There have been mutterings about a tax on food. It's a breathtakingly stupid idea, so it'll probably be adopted by this government.
Or maybe they'll say 'Nah, only joking. We'll put VAT on books instead'. Imagine the relief. Food is essential. For me, so are books, but these days the younger generation don't bother much with books. There would be outrage at the idea of a tax on food but if the government then shifts it to books, much more than half the country will say 'Okay. You can do that as long as you don't do it on food.'
A trade-off. For now.
Once there is a tax on books it can be made variable and complex. Our government like variable and complex where tax is concerned because very few people can work out what's going on. Then the tax can be made very low on approved books and very high on non-approved ones.
They would dearly love a tax on food, of course. Again, once the variable and complex aspects are applied, non-approved foods can be priced out of reach and bland stock-feed is all the masses will be able to afford. The pelleted feeds now given to pigs should work just as well for humans, you know.
I don't think there will be a tax on food just yet. It's a scare tactic designed to make us all feel relieved when that tax is deflected onto something else. Like the £8-a-bottle duty hike for spirits, which we will all be grateful to find is actually only £5 a bottle. There's going to be a tax hike on something but it's not food. Books and magazines would be high on my guess list. Perhaps books first - after all, there'd be much less fuss about a tax on the works of Shakespeare than a tax on Heat or Cosmo.
The food tax will be back. Once the idea of food tax is in the public's mind, especially if it's reinforced over a few budgets and deflected each time, then when it finally comes into force it won't meet much resistance. People will have grown accustomed to the idea.
The Righteous play a long game.