Blue is the colour, Republicans their name. And they're all very together

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The Independent US

We are all here at the Republican convention in Philadelphia. Delegates from across America in boaters and baseball caps, stetsons and straw hats, some with blue rinses and some with body piercings, have arrived.

We are all here at the Republican convention in Philadelphia. Delegates from across America in boaters and baseball caps, stetsons and straw hats, some with blue rinses and some with body piercings, have arrived.

Perky young women in clompy shoes from internet news services and grizzled old veterans with drink problems from gritty Mid-Western morning papers, celebrity anchors and even John Lydon, the former Sex Pistol, have come here to tell the world (or that section which is interested) about the goings-on.

But what is important, it is made clear roughly every 10 minutes or so, is that we are here together. It is up there in huge letters inside the stadium where the delegates are gathered: Renewing America's Purpose, Together.

The last word has a vivid streak of red paint underneath, so we don't miss it. Sometimes, there is a comma in the slogan, and sometimes a full stop.

The dynamics of a convention are important and nothing is left to chance, so every visual element has been carefully co-ordinated. The podium is not some vast towering Nuremberg-style affair; there are steps leading up to it from the convention floor. They are probably called the Steps Of Opportunity to the Podium Of Achievement, or some such.

At previous conventions, the speakers were in huge towers, looming over the convention floor. Not this time; this is the City of Brotherly Love and the Party of Together.

The colour blue is everywhere; but it is not the dark, masculine Oxford Blue of previous conventions. This is a warmer colour, the kind you might use to decorate a child's bedroom. The team from Changing Rooms has been in.

The speakers have been chosen to complement this. So yesterday we had James Rogan, a Californian Congressman who is likely to lose his seat in the November election because he was one of the men who managed Bill Clinton's impeachment last year, and his constituents are fond of the President.

Mr Rogan didn't talk about that; he told us about his mother for 15 seconds, instead. Then Joan Johnson, a black Republican from New York State, came to chat. She was swiftly followed by a slightly limp man who wanted us to know about farmland preservation in New Jersey.

They were all together.

The decor really matters. In the few seconds which most Americans will watch of all this, they will get an instant impression of the deal. Is this a Republican party speaking de haut en bas, or are they chatting in away in a "national conversation"? It has to be the latter. Is the colour scheme dark, clubby, WASP and masculine? Won't vote for them, then.

The speakers come and go against a light-blue background the colour of sky, as well as some nice ferns or plants which make the whole thing look as it might have been shot outdoors. Well, in a hotel atrium, anyway.

Around lunchtime, just in case we had not got the message, there was a band playing soul and R'n'B classics. There was a black woman pastor presiding; a large black lady danced with lots of illco-ordinated white people in button-down shirts. It is clear that this week, we are going to get down, whether we like it or not. And, more importantly, we are going to do it together.

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