Scotland has voted No to independence, prompting a huge sigh of relief to echo through the corridors of Westminster. It means David Cameron has not gone down as the prime minister who lost the United Kingdom. But the political consequences of a No vote are huge. This is because Westminster has vowed to say yes to more devolution. The leaders of the three largest UK parties have promised that the Scots will get more powers over their taxes, welfare and spending. Many Conservatives believe extra devolution to Scotland should be matched by giving English MPs a greater say over English laws. Giving English MPs greater powers would open up another constitutional can of worms. Labour would be hugely cautious, and not just because its Scottish MPs would resist any loss of influence at Westminster. Read more >>
The cartoon by Brian Adcock from The Independent shows the three main UK party leaders (Cameron, Clegg and Miliband) standing in front of a can of worms labelled 'Constitutional Reforms', which has just been opened by SNP leader Alex Salmond. Salmond is waving them goodbye as he walks off carrying his can opener in a Scottish flag.
The cartoon is a literal illustration of the idiom 'to open a can of worms' (see below). After losing the referendum, Salmond resigned, but he may yet have the last laugh as the concessions he won on more powers for Scotland have left the UK political parties in disarray.
To open a can of worms is to create situation that involves a complicated set of problems that you discover when you start dealing with it. • The government's plans for compulsory data retention has opened a can of worms. This expression alludes to a container of bait used for fishing, which when opened reveals an inextricable tangle of worms.