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Once you do that :syntax on or adding it to the rc file should work ~provided~ the files are named appropriately (ending in .py) or alternately have the correct #!/path/interpreter notation at the top.
filetype plugin indent on
Now mind, I don't use this but a friend has used this for a year or so doing python and says he can't live without it(leaving out his perl and ruby additions which make it absurdly long)
au BufRead,BufNewFile *py,*pyw,*.c,*.h set tabstop=8
au BufRead,BufNewFile *.py,*pyw set shiftwidth=4
au BufRead,BufNewFile *.py,*.pyw set expandtab
if search('^\t', 'n', 150)
au BufRead,BufNewFile *.c,*.h call Select_c_style()
au BufRead,BufNewFile Makefile* set noexpandtab
highlight BadWhitespace ctermbg=red guibg=red
au BufRead,BufNewFile *.py,*.pyw match BadWhitespace /^\t\+/
au BufRead,BufNewFile *.py,*.pyw,*.c,*.h match BadWhitespace /\s\+$/
au BufRead,BufNewFile *.py,*.pyw,*.c,*.h set textwidth=79
au BufRead,BufNewFile *.c,*.h set formatoptions-=c formatoptions-=o formatoptions-=r
au BufNewFile *.py,*.pyw,*.c,*.h set fileformat=unix