Will it be enough to swing the vote?
David Beckham, the most famous English soccer player of recent years, has come down in favor of the U.K. remaining in the European Union when it votes on Thursday.
In a Facebook post, the soccer star, UNICEF ambassador and underwear model took the line that “we live in a vibrant and connected world where together as a people we are strong. For our children and their children we should be facing the problems of the world together and not alone.”
“For these reasons I am voting to remain,” he wrote.
Beckham, who made his name at Manchester United but also played for Real Madrid, AC Milan, and Paris Saint-Germain, said that “those great European cities and their passionate fans welcomed me and my family and gave us the opportunity to enjoy their unique and inspiring cultures and people.”
While Beckham isn’t exactly your average Briton (or your average anything else), his comments reflect some of the biggest factors determining people’s sympathies in the upcoming vote. Beckham, 41, is closer in age and outlook to the youthful demographic that is the most pro-Remain than to the pensioners who are the bedrock of the Leave campaign. He’s also made personal use of the EU’s right to live and work anywhere within the Union (those who have stayed at home are more likely to vote Leave). And, not least, he is, without doubt, an Establishment figure who hob-nobs with the Royal Family and with UN dignitaries; a man who has gotten a lot out of the status quo, with an estimated net worth of $350 million that insulates him from the issues facing most voters—a fact highlighted by a number of responses to the post.
Whether it will make a difference to the overall result is another matter. If celebrity endorsements decided such things, then the vote would be a foregone conclusion. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, Sherlock Holmes star Benedict Cumberbatch, Helena Bonham Carter, “12 Years a Slave” director Steve McQueen, movie director Danny Boyle and, somewhat surprisingly, former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson have all endorsed staying in.
That’s not to say Brexit is without star backing—Monty Python’s John Cleese and movie star Michael Caine both want out, as do a couple of soccer players who couldn’t get close to Beckham when he was still playing. So does Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes. The man who fawned over the heredity aristocracy like no one else in recent years said in a recent interview that “it’s about philosophy, it’s about democracy.”
It’s been that kind of campaign.