It's interesting to see how 2011 has panned out and although I don't buy into the myth that the market will find its own balance and taxes are the big evil, I was rather surprised to see that tourism has picked up quite a lot over the last year.

Surprised because I do find that for a log of the sector, prices have gravitated back towards the extortionate prices of 5 years ago, for everything from room prices to food. Even the lowliest bnb now charges 10 euro minimum for breakfast, which makes that 45 buck room look decidedly more pricey. Similarly, free parking is thing of the past and other things have rapidly crept back while service is poorer than ever.

One laughable feature is gentrification through price. Food and quality doesn't change but a marketing uplift creates an illusion that quality is up to match a new higher price, which in fact hasn't changed! One of the dirty tricks of the Celtic tiger.

Another one that's come back with a bang is leaving the 17 year old to manage your business while you spend your day on a golf course. Not long ago an old schoolmate closed his shop after 4 generations. Totally unsurprising since he didn't actually ever appear in it. Yet it's still common for some to see self employment as a means to get others to run your business should you get rich quick. This is the real problem with entrepreneurship in Ireland, not the governments lack of support but a set of myths persisting that self employment is an easy ride. Far from it. There reality of self employment is that to make it work, you can't stop at 40 hours a week. Unless you do something that earns large sums.
Anyway here's my wishes for 2012

1 a fairer environment for employment - and an end to the sustained attack on the rights of lower paid workers
2 real opportunities, no more white
elephants like fas and the ces
3 something to be done to tackle unfair commercial rent regimes
4 a fair property tax system that might reduce reliance on punitive rates
5 clarity of temp work directive
6 a bit of reality on vat as this will cripple Ireland


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