Suppose I call someone a beige bastard – does that make me some kind of skin-colour racist? And which is the most objectionable word, beige or bastard – or is it the phrase? I know which ought to be the most objectionable word, but is it?
How about pale bastard, or buff bastard? How about sable bastard – is that racist intent with uncommon wording? Or would too many have to look up the word sable?
Actually it’s not the word bastard, but the context isn’t it? The context – ie the target of the insult can be officially offensive or not - it depends. The word bastard hardly matters out of context, because who cares about bastards these days?
I suppose if I call someone a Nick Clegg, it’s an acceptable insult whatever the racial situation. Vicious but acceptable.