If you’ve ever watched Jamie Oliver, you’ll know how all the different people in a commercial kitchen have to work in unison. And so it is running a nation. The economic Escoffiers and political patisseriers just can’t do their own thing.

Yesterday, Bureau of Statistics figures showed gross domestic product in the year to 31 March rose a seasonally adjusted 3.8%, well above the forecast 3.1%.

The higher than expected economic growth raised the chance of an interest rate rise in July, calculated from the implied yield on the Sydney Futures Exchange’s interbank cash rate futures, from 4% to 22%. Market expectations of a November increase rose from 72% to 112%. In other words, they reckon it’s a cert.

This morning, we learned that the unemployment rate has reached a 32-year low. These figures have raised the heat in the kitchen.

Iron Chef John Howard wants to do challenger Kevin Rudd slowly – or at least wait for the polls to get better before exposing him to the searing heat of an election campaign.

But there’ll be trouble if the economy boils over. The Iron Chef’s efforts will be spoilt, and apprentice Peter may never get his white hat.

Some connoisseurs of politics say that interest rates are just one little item on the spectacular degustation menu we’re being offered. Chef Howard has made them the centrepiece of his political banquets in the past, they say, and we’ll trust him – he always asks us to trust him on this issue – to dish up what we want in the future.

These connoisseurs, however, tend to be Chef Howard’s own junior kitchen hands. They haven’t learned yet that foodies are a fickle lot.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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