HAVING read Richard Gladstone’s article ‘MP Calls For Alan Turing Pardon’ (Observer, June 1) which stated that Iain Stewart had spoken in the House of Commons in support of the campaign, I consider readers should be made aware that another MP, John Leech, has been deeply involved in the campaign for much longer and he previously raised the matter in Parliament.
Earlier this year I wrote an article on Alan Turing with the title, Our Nation’s Destruction of a Genius, for the Hastings and Rother Rainbow Alliance (HRRA), of which I am a trustee.
My article was read on the HRRA website by Mr Leech who contacted me and said that the current e-petition seeking a pardon for Alan Turing had begun after a Manchester resident had contacted him last year and asked if he would be prepared to support the petition in Parliament, which he did.
Mr Leech has written a number of articles in support of the campaign, which can be read on his online blog.
Alan Turing was acknowledged after the Second World War ended as having played a major role in the victory our country achieved, which was a war fought to free Europe from the tyranny of the Nazis, whose atrocities among many others included the execution in concentration camps after the most brutal treatment of many thousands of gay men.
Victory in a war fought for freedom brought no freedom for Alan Turing and other gay men to live their lives free from the fear of prosecution as they were surely entitled to do, and it was the prosecution and persecution to which he was subjected that resulted in his untimely death.
Had our country lost the war, Alan Turing might well have been executed, but he still died, and it was as a consequence of what was surely the refusal of both the state and our society to grant gay men the freedom then being enjoyed by others for which the war had been fought.
If gay men, who pose no threat to other members of the society in which they live, cannot have the freedom to declare their sexuality without fear of prosecution, discrimination or prejudice, then the society in which they live cannot be regarded as truly free or indeed civilised. Today, although gay men can live without the fear of criminal prosecution, there still remains considerable deep-rooted prejudice and discrimination, which causes many men to feel a need to conceal their true sexual orientation, even from those closest to them.