Here comes Ian Paisley Jr, son of the man responsible for much of the hatred and mayhem in Northern Ireland, especially at the beginning of The Troubles.

Paisley Jr followed in his father’s footsteps but never had the political acumen or, frankly, the political courage to sit down with the other side.

But now, as one of the most important elections in Northern Ireland history has revealed a nationalist majority, Paisley Jr has apparently awakened from his unionist slumber and become aware that a unionist-dominated Northern Ireland is no more. 

His solution is laughable as he revealed in a radio interview after the election results. What Paisley Jr is asking Northern Ireland voters to accept is something called a weighted majority that would rule the North, and in the process, of course, continue unionist majority rule. 

He says 50 percent plus one can no longer be acceptable as it does not reflect the huge divisions and would cause chaos if it ever came to pass. 

That is quite a mouthful from a man who proclaimed that only unionists could run Northern Ireland as they would always have a majority. 

But now events are changing very quickly and the unionist community, like Rip Van Winkle, is faced with a new reality. 

That reality is a nationalist majority, according to the latest election, already exists in Northern Ireland.

There is a method contained within the Good Friday Agreement to hold a border poll “if at any time it appears likely…that a majority of those voting would express a wish that Northern Ireland should cease to be part of the UK and form part of a united Ireland.” 

Men like Paisley Jr and Democratic Unionist Party leader Jeffrey Donaldson deliberately ignored the train coming down the track which consisted of voters demanding the return of the Assembly and a functioning government in the North

Paisley Jr pointed to the problems created by Brexit which had a nearly 52 percent approval from UK voters when the referendum was taken in 2016. He now claims that the incredible fallout from that vote is an example of what could happen if nationalists won a similar small majority in the North. 

So here we have it. The unionists will accept a majority vote, as long as it is a weighted majority in their favor. They are seeking to change the rules as outlined in the Good Friday Agreement. 

The possibility of an Irish unification poll succeeding very narrowly was also the theme of a major Irish Times interview this week with former SDLP senior figure Bríd Rodgers. She too stated that there was not enough of a majority for a united Ireland in just a simple majority. 

This is an astonishing claim given the fact that there is no country in the world that would allow one side or the other to dictate what the vote must be in order to achieve a constitutional change. 

It is easy to see what is happening here. It was reflected, of all places, by the bookies of Paddy Power which dropped the odds of a united Ireland steeply after last week’s election results. 

What do the bookmakers know about what will happen in the future? They look at the demographics and see that in 20 years, the Northern Irish population will be about 55 percent nationalist, and rising. 

So there is a flurry among unionists and elements in The Irish Times and the SDLP – which was almost wiped out in last week’s election – to consider a different solution than envisaged by the Good Friday Agreement. The Belfast Newsletter, a pro-unionist paper, also says a simple majority in a border poll wouldn’t be good enough. 

The possibility of a united Ireland is front and center in both British and Irish politics at this time. The efforts we are seeing to change the rules come from people who know unity in this new century is inevitable.

Changing the rules midstream is not an option, and that must be made clear as soon as possible.

*This column first appeared in the May 24 edition of the weekly Irish Voice newspaper, sister publication to IrishCentral.