Friday, April 02, 2010

Breaking The Code

BREAKING THE CODE is the story of Alan Turing who did more than anyone(except possibly Churchill) to win the second world war. He then went on to become a distinguished Professor at Manchester University and work secretly for GCHQ.
He broke two codes. One good and one bad (for the times).
The good was that while at Bletchley Park during the war he developed a way of breaking the German Enigma Code and ensuring that the U Boats could be defeated and England saved from starvation. This work was continued after the war at Manchester where he built the worlds first digital computer. For this he was recently listed at 42 in the most important people of the twentieth century.
BUT he was homosexual and in 1952 was arrested on a charge of Gross Indecency. It seems he was hung out to dry by the Establishment for breaking this code, possibly to appease Senator McCarthy and his witch hunts in the USA. He lost his security clearance and his ability to do the work he wanted to do and probably committed suicide (there is some doubt about that, but not much).
This is an intriguing and moving play which has gripped audiences for over twenty years. It may make you appreciate why the present Prime Minister made a public apology for the way that Turing was treated, it may make you angry at how talent was wasted then and it may make you angry at the way talent is wasted now when important men and women, such as fluent Arabic speakers, are dismissed because they are gay and can't be replaced. Which leaves the Intelligence Services with knowledge gaps now just as they had when Turing was thrown away.
Well it may make you feel those things. It will entertain you.

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