On the gay pardon thing

What, exactly, is the offence that all are going to be pardoned of?

That gross indecency? Buggery?

The latter would be something of a problem perhaps. There was one year when England hanged more for buggery, or sodomy, than for murder so I’m told.

26 thoughts on “On the gay pardon thing”

  1. It’s irrelevant virtue signalling. You’d think parliament had better things to do with its time than pardon people who were prosecuted for offences nearly 50 years ago.

    Can we get a pardon for Ben Dover? How about the Catholics that were persecuted by Henry VIII or the Protestants under Mary I? Maybe an apology for women executed as witches? The Harrying of the North?

  2. The attacks on Hereward the Wake?

    The Princes in the Tower?

    Still it gives us a template for the executions of our dear representitives.

    They will apologise for treason, for being CM stooges but above all for being the crawling, power seeking turds that they are.

    And then the noose.

  3. Matthew L–A more pointless activity than apologising to the dead or for the past could not be imagined. How should I apologise for the wrongs you have committed or vice versa. Esp when it is highly likely that we would have few areas of agreement about what constitutes Right and Wrong.

    Virtue-signalling bullshit as BiW said.

  4. Perhaps the government could just issue a generic “sorry if we upset you”. That’ll calm down the Twitterati, for sure.

  5. Wasn’t it Tony Blair who kicked this thing off by apologising to the Irish for the potato famine?

    It’s so much easier to apologise for mistakes you haven’t made than to accept responsibility and express or even feel regret for those you have.

  6. Matthew L,

    “His daughter, Gertrude Harris, 93, and granddaughter Janet Booth, 63, had fought a legal battle to overturn the ruling in 2000 by Geoff Hoon, the former defence secretary, that there was no case for a posthumous pardon.”

    What the fuck?

    Look, I’d have just given out the pardon. Get the advisors in a room “what’s this going to cost” “nothing” “fine, send a Johnny out to give her a pardon”. No point wasting money on lawyers for something with no cost.

    I can’t stand that apology about wartime. People make bad calls because we didn’t have the luxury of time, resources and expertise that we have today.

    I feel the same way about Hillsborough. The police there did what the police did at grounds across the country. The demand from the public was about hooliganism, not public safety and they policed for that. But people either weren’t there, or forget what the world was like. I remember what it was like.

  7. I’m not sure what a pardon gains in Turing’s case.

    He was, after all, guilty as charged, and the state did what it was supposed to do. A neatly British fudge might have seen the case buried, and Turing spirited off to North America. But there were complications; the Cold War, the risk of blackmail, and so on. Besides, at the time of his arrest, his achievements were (mostly) secret.

    Turing is now firmly established and honoured as a national hero. The horrible nature of his fall has probably helped rather than hindered that.

    We’re supposed to learn from history, not airbrush the bits that make us uncomfortable.

  8. Bloke in North Dorset

    Matthew L,

    I recommend this book. The chapter on shot at dawn is a very interesting read. Unfortunately my copy hasn’t been returned so I can’t give you exact numbers but many of them were shot for capital crimes that would have carried the death penalty at home. There was also a lot of sympathy for battle fatigue or shell shock or whatever you want to call it, and some of those shot were convicted 2 or even 3 times before the penalty was eventually carried out.

    In the end though, those were the laws of the time that were required for military disciple and we have no right to gainsay hem, no matter how worthy the cause.

    As for Harry Farr, Stray did quite a good song which played no small part in publicising his case.

  9. Bloke no Longer in Austria

    I suspect that it’s an EU thing, because the Germans re planning a similar mass pardon,.

    There were actually over 3000 soldiers in WW1 sentenced to death but 90% were commuted. Only 50 I believe were shot by the Germans, but they treated their soildiers much more harshly in the field. The Italians shot 750.

  10. Jack C,

    “Turing is now firmly established and honoured as a national hero. The horrible nature of his fall has probably helped rather than hindered that.”

    Absolutely. He was embraced, unlike most geeks, by SJWs and the general MSM because he was gay. Few people know who Tommy Flowers is, even though he was instrumental in building these machines and shabbily treated by the MoD (but not because he was homosexual, but because they were shitbags).

