SHROPSHIRE. When people start a sentence with “I’m not racist, but…”, they generally tend to follow it up with something a little bit racist, it was revealed today.

“It stands to reason, when you think about it”, explained Dr. Nero Sparboom, Professor of Linguistics at Shropshire, who has spent the last ten years studying what people say right after they say I’m not racist, but. “You don’t often hear people say ‘I’m not racist, but I’m just off to the shops to get a pint of milk’. There’s really no need to qualify your lack of racism there. Compare that with ‘I’m not racist, but the bloody foreigners are ruining this country’ – clearly a more appropriate use of the phrase, as it helps to deflect the subsequent casual racism.”

The new research will certainly be a blow to casual racists across the country, who had until now been successfully disguising their intolerant xenophonic opinions with the simple four word phrase. “It’s getting harder to be a little bit racist without anyone noticing”, said Bob, 48, a simple minded bigot from Surrey. “I’m thinking of starting more sentences with ‘you people’ or ‘the trouble with this country is’ instead.”