David and Ed Miliband at a news conference earlier today, disagreeing with each other on Trident, and whether they should hold to a pre-election manifesto commitment and keep it….

At the end we got a high-five, a clasping of hands and a brotherly hug. It made me wonder what would have happened if my brother and I had stood for the same office. Would we have shown such brotherly love? I guess we might have. (Needs a second opinion this one.)

It reminded me of two stories from Thomas Merton’s Wisdom of the Desert Fathers. One very virtuous abbot was at the same time very human: he couldn’t get over his anger with his brother. Another couldn’t get angry with anyone, let alone his brother, and felt that he had to, otherwise his faith and his sanctity couldn’t be tested. He tried to get angry, and he failed.

I think in this case the Milibands got it right, and it was in a curious way good to see. This is probably the first and last time they’ll be compared to the desert fathers. They should be grateful!

 Cameron and Clegg act like new-found brothers of course. We have a new breed of brothers.

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