light the blue touch paper

light the (blue) touch paper

To do something that instigates or initiates some intense or widespread action or reaction. Primarily heard in UK. Their goal late in the first half seemed to light the blue touch paper for the team—they've shown much more energy and aggression on the pitch since then. The proposed law has lit the touch paper for activists, who have been gathering people and resources to protest it en masse.
See also: light, paper, touch

light the blue touch paper

or

light the touch paper

BRITISH
If someone lights the blue touch paper or lights the touch paper, they do or say something which causes people to react in an angry or violent way. This kind of remark is guaranteed to light the blue touch paper with some Labour politicians. Tension between them had been building up for weeks. All it took was Mason to light the touch paper and stand back. Note: The touch paper on a firework is a small piece of dark blue paper attached to one end. When it is lit, it burns slowly until it sets off the firework.
See also: blue, light, paper, touch
References in periodicals archive ?
Or a player who consistently fails to light the blue touch paper? It's a debate which has raged between Bluenoses ever since the winger's arrival from Brentford in the summer of 2017.
Moors' Luke Maxwell tried to light the blue touch paper, swinging wide when a pocket of space opened up within 14 seconds of the restart.
But the seasoned midfielder knows three points this afternoon would help light the blue touch paper and lay down a marker in the Gibson Cup race.
IF Newcastle United want to light the blue touch paper early ahead of derby day, they should probably turn to Rafa Benitez.
It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going." Tonight: The Simpsons, Channel 4, 6pm.
IT was inevitable that the sad events in Fukushima, Japan, would light the blue touch paper under the Wylfa B debate.
Representatives of public sector staff in our region reacted with anger to longawaited plans published yesterday, as national unions warned it could "light the blue touch paper" for a summer of strikes.
It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going." This remarkable flourish caps a book filled with subtle and not-so-subtle jabs at religious worldviews and religious faith.
In the book, 'The Grand Design', published next week, Hawking concludes that science excludes the possibility of a deity and that it is unnecessary to "invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going".
Entrepreneurs in Coventry and Warwickshire are being given the opportunity to light the blue touch paper on a new business park.
DAVID MOYES today claimed a thriving and united squad can help Jo light the blue touch paper on his Premier League career.
It takes very little to light the blue touch paper when the Maroons of Queensland and the Blues of New South Wales lock horns and the chance of a series whitewash in favour of the Maroons is enough to ensure a typically full-blooded affair is in the offing.
All I can say is mention it in any gathering I have been part of in the last few years and you need to light the blue touch paper and retire.