I’m sure we’ve all faced the dilemma: how to reconcile the need to know what the enemy is saying with the prohibition against tipping money – even small change – into their war-chest?

The advent of free media content online may be making people more and more reluctant to pay for newspapers and magazines, but the reasons for refusing to pay for Quadrant go deeper than that.

I faced that quandary last weekend, when I saw the headline on the cover of this month’s issue: “The Origins of the Crisis in Immigration Policy”, by John Stone.

Oh God – what’s he saying? And how can I find out without paying?

Steal the magazine, of course – that’s the obvious solution. But not exactly fair on the hard-working newsagent. The library – yeah, ok, but I’m not likely to get there before Christmas. Online – but I wasn’t sure whether the relevent article was online. (It is, here). Read it in the newsagency, and buy a pack of Christmas cards (yeah, Muslims give them, too) to compensate for cluttering the place up? Which is what I did – and what I suggest that you do (make it a nice, big, packet of Christmas cards), even though you can read it online and I just provided you with the link…you can see how circular this dilemma becomes. I want to respond to crazy right-wing people while also ignoring them.  I certainly don’t want to help them notch up the clicks.

And then, after all this effort to avoid swelling the Quadrant coffers, the next day’s Crikey reminded me that I already pay for the ****ing thing. We all do , via the Australia Council funding – even if we’re paying $15 000 less this year than last.

My indignation at this realisation has left me way too distracted to find anything much to say about Stone’s article. And there isn’t much to say, really. Muslim and African criminals flooding our shores, we have “lost control of our borders”,  blah blah blah. “It is the first duty of any government to protect its citizens, including their protection against invasion by undesirables and incompatibles who seek to penetrate the nation’s borders by entering into criminal conspiracies with people-smugglers.” That’s not so much a dog-whistle as a megaphone.

So to the powers-that-be on the Australia Council – can I have my money back, please? I promise to donate it to the first struggling performance poet that crosses my path, no matter how embarrassingly awful they are.