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Leading article: A conference. In Florida. In August. What could go wrong?


Tampa must have seemed like a good idea all those aeons ago when the Republicans chose the venue for this year's convention. Not only would the most intense heat and humidity of summer have passed, but with Florida a close-run swing state, extra opportunities to get the message out were surely welcome.

Now the 5,500 delegates are assembled, however, all the reasons why not come crowding in. This is hurricane season, and Isaac is gathering speed around the Gulf. The dates span the anniversary of Katrina – a byword for the last Republican President's failings. The stage management of the convention is already in disarray and plans for Mitt Romney's finest hour – heaven knows, he could do with one – are being toned down, lest a triumphalist balloon-drop ends up sharing a split-TV screen with a devastated New Orleans. We somehow suspect that Florida's chances of hosting another party convention in the coming decade are less rosy than they were a week ago.