestiality and necrophilia.

    What larks!

  2. If I may say so, this is a fine post. Well argued, highly reasonable and detached. I read it a couple of times very carefully and agree wholeheartedly with all that you say. You are treading on egg shells, of course.

    I had a look at Wikipedia and discovered for myself that the decriminalization of homosexuality in Scotland lagged behind England by 13 years [the Criminal Justice Act 1980] and in N. Ireland by 15
    [Homosexual Offences Order 1982]. I wonder what that was all about?

    The first steps towards the "normalisation" of bestiality have already been taken in Denmark where in a £10M TV series called "1864" a Danish aristocrat is seen vigorously copulating with a cow. The series was run on BBC4 recently.

  3. This pardon is not as other pardons. The Ministry of Justice have introduced a special perversity.

    John Nicolson, the famous SNP MP introduced a private member's bill to make the pardon automatic for both the living and the dead. The bill was talked out by Sam Gyimah, the Justice minister mentioned above.


    Because some living people would be pardoned when they shouldn't be – their particular offence may still be against the law, if it involved a minor, for example. So the living have to apply to the Home Office to get their pardon. The Nicolson bill would have been an affront to the victims.

    And that, in turn, makes the automatic pardons of the dead questionable. It is possible that some of them shouldn't really be pardoned. But they will be. Even if that is an affront to some victims.

    Alan Turing is a hero. He invented computer science before there were any computers. And there's his work in cryptography. And artificial intelligence.

    The respect and gratitude due to him are unassailable. They are not affected one way or the other by his criminal record or his pardon.

    What is true of Alan Turing in that respect is true of the tens of thousands of other people found guilty under the old law. No change in the respect in which we hold them or the gratitude we feel towards them arises from the pardon.