Letter: Politicians bet their shirts on victory

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The Independent Online
Sir: As with many recent developments in UK politics, John Major's exposure of his shirt sleeves is an import from the United States ("Showing his shirt is Major's way of baring his soul", 11 October).

The tactic dates from the 1988 presidential campaign between George Bush and Michael Dukakis. Trailing badly in the polls in the final week, the aloof and unworldly Democratic candidate took off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves to symbolise "getting down to business" and even "spoiling for a fight".

The media were mightily impressed, and wrote at length about this powerful subliminal message that he was "fighting back". The polls, however, didn't move and Dukakis lost heavily.

BEN RICH

London EC4

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