  11. In wartime, in battle, discipline is maintained harshly in the eyes of many. Its needed to be maintained harshly. The alternative for the military can be a rout, a defeat, a refusal to follow any orders at all….
    Many militaries have shot people for things without a trial at all, as needed. Where time is available the luxury of a trial by military tribunal is used.
    Not always time so not always used – and the soldier or (more likely) officer / appointee responsible is responsible only to their own superiors on the necessity, not subject to trial themselves.

  12. BiW,
    I agree on Tommy Flowers, and others, though, a) shabby treatment would have been pretty general in those days and in our eyes, and b) Turing lost more, including his life in the end.

    It’s always a nonsense to judge the past by today’s standards. But great for virtue-signalling.

  13. “A more pointless activity than apologising to the dead or for the past could not be imagined”, as Ecksy rightly says.

  14. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Ian Kershaw points out in The End that compared to WW2, the Germans in WW1 were very lenient on deserters. Of course what that means in practise is that in WW2 they were absolutely fucking mental. They were still executing people at flying courts martial after the Instruments of Surrender had been signed on May 7th/8th.

    Famously, the US only executed one guy for desertion during WW2 and after reading the facts of the case it would seem they did so more out of exasperation at what a useless sack of shit he was than out of any higher motive.

  15. So Much For Subtlety

    Bloke in Costa Rica – “Of course what that means in practise is that in WW2 they were absolutely fucking mental.”

    I don’t see how that follows. Yes they did go mental, but correlation or causation? It is more likely that governments that had the support of generations of habit, that ruled in line with most people’s values and expectations, did not have to execute much. People obeyed them because people had always obeyed them. The Nazis and even more so the Communists did not have these habits of obedience and they were alien ideas foisted on a society that objected in many ways.

    The Soviets executed on a scale that makes the Nazis look like Quakers. They may have executed more of their own soldiers than the US lost in the entire war.

    “Famously, the US only executed one guy for desertion during WW2 and after reading the facts of the case it would seem they did so more out of exasperation at what a useless sack of shit he was than out of any higher motive.”

    They probably should have executed more. US soldiers did not get out of control but in places they may have been a little out of control.

    Odd trivia, Emmit Till, one of the more famous lynching cases in the South, was a young African American boy from Chicago visiting the South when he propositioned a White woman. His father Louis Till had been executed in France in 1945, while serving in the US Army, for rape and murder.

  16. BiND,

    Also a big fan of Corrigan’s work: dig around a bit and you discover that you had to try rather hard to actually have “sentenced to death” turned into “actually shot”, with 90% or so of sentences commuted: something like ten per cent of the 300-odd executed personnel being on their second offence (not ‘lost a tin of jam’ but ‘sentenced to death, sentence commuted, returned to their units’) and one prize winner having managed not one but two previous convictions, death sentences and commutations by the time he finally met the firing squad!

    The British Army of the Great War was a much more effective, efficient and capable machine than most realise: it was, after all, the only one of the Armies that came in from the start that didn’t suffer widespread and catastrophic mutiny, and (contrary to popular myth) it transformed utterly under fire as it learned the lessons of combat.

    If I sound a little serious, it’s because two weeks ago I was in Ypres on a visit to the region: eleven thousand gravestones add up to one hell of a lot, especially as it sinks in that three-quarters of them are simply marked “A Soldier of the Great War, Known Unto God” (Tyne Cot, and praise due to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for their efforts)

    I’m a little (but only a little) conflicted on this issue, to be honest: I’m a libertarian on personal preferences, can’t summon any sexual interest in other men, know a few gayers and don’t really care what they do in their spare time (like the craftsman who just did a stellar job of fitting a new bathroom for us in the mess the last owners left us – he likes blokes not birds, but that’s a data point not a difficulty). What consenting (legal) adults get up to in their spare time is up to them as long as you don’t ask me to pay for the repairs.

    But while with hindsight and modern standards Turing’s treatment was atrocious, if only because we should have kept him close and protected to break Soviet signal traffic for us, the world was not the same then: the film “The Imitation Game” is a curate’s egg (terribly worthy in some ways, annoying flaws, but some flashes of excellence) but highlights minor but important points like the way a woman turning up – having met the selection criteria – is casually diverted to secretarial and administrative duties in a way that’s just unthinkable now. (One of the analysts working for me happens to be female, and of very obviously Asian origin – she wouldn’t even have been let through the door in 1940, while today I’m glad to have a good engineer and as long as her clearances are OK and her work’s good I could care less)

    Being homosexual was seriously illegal back then, rightly or wrongly, and that was because most people wanted it that way or at least didn’t want to think about it: in the same way that, at that time, attempting suicide was illegal (do we owe apologies to everyone punished for unsuccessful efforts to kill themselves?)

