The Queen of Publishing, Dame Gail Rebuck, abdicated earlier this week when she stood down as chairman and chief executive of Random House. Dame Gail will take up the somewhat more emeritus position of chairman of the UK arm of Penguin Random House — the literary world’s new super-group.

Her Majesty will use some of her spare time to chair the Cheltenham Literary Festival. She has been making remarks about these changes over the last couple of days and Mr Steerpike was interested to learn that this firm Labour supporter, the widow of Philip Gould, is a tax cutter. She said that bookshops (which she believes to be ‘cultural showcases’) should be given tax breaks to compete with online retailers, such as Amazon, who have, shall we say, very competitive tax arrangements and a highly mobile business.

I like this line of argument: rather than try to bring Amazon to heel, Dame Gail wants to let the competition operate in a fair and open market. Her thinking follows JFK’s dictum that the best way to raise revenue is to encourage greater, wider and deeper prosperity by cutting taxes.  Mr Miliband should listen to Mrs Gould.

Tags: Amazon, Ed Miliband, Gail Rebuck, Labour, Literary festivals