Poster advertising the South London Palace music hall
The song was introduced into MacDermott's repertoire around the time Lord Beaconsfield sent a British fleet into Turkish waters as a buffer against Russian advances. Its lyrics were used in the press both in support of Beaconsfield and against him. In particular, it popularised the modern sense of the word "jingoism", meaning an aggressive attitude towards foreign powers. While the song was a huge coup for MacDermott, in the long term it probably harmed his career: many music hall managers were reluctant to employ him because of his inflammatory effect on audiences and public opinion.