Obituary: Kevin Donnelly

Kevin Donnelly, who was an active supporter of Basic (Citizen’s) Income from its early days in the 1980s, has died at his home in Manchester aged 82. In an article by Kevin in the BIRG Bulletin in 1989 he described himself as ‘currently supply teaching, writing articles and leaflets, after a career as high-school dropout, toolmaker, clerk, sales manager, then teacher’.

Kevin was passionate about doing something to better the lives of ordinary working men and women. He expressed this through his religious belief, as well as actively promoting a Citizen’s Income in any arena available to him. In 1989 he was a founder trustee of the Basic Income Research Group, which became the Citizen’s Income Trust in 1994.

The standard definition of a Citizen’s Income is that it should be paid for by levying tax on the incomes of workers. It was unease with this aspect of Basic or Citizen’s Income that led Kevin (and me) to become involved in monetary reform. If the state reclaimed the money-creating power from commercial banks, then the proceeds could be used to fund a small Basic Income. Monetary reform used to be the preserve of cranks (and sometimes bigots as well), but it has now become urgent and mainstream following the banking crash of 2008. An important forum for the monetary reform debate is the Christian Council for Monetary Justice, of which Kevin was a long term supporter.

Kevin, always inspirational, argued with infectious good humour. His great joy was in pricking the pomposities of the hide-bound and conventional. His do-it-yourself Christmas cards with their poems and pictures were a delight. Game to the end, his wife Shirley tells me he had several recently delivered books yet to read.