You may remember a show I did called Gambling on the Future…

In which each audience forecast the future, a vote was held on which forecast was most likely to happen, we passed the bucket around and then put that money on a bet for that forecast.

Well the results are in and I have to tell you we lost loads of money. Some bets were wildly wishful (Trump to convert to Islam) some were wilfully obscure (The word omelette to become a verb). However a number of audiences predicted that Jeremy Corbyn would still be leader of the Labour Party. So the balance ended up £3923 in credit.

At the time I suggested we should give any profits to the Alliance for Choice campaigning for abortion rights in Northern Ireland/The North, but they don’t seem to need our help, so hurrah! This leaves me with the question of what to do with the money?

Here’s the plan: The Chagos Islands are a series of islands under British colonial rule and when Mauritius became independent the UK kept the islands. The UK then kindly gave the USA use of the largest islands Diego Garcia to turn it into a military base and then expelled some 2,000 Chagosians from their home. This took place between 1968-73 so this is not some cutlas wielding empire of the past, it is now.

The UK has been ordered by various courts to hand back the islands to the islanders and allow them to return home. The UK has ignored this. 
However, a group of Chagosians living in the UK have formed a national football team, which is rather wonderful. They play in CONIFA, the Confederation of Independent Football Associations. This is from the CONIFA website, CONIFA “is the football federation for all associations outside FIFA.” The teams that play in the league include Palestinians, Kurds, Tibetans and the Western Saharwis, simply seen it is a league for stateless teams.

Chagos are playing in the CONIFA World Cup in June but they are short of a few bob for their football kit and they need £5000. So I have given them the winnings. The £3923 has gone to the Chagosian Football Association for their kit. We need to raise the remainder of the money, some £1077 , so I have with permission of the CFA created badges to support them. All profits go to them and we need to raise this before the year ends. 
I will be selling them on tour but you can show support for the team by buying a badge online.

I will keep you informed of any CFA fixtures.

As always lots of love Mark x

*CONIFA website describes themselves as “a global acting non-profit organisation that supports representatives of international football teams from nations, de-facto nations, regions, minority peoples and sports isolated territories.”