If you look at my previous blog, you'll see that Codebreaker was mentioned today in the House of Lords by Lord Sharkey. Below is the transcript from Hansard for all those who cannot pick up the BBC broadcast I linked to. Codebreaker will receive its world premiere at the Barbican in London in April next year:
There has also been a successful musical of Turing's life, and next year at the Barbican there will be the world premiere of a new choral work celebrating his life, composed by James McCarthy and commissioned by the Hertfordshire Chorus. Soon there is to be a new film of Turing's life. Benedict Cumberbatch is to play Turing and Keira Knightley is to play his girlfriend—which might seem a little odd, because of course, Turing was gay, and it was because he was gay that he was treated so appalling by the Government of the day.
As I think everybody knows, he was convicted in 1952 of gross indecency and sentenced to chemical castration. He committed suicide two years later.
The Government know that Turing was a hero and a very great man. They acknowledge that he was cruelly treated. They must have seen the esteem in which he is held here and around the world.
There are two quotations which, for me, sum up Turing's greatness and establish him as a British hero. The first is from Professor Jack Good, who was at Bletchley Park with Turing and who died last year at the age of 91. Professor Good said that,
“it was a good thing the authorities hadn’t known Turing was a homosexual during the war, because if they had, they would have fired him .... and we would have lost”.
The second quote is from the very distinguished Harvard professor Steve Pinker in his book The Better Angels of Our Nature. Professor Pinker says:
“It would be an exaggeration to say that the British mathematician Alan Turing explained the nature of logical and mathematical reasoning, invented the digital computer, solved the mind-body problem and saved Western Civilization. But it would not be much of an exaggeration”.
It is not too late for the Government to pardon Alan Turing. It is not too late for the Government to grant a disregard for all those gay men convicted under the dreadful Labouchère amendment and similar Acts. I hope that the Government are thinking very hard about doing both those things. But while they are thinking, Parliament can act. We can start by granting a pardon to Turing, and we can continue by finding a way to amend the Protection of Freedoms Act to extend the disregard to all who were treated as cruelly as Turing was simply for being gay. We can start that process today with this Bill, and I beg to move.