We can safely assume that when the referendum campaign gets underway properly, Labour will revert to their familiar comfort zone of fear-mongering. But for the time being, Ed Miliband is experimenting with some rather more high-minded rhetoric about Scotland and the rest of the UK standing together to achieve social justice. Well, that would be simply marvellous, Ed, but for one small problem - it doesn't actually work. The last authentically left-of-centre government at UK level was the Callaghan government in 1979. Since then, Labour have only succeeded in winning elections by having a leader who brazenly claimed that the rising wealth gap between the rich and the poor didn't matter. With every other Labour leader, it's been Tory victories all the way. Why else do Miliband and Balls feel compelled to tack right at present?
In reality, independence would be a boon for progressive politics both at home and further afield, for the following reasons -
1) A progressive government in Scotland would take control of the welfare and tax systems.
2) This huge advance would happen while making a negligible impact on the chances of what might laughably be called "progressive forces" gaining power in the rest of the UK. Contrary to the mythology, Labour would have secured nearly all of their post-war election victories with or without Scotland. The outcomes of the 1997, 2001 and 2005 elections would have been the same.
3) Scotland's direct votes in the European Union institutions would mean that the progressive voting bloc would increase, and the conservative voting bloc (of which the UK has been a loyal part under both Tory and New Labour governments alike) would slightly decrease. This would be of benefit to under-privileged people in Liverpool or London (or Lisbon for that matter) every bit as much as to under-privileged people in Glasgow.
4) The overseas aid contribution of what is currently the UK would probably increase, due to the likelihood of a higher per capita aid budget being put in place by an independent Scottish government.
The latter point is especially important, because by praying in aid the need for social justice but only within this small island, Miliband betrays the narrowness of his own British nationalism. If he thinks that you can only be called progressive if you believe in North Sea oil revenues being shared across Britain (where of course its main effect has been to bankroll Thatcherism), how exactly can you be called a progressive if you don't support North Sea oil revenues being shared across Europe, or indeed the entire world? His argument can only have any credibility if he ditches his British nationalism and supports a single European or world state - which unsurprisingly he shows no sign of doing.
In a world of nation states, lines are drawn around people who say "these are our own resources, which we primarily use to benefit our own country". Alex Salmond, Ed Miliband and David Cameron all believe in that world. The philosophy is identical - except of course that Alex Salmond believes in a much fairer distribution of income at home, and a much more generous engagement with the wider world. As the great R B Cunninghame Graham (the UK's first socialist member of parliament and a founding member of the SNP) once said : "without nationalism, there can be no internationalism". I'd go one step further, and say that without progressive nationalism, there can be no progressive internationalism. It's a fundamental building-block - but unfortunately the British nationalism exhibited by the unionist parties at present is broadly regressive in nature.
The alternative is obvious.