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WSJ magazine expands editorial team

Elle senior fashion news editor Whitney Vargas has been named the new fashion news director

After successfully rolling out the debut issue of WSJ's lifestyle magazine with only five staffers, editor Deborah Needleman is now on a hiring spree, appointing two new experienced and talented faces and promoting two others to ramp up the magazine's operations.

Elle senior fashion news editor Whitney Vargas has been named the new fashion news director at the Wall Street Journal magazine.

Former photo editor for W magazine Nadia Vellam, who has been freelancing for WSJ, has been made photo director of the magazine.

Fiona Murray, currently fashion editor of the magazine, will be promoted to the position of features director.

Similarly, Andrew Lutjens, associate fashion editor at the WSJ magazine, will be promoted to become market editor.

Needleman, who herself shoulders the double responsibility of editing the WSJ magazine as well as working on the off-duty section for the Saturday edition of the Wall Street Journal, was also looking for a deputy to help her bring out the WSJ magazine.

For the time being, Fiona Murray, who is responsible for day-to-day operations at the magazine, is assisting Needleman.

The next issue of the WSJ magazine will come out in March.

Photo: Getty Images
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David Cameron's starter homes: poor policy, but good politics

David Cameron's electoral coalition of buy-to-let retirees and dual-earner couples remains intact: for now.

The only working age demographic to do better under the Coalition was dual-earner couples – without children. They were the main beneficiaries of the threshold raise – which may “take the poorest out of tax” in theory but in practice hands a sizeable tax cut to peope earning above average. They will reap the fruits of the government’s Help to Buy ISAs. And, not having children, they were insulated from cuts to child tax credits, reductions in public services, and the rising cost of childcare. (Childcare costs now mean a couple on average income, working full-time, find that the extra earnings from both remaining in work are wiped out by the costs of care)

And they were a vital part of the Conservatives’ electoral coalition. Voters who lived in new housing estates on the edges of seats like Amber Valley and throughout the Midlands overwhelmingly backed the Conservatives.

That’s the political backdrop to David Cameron’s announcement later today to change planning to unlock new housing units – what the governmen dubs “Starter Homes”. The government will redefine “affordable housing”  to up t o£250,000 outside of London and £450,000 and under within it. and reduce the ability of councils to insist on certain types of buildings. He’ll describe it as part of the drive to make the next ten years “the turnaround decade”: years in which people will feel more in control of their lives, more affluent, and more successful.

The end result: a proliferation of one and two bedroom flats and homes, available to the highly-paid: and to that vital component of Cameron’s coalition: the dual-earner, childless couple, particularly in the Midlands, where the housing market is not yet in a state of crisis. (And it's not bad for that other pillar of the Conservative majority: well-heeled pensioners using buy-to-let as a pension plan.)

The policy may well be junk-rated but the politics has a triple A rating: along with affluent retirees, if the Conservatives can keep those dual-earner couples in the Tory column, they will remain in office for the forseeable future.

Just one problem, really: what happens if they decide they want room for kids? Cameron’s “turnaround decade” might end up in entirely the wrong sort of turnaround for Conservative prospects.

Stephen Bush is editor of the Staggers, the New Statesman’s political blog.