De Gruchy the Red, Paris 1968

In the second episode of the Diary's blockbusting mini-series Nigel, we discover the NASUWT chief's dark revolutionary past.

Last week we reported that Mr de Gruchy, who is leaving his job, had cheekily suggested that he might become an "industrial action consultant" to the headteachers' unions. Now it emerges he has been flirting with a return to teaching telling sixth-formers of his part in the 1968 Paris riots.

French students at Waddesdon C of E school in Aylesbury heard how an uncelebrated student leader, Nigel "Le Rouge" de Gruchy, was a freelance English tutor and French language student in the city at the time. "Don't tell the French police but I was over there as an illegal immigrant. I was strictly a spectator, but I would often find students appearing behind me throwing stones," he explains. "You had to run fast because the police would just charge you and beat up everyone in the way. I never got caught but I once thought a policeman was shooting at me." Fortunately forthe future of British industrial relations, the policeman was shooting tear gas, not bullets.

It is worth mentioning that the young Nigel was not so swept up in socialist solidarity as to refuse to cross the barricades to take his French exams. "I think we were about the only people that year to sit an exam," he recalls proudly.

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