Red rag to a bull

18.10.35: THE REAL FOOD Movement (RFM) has won the right to build a village on a Fenland site in Cambridgeshire.

The go-ahead for the village, to be named New Horseway, follows a prolonged battle with the East of England Regional Planning Network.

The RFM, also known as Peeceeniks, after its members' fondness for old-style PCs, is calling for the adoption of a number of civil liberties, including the right to put up homes in traditional styles, to raise organic food and to live outside the information Web.

At first glance their aims seem unremarkable. Most people still live in historic housing stock, much of it more than 150 years old, and new enclaves in zoned Heritage areas are often built in retro styles.

Refugees from the Web are uncommon but by no means unheard of, and there is a vocal cultural lobby ready to argue - as the Peeceeniks themselves do - for a return to the values of late 20th-century video. Many people now grow their own fruit and vegetables.

What makes the RFM different is its insistence that people should be free to live how and where they like, subject only to water and pollution controls. They say public authorities should not interfere in matters of taste, and they have no legitimate interest in what people do with their own land and property.

"The planning network may think they've satisfied us," said RFM's director of communications, Phillip Round. "But we'll fight on for the rights of everyone."

For the RFM, the food issue is crucial. "Some people think they can win by calling us cranks," said Round. "But just consider the facts. People talk about organic vegetables, but it means nothing. Organics died 25 years ago, after the Fruit and Vegetables (Genetic Origins) Act, which banned the sale or sowing of any variety not genetically modified to a European standard."

In common with most health lobbyists, the RFM believes that the only source of healthy, natural food in the early years of the 21st century is red meat.

"The French have shown us the way," added Round. "They said oui to every new regulation, then carried on exactly as before." RG