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David Beckham backs No vote: Will Scotland be swayed?

UK facing 'death' over Scotland vote: Professor
UK facing 'death' over Scotland vote: Professor

One is a former soccer player almost as well known for his style as his ball skills. The other is an angry, red-haired school caretaker with an "Aye or Die" tattoo.

It's unsurprising that David Beckham should find himself on the opposite side of the Scottish independence debate to Groundskeeper Willie from The Simpsons.

Lawrence Summers
Larry Summers: Scottish independence ‘grave mistake’
Kenzo Tribouillard | AFP | Getty Images

The Queen also came as far off the fence as she ever does when it comes to politics, by telling a small group of people outside Sunday church service in Balmoral (near her Scottish estate) that she hopes the Scots will "think very carefully about the future" in the vote.

An independent Scotland would still have the Queen as its head of state, but a future vote on whether to keep the monarchy might be more likely.

The vote is on a knife edge, with three out of four weekend polls suggesting a small victory for the No camp, and one, for the Sunday Telegraph by ICM, predicting the Yeses will win.

Scottish vote: UK business leaders scaremongering?

Rupert Murdoch, the founder of 21st Century Fox, which makes The Simpsons, was in Scotland this weekend himself – although he hasn't yet said whether he agrees with Fox's most famous Scottish creation.

Beckham wrote that the Union is "the envy of the entire world" in an open letter issued by the No campaign.

Independent Scotland: What would happen next?

The celebrity ex-footballer's involvement may backfire, as the Scottish are not famous for their fondness for English footballers. One famous England-Scotland soccer match, in 1977, was followed by a pitch invasion which saw part of the goalposts of Wembley stadium carried away by Scottish fans.

However, his appeal to the emotional pull of the Union marks a change in tone from much of the No campaign, which has focused on the potential economic uncertainties if Scotland gains independence.

Why Scotland should step back from the brink

"The prospect of Scotland voting next week Yes to independence and turning away from 400 years of history fills me with despair, frankly," Niall Ferguson, the Scottish-born professor of History at Harvard University, who has talked of renouncing his U.K. passport if there is a Yes vote, told CNBC.

"Their [the nationalists'] story is simply economic fiction. Their story is that somehow you can keep the pound while leaving the United Kingdom. That's false. Their story is that somehow or other they can increase welfare spending, even as they cut themselves off from revenues from the obviously richest part of the U.K., the south-east of England. And finally their story is that somehow the oil is going to increase in volume when all experts in the energy industry will tell you that North Sea oil output is dwindling. So it is economic fiction, and yes it is disturbing that nearly half of Scots appear not to get that," he argued.

- By CNBC's Catherine Boyle