Unionist political leaders don’t care to admit it, but the last census proved they are a minority. Only 48% of the population ticked “British” and only 48% ticked “Protestant”. Therefore only a minority of people are likely to be attracted to a party emphasising “British identity” and prioritising “(Protestant) marching”.
Unionism picked up two seats at last month’s General Election but the trend is, of course, one of further decline. A decade or so from now, we will be discussing results of a census which show more “Catholics” than “Protestants”; and of Elections at which even Unionist pacts cannot secure more than half the seats. Despite the curious decline in Nationalist turnout, these facts are not disputed.
This does not point towards a majority for a “United Ireland”. Still less than a third of people in Northern Ireland regard themselves as “(All-)Irish” and there is no reason that will change; and many “Nationalist” voters will continue to hint that perhaps now is not quite the time for a Border Poll.
Therefore, people with an interest in keeping the UK together (in “defending the Union” to use the siege parlance) have a decision to make – either “the Union” is in danger, or it isn’t.
If we accept that even a Catholic majority would have no interest in risking the financial status quo, then “the Union” is in no danger – in which case there is no point in voting Unionist.
If we accept that actually a Catholic-and-Other majority may seek to change the constitutional status quo, it is in the interests of those who support the status quo to reach out to that majority rather than circle the wagons around flag-waving British people and marching Protestants – in which case there is no point in voting Unionist.
It does not matter, therefore, what your constitutional position is. There is, on the basis of simple demographics, simply no point in voting Unionist.