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  1. Politics
28 February 2019

Nigel Farage is absolutely, definitely going to walk from Sunderland to London, honest

Pity the poor sod who has to look after his feet.

By Jonn Elledge

The thing about walking long distances is this: it hurts. You may not think you could genuinely injure yourself from walking, but that’s probably because you haven’t walked enough.

Perform any repetitive movement enough times in the wrong context and things you have never even considered as necessary to your health and well-being start coming into play. Perhaps your shoes are very slightly the wrong size, and that 2mm give means that they begin to rub – not much, but enough that by the twenty thousandth step your feet are starting to blister. Or perhaps they’re not padded enough, in the places where you put your weight.

Either way: at some point, this thing you have believed to be easy since you were a toddler will become suddenly, unexpectedly, hard. It is possible, I can attest, to damage your feet so much through a long walk in the wrong shoes, that you will feel unexpectedly, overwhelmingly sick every time you take a step for the next week.

Or perhaps the injury will be something more humiliating, and you’ll find out the hard way that your thighs are slightly too big for your pants, and somewhere around the 10-mile mark you will notice that they have started to rub. At first this isn’t a pain, exactly: just a sensation of which you are very dimly conscious. But then it starts to sting a little, and then a little more, until you find you are in complete and utter agony. Such exciting possibilities I discovered when I decided, on the hottest day of 2011, to walk 20 miles in a loop around central London. For an hour or more that evening I found myself stuck, a half a mile from my house, physically unable to get up and walk the last ten minutes home, because, as I discovered when I finally made it, I had torn the skin of both my legs, using nothing more threatening than a pair of boxer shorts and a desire to go for a walk.

Anyway. Nigel Farage – a 54-year-old man whose love of a pint is matched by his love of chain-smoking, which means he’s no doubt in tip-top condition for this feat – is to spend the last two weeks of March walking from Sunderland to London in support of Brexit, because it’s 2019 and fuck it that makes as much sense as anything else right now.

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On the first day he’ll march from Sunderland to Hartlepool, a distance of around 20 miles. The next day he’ll do another 12 to Middlesbrough, the next anther 10 to Swainby… It’s not quite true to say he’ll continue like that because there are suspicious gaps in the walk, which suggests to me a lack of commitment of exactly the sort he’s whining about when it comes to Theresa May’s Brexit policy, but nonetheless: the plan is to walk every day until Brexit day on 29 March, and cover most of the distance to Parliament Square. It’s basically the Jarrow March, but instead of people used to hard physical labour demanding economic justice in the midst of the Great Depression, it’ll be a bunch of Ukippers demanding the right to throw out the Poles, which is just as good and historic in some way I’m sure.

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Here’s the thing, though: is Nigel going to make it? Really? Can you imagine him properly kitted up in walking gear, foregoing his trademark tweed and brogues?

And is he really going to manage 20 miles on that first day with his lifestyle? Let alone to repeat the feat for each of the next 13 days? Do you really believe that this is a real thing, that’s really, really going to happen? As opposed to another stinking pile of bullshit from the oxygen thief who posed smirking in front of the infamous “Breaking Point” poster?

In the unlikely event that he does make it, rather than disappearing unannounced into a car or private plane at strategic intervals, then all I can say is: I pity the poor fucker who has to look at his feet afterwards.