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By Ashleylister @ashleylister
Who doesn't love a topographical error? đŸ˜„ There should be a mispoints rating.

Scoring maximum mispoints would be my personal favourite, which dates back to early 1974. It appeared during the Miners' Strike of that winter, when Mick McGahey and the NUM took on the National Coal Board and Heath's Conservative government. Inflation had been rampant for years and the miners were demanding a pay rise to compensate for their relative loss of earning-power.  An independent commission had proposed a wage rise of 35%. The Tories weren't having any of it. As most power (both electricity, gas and domestic fires) was still based on burning coal, the miners were in a powerful position to put economic pressure on their employers and the government. They didn't hold back.First of all in the autumn of 1973 the miners implemented a work-to-rule in support of their wage claim and banned overtime. This effectively halved coal production in the UK within a matter of weeks. Rationing of coal (and hence electricity) led to the introduction of a three-day working week in December and scheduled black-outs of domestic electricity supply. I well remember as a student at the time stocking up on candles and reading books and writing essays by candlelight, wearing a coat and scarf indoors, all  very romantic. In January the miners turned down the offer of a 16.5% increase in basic pay and their resolve to take on the government hardened. Whereas months before a vote for strike action had been narrowly defeated, a second vote in the new year was passed with 81% in favour and plants in mining communities around the country began to close. Hardship funds kicked in but everyone involved wanted the action to be as affective as possible as quickly as could be.

Consequently, in order to strengthen and escalate the Miners' Strike, a tactic of deploying 'flying pickets' was introduced, whereby teams of men from the more militant closed mines were sent to mines that hadn't been as supportive of the industrial action, and to coal-processing plants. This action was designed to block the progress of miners into pits and the transit of lorries and trains hoping to carry coal away from mines and into depots and power-stations. It was a very effective move as few were willing to cross picket lines manned by striking miners. Such solidarity was very impressive (and Margaret Thatcher, then Minister for Education was quietly taking note, even as she cancelled the provision of free school milk to all).On to that headline, then. It was splashed in bold type across the front of the Morning Star one day and it read: FLYING PICKETS SENT TO OTHER PLANETS - priceless! What was the typographer thinking? 


A flying picket preparing to head off into space

The power of the unions (the railway workers soon joined in) was enough to force the government into going to the people for a renewed mandate to continue with its hard line policies. The General Election of February 1974 saw the Labour Party returned to power. Within weeks the miners were granted their 35% wage increase.
Although that Morning Star misprint is my favourite, I can't write a blog about typographical errors without mentioning the most infamous of all time. Here it is:

That's from the 1631 edition of the King James Bible, managing by sin of omission to get the seventh of the Ten Commandments fundamentally wrong. Charles I ordered the whole print run of the offending edition to be burned. Heads should have rolled... and of course his eventually did, but that was for a different treason. However, at least nine copies of what came to be dubbed 'the wicked bible' have survived to this day.
And so to my latest poem, which I dedicate to The Unknown Typesetter... and all those lesions of hand-working topographers the world over whose skull with hot type notwithstanding lets lip suck joys as this:


Drunk at the controls?  That should of course read PREFACE.

MispointsHot_metal _typesetting_heroin_late_nightsweatpores_over_boxed_headline_for_Friday_edition: [block]Sick(sic)_Shooter_Slays_Senator[block].A_smoking_gun_is_right_there_but_he's_nowlead-blind_100%_proof_reading_not_what_he'sformatted_in_that_frame_but_what_he_expectsto_see._It's_a_common_enough_mistake_whenthe_pressure_is_on.[block]The_proprietors_willbe_pissed_though_not_as_badly_as_PEEFACEwhen_the_night_is_done_but_at_least_his_errorcan_be_passed_off_as_a_somewhat_tacky_pun!
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