Researchers at the Association for Saying the Bleedin’ Obvious (A.S.B.O.) have conclusively proved that “I’m not a racist, but.” is the commonest prelude to making a racist remark.

Researchers have spent many hours in pubs up and down the land to collect their data. Thousands of pints of snakebite have been downed in the name of science. Some went the extra mile and landed up in hospital with alcohol poisoning and were gently nursed back to relative sanity by nurses of African and Indian heritage.

Antisocial colleagues have been trawling forums on ‘patriotic’ facebook sites and discovering gems like “im not rasist but the f****** mooslams shud adapt too are BRITTISH way of lif and if thy don’t like it they shud go bac were they came from”. Indeed, not one instance was found of a non-racist comment following “I’m not a racist, but.”

ASBO revealed that similar conclusions can be drawn from the statements “I’m not homophobic, but.” and “I’m not a moronic knuckledragging germsandwich, but.”

Variations on the theme include concluding comments with “I just say it as it is”, or “Just saying”. These remarks conclude a proudly offensive comment in 99% of cases, ASBO concluded. The other 1% is believed to be the occasions on which the researcher was buying another snakebite and missed the start of the conversation.

I’m not racist, but the University of Life is holding free tertiary education courses in a pub near you. Buy your own overpriced lager, swallow your pride and you will soon be able to slag off anyone who isn’t like you. Just saying.