WRITER James Melville claimed to have won praise for his Twitter feed at a Fife butcher today – so we decided to call more than a dozen butchers in the region to see what they actually had to say about him.

The freelance journalist, who has come under fire for his questionable claims about Covid-19 and friendship with the likes of arch-Unionist Neil Oliver, created an instant meme this afternoon as he claimed a local butcher told him his work is “amazing”.

Melville wrote: "Just popped into a local butcher’s shop in Fife. And the butcher said, 'are you James Melville from Twitter? I love your feed. What you are doing is amazing. Keep going.'

"This sort of thing is happening a lot now. It’s both discombobulating and heartening in equal measure."

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We had a simple question for the butchers: "Do you know who James Melville is?"

The first one we called, Marzipans Meats in Tayport, responded: "If I know who?" adding: "Nah, couldn't tell you."

Another nearby said: "I'm not too sure to be honest", while a member of staff at Leuchars Butchers said: "Sorry, I don't know James Melville".

One in east Fife said: "I don't think I do" and another in the area when asked if they knew who he was said: "Nah, not here".

Another shop we phoned said: "I don't recognise the name James Melville. Don't know him."

A member of staff at Fife Butchers confirmed they had never heard of Melville either.

And then a staff member at Alex Mitchell Butchers said: "Sorry, I can't help you, I've never heard of him."

Meanwhile, a butcher in mid-Fife replied: "No, he's not been in this shop" and another said: "I am not sure who you're talking about. What has he done? Is this chap an MP or MSP?"

After having the situation explained, they said: "I don't know the person".

By the time we contacted the 10th store it was clear none had heard of Melville at all.

The writer's tweet, which has attracted nearly 5000 likes, also saw widespread mockery, with some alleging the comments were made up.

One joked that the conversation may have gone something more like this: "Actual transcript: JM: Hi, I'm James Melville, you may know me from such social media as Twitter & MySpace

"Butcher: Eh?

"JM: I know it can be daunting meeting your heroes

"B: We sell meat. What do you want?

"JM: Yes, we're on the right side of history.

"B: You going to buy anything?"


One user replied: "And then the sausages sprang to life, raised themselves from the counter and began applauding."

While another added: "This is class, I hardly ever remember my dreams after I wake up."

Melville has been a fierce opponent of vaccine passports, suggesting they are "coercive control" and denouncing them as "illiberal and authoritarian".

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He has also been vocal in his critique on coronavirus lockdowns – suggesting that "draconian authoritarian measures are the antithesis of liberalism".

He has previously been corrected by fact-checking charity Full Fact over a tweet he published that received more than 5000 likes – and has not since been deleted –that fewer people had died from Covid-19 in a 40-day period than one day of cancer deaths.

But Melville is standing by his comments, tweeting: "It is absolutely hilarious that so many people are even the slightest bit interested in me getting a rather sweet compliment from a butcher. Each to their own, I suppose."

Melville has been contacted for comment.