    Times, standards and morals change: Shakespeare’s held up as a great playwright, yet in Henry V he describes conduct that would today, unambiguously, get young King Hal convicted by the ICC.

    “How yet resolves the governor of the town?
    This is the latest parley we will admit,
    Therefore to our best mercy give yourselves,
    Or like to men proud of destruction
    Defy us to our worst; for as I am a soldier,
    A name that in my thoughts becomes me best,
    If I begin the batt’ry once again,
    I will not leave the half-achieved Harfleur
    Till in her ashes she lie burièd.
    The gates of mercy shall be all shut up,
    And the fleshed soldier, rough and hard of heart,
    In liberty of bloody hand shall range
    With conscience wide as hell, mowing like grass
    Your fresh fair virgins and your flow’ring infants.
    What is it then to me if impious war,
    Arrayed in flames like to the prince of fiends,
    Do with his smirched complexion all fell feats
    Enlinked to waste and desolation?
    What is’t to me, when you yourselves are cause,
    If your pure maidens fall into the hand
    Of hot and forcing violation?
    What rein can hold licentious wickedness
    When down the hill he holds his fierce career?
    We may as bootless spend our vain command
    Upon th’enragèd soldiers in their spoil
    As send precepts to the Leviathan
    To come ashore. Therefore, you men of Harfleur,
    Take pity of your town and of your people
    Whiles yet my soldiers are in my command,
    Whiles yet the cool and temperate wind of grace
    O’er-blows the filthy and contagious clouds
    Of headly murder, spoil, and villainy.
    If not, why in a moment look to see
    The blind and bloody soldier with foul hand
    Defile the locks of your shrill-shrieking daughters,
    Your fathers taken by the silver beards
    And their most reverend heads dashed to the walls,
    Your naked infants spitted upon pikes
    Whiles the mad mothers with their howls confused
    Do break the clouds, as did the wives of Jewry
    At Herod’s bloody-hunting slaughtermen.
    What say you? Will you yield and this avoid,
    Or, guilty in defense, be thus destroyed?”

    Back then this was just negotiation: today it would be a war crime. Who’s qualified to apologise for the atrocity committed back in the fifteenth century and who exactly do they apologise to?

    And so it goes.

  17. So Much For Subtlety

    There was one year when England hanged more for buggery, or sodomy, than for murder so I’m told.

    I would be willing to put up some small amount of money to say otherwise. Not that people have not claimed this, but that it is not true. As murder has declined, so did prosecutions of sodomy. There are no, and never have been any, significant number of homosexuals. Murder on the other hand is fairly common.

    Just in passing:

    Nicholas Udall, a cleric, playwright, and Headmaster of Eton College, was the first to be charged with violation of the Act alone in 1541, for sexually abusing his pupils. In his case, the sentence was commuted to imprisonment and he was released in less than a year. He went on to become headmaster of Westminster School.

    That is a real belief in redemption and rehabilitation.

  18. Don’t forget that there’s plenty of people still alive who have criminal records for this. Don’t they deserve justice?

  19. So Much For Subtlety

    Matthew L – “Don’t forget that there’s plenty of people still alive who have criminal records for this. Don’t they deserve justice?”

    They got justice. What they want is an exemption from justice.

  20. “We’re supposed to learn from history, not airbrush the bits that make us uncomfortable.”

    Quite.

    What bugs me is not that this is virtual signalling, but that it is low-cost, zero-risk virtual signalling from politicians who are supposed to be running a country and working on our future!

  21. “There are no, and never have been any, significant number of homosexuals. Murder on the other hand is fairly common.”

    I think the percentage of the population who commit murder is estimated as below 0.06%, while the percentage who are homosexual is around 3%. About 50 times as many.

    “They got justice. What they want is an exemption from justice.”

    If they manage to make political incorrectness illegal, is that justice?

    If they subsequently decide the law was wrong and should never have been made, would you want a pardon? Or would you be content to let the crime remain on your record?

    There’s a distinction between law and justice. They got law, and that’s what they want an exemption from.

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