The Alan Turing law should be the beginning of posthumous pardons

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Friday 21 October 2016 12:36
Alan Turing, who decrypted Nazi messages, was granted a posthumous royal pardon in 2013
Alan Turing, who decrypted Nazi messages, was granted a posthumous royal pardon in 2013

If people will be posthumously pardoned regarding their convictions of sexual offences under laws now recognised as immoral (“Alan Turing law unveiled”, 19 October), then there are many more crimes that should be reconsidered. People who were convicted, earlier in the twentieth century, for blasphemy, distributing contraceptives, aiding early abortions and refusing military service should also be pardoned – as should those who ended up in prison for defending unions, upholding free speech, whistle-blowing, and demanding equal pay for equal work. As the list could go on and on, ought there not to be a blanket pardon for all those who have been convicted under laws now realised to be immoral?

Peter Cave


An unelectable leader

Anna Rhodes begins her article (I’m usually the first to slam Corbyn’s performance every Wednesday, but at today’s PMQs he looked like the better leader, 19 October)with another nail in Corbyn’s coffin: “standing firm” in her belief that “he is an electoral trainwreck waiting to happen”. How firm is her belief? Entrenched? The article shows your admiration of his crisp, much-improved performance. So why begin with his unelectability? What if he continues to impress? Will MPs and journalists stop attacking him as a default position?

Perhaps your first sentence was an attempt to prove how authentic your new, unexpected praise is. But sandwiching your “Let’s wait and see” message between a note of bleak hopelessness and a jibe about Mao is either disingenuous or hedging your bets.

Joan Hewitt

Trump’s nursery language

If this absurd farce of an election is an insult to us all, so is David Usborne’s analogy of this bizarre debate to the behaviour and interactions of young children in early childhood settings (Donald Trump calling Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman” dragged the political debate into the nursery, 20 October). A visit to experience the practise in nurseries and preschools would make it clear to you that it takes many years of “growing up” for human beings to descend to the lows of US American presidential candidates. I would be happy to show you around.

Mathias Urban, Professor of Early Childhood Studies
University of Roehampton, London

I’m not sure if, as a British citizen, it is good form to comment on past or present American presidential election campaigns, but as President Obama made comments before and after the Brexit referendum I’ll take the risk.

I am a British working class, long term conservative voter who at 65-years-old has been around long enough to have watched and endured several US presidential election campaigns, not to mention their subsequent aftermaths. I feel bound to suggest that surely these and all future candidates ought to be selected from people who are really suitably qualified to hold this ultimate American high office. These people should, ideally, have a university education, a sound knowledge of history and world affairs, have excellent political experience, be well versed in the art of diplomacy, be articulate, well prepared, presentable, polite and courteous. I have to admit that Barack Obama seems to me to have demonstrated all these qualities. How on earth did a peanut farmer, two millionaire cowboy ranchers, a film actor, and a real estate business tycoons generally become the norm over the past 30 odd years ? I'm sure they were all decent, well meaning people though with the benefit of hindsight they were clearly not up to the job. I wonder who will be next on the list? Brad Pitt, Lady Gaga. The mind boggles.

I am not in any way anti American, however, I do think they should to take the show biz and theatre aspect out of the equation or failing that produce each presidency as a box set ala “Friends”.

John Harrison


Vlad’s vessels

What a classic piece of timing from Vladimir with the Russian Northern fleet sailing down the English Channel. Today is “Trafalgar day”; Vlad must have read up on his naval history before setting this one up.

Peter Morrell

North Yorkshire

If Russian warships need to pass through British waters to get to Syria, why don't we just block them? Oh, I forgot, we're militarily too weak.

Mark Grey

Covent Garden


Thomas van den Bergh (Letters, Oct 20) writes that the Conservative Party manifesto promised to implement the result of the referendum can be dropped because it expressed an intention not a commitment. In 2015 MPs voted 316-53 in favour of holding the EU referendum. No MP suggested ignoring the result. This overwhelming endorsement of the referendum cannot be disregarded.

John Doherty


The BHS scandal

What nonsense this is! Tub thumping MPs like to talk big and do nothing of practical use. This same, useless behaviour is being exhibited by MPs over Southern Rail; big words, headlines but no practical action for those suffering from the company's actions. If these MPs really cared about BHS employees, they would ban companies from paying executive bonuses and dividends unless their pension scheme was adequately funded!

Tony McMahon

West Sussex

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