Time and Politics is the first cultural and transnational history of modern procedural reform in the Westminster parliamentary system. The study centres on the nineteenth-century emergence of a desire to modernise and make more efficient the procedural rules of parliamentary law-making. Contrary to existing interpretations, which see this as a product of transformations in political structure and practice, this volume demonstrates how the evolution of Parliament's rules was structured by transformations within the wider culture of time. Ryan Vieira argues that the spread of an increasingly rigorous time discipline in concert with a growing consciousness of being modern worked to progressively erode the legitimacy of the historically developed rules of parliamentary debate and law-making, while simultaneously implanting new ways of judging the effectiveness of parliamentary institutions. By the 1880s, this process had transformed efficiency into the ultimate criteria of parliamentary effectiveness. Using the conceptual framework of the British world, Time and Politics demonstrates how this new understanding of parliamentary effectiveness was exported to the colonies of settlement through a series of communicative networks and provided colonial parliamentarians with the ability to imagine the inefficiencies of their own legislatures as part of a larger transnational problem. In making these arguments, this volume lays the groundwork for a new type of parliamentary history.
Ryan Viera holds a PhD in modern British history from McMaster University and, between 2012 and 2014, was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. He has published articles on Victorian and Edwardian political culture in History and Theory, the Journal of Liberal History, and History Compass. Prior to his academic career, he worked in the Canadian House of Commons as a legislative research assistant for Derek Lee, MP, who chaired the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.