THE biggest information leak in the history of journalism has exposed the UK’s complicity in the greatest injustice of the 21st century. Hyperbole? No. Just facts.

The scale of the data within the Panama Papers is beyond any previous media investigation. More than 11 million documents contain shocking details of the illegal, evasive and immoral offshore secrecy industry. The UK, and its nefarious overseas territories, are responsible for more than half of the 215,000 firms identified to have used shadowy law and business group Mossack Fonseca.

One account, of Blairmore Holdings Incorporated, identifies Prime Minister David Cameron’s father as a tax-haven beneficiary over three decades. Six members of the House of Lords are named. Up to 500 banks are complicit (especially UK-based HSBC and Coutts, formally owned by RBS). The Icelandic prime minister, who hid his offshore firm from the electorate, is facing demands he resign. Star footballers are named, 29 billionaires and dozens of global leaders. Firms used the tax haven from almost every nation on earth.

The fact that the top 0.1 per cent (the super-rich and top corporations) evade tax and undermine the rule of law on an industrial scale is unsurprising. For many these revelations – which link the Panama tax haven to money laundering, war crimes in Syria, human trafficking, destruction of aid services in poor countries and more – reaffirm previous investigations.

Just over a year ago, the Swiss subsidiary of London-based bank HSBC was found to be helping 100,000 of the world’s richest individuals avoid or evade tax. Global criminal investigations and verdicts followed – although not in the UK, where political elites guard the lucrative and corrupt banking sector.

Soon this Panama scandal will be rumbling through courtrooms. The same complex legal, financial, political conspiracy that created the tax-haven scam will aim for smooth settlements so that the economic status quo may endure.

According to the Tax Justice Network, there is at least £13 trillion (equal to the entire American economy) stashed in tax havens. That’s a large financial incentive to grease the wheels of a two-tier justice system.

What happens next depends on public demand and the ability of the billions injured by this system to organise. In Scotland this isn’t new. Since last July campaigners challenged the Scottish Government’s climbdown on tax haven land ownership. After pressure, a transparency register was promised – albeit not the full tax-haven ban many desired.

We revealed just two weeks ago that Scotland’s largest aristocratic landowner, the Duke of Buccleuch, was using a tax haven to buy and control land. Any serious Scottish Government should target the 750,000 acres in havens with a land tax to ensure the super-rich exploiting assets here can do so no longer. It is the very least we can do.

Yet banking, asset management and corporate secrecy are the real big players in the tax-haven industry. Reforming that system requires concerted Scottish, UK, European and global action.

A start would be for UK authorities to launch legal investigations into all major banks where there is evidence of illegality related to tax havens; shut down the offshore secrecy and tax avoidance systems in UK territories and dependencies; and overhaul the tax system to end subsidies and loopholes for giant corporations over small and medium-sized businesses.

In this country we have become too accustomed to accepting small mercies from the gods of avarice and greed that stomp over the political landscape.

Do I expect the Tories, themselves most compromised with links to dirty money and corrupt finance, to act? No. But I hope for the sake of our own collective dignity that it’s clear we’re unwilling to put up with this system for much longer.

It matters in Scotland for whatever future it may have. Can we chastise the dirty linen of the City of London from a northern moral pedestal?

Independence is no panacea if it is built from the same deference that dominates politics and finance today. Look north. As I type thousands are gathering outside the parliament of Iceland, aiming through protest to topple their government for its tax-haven links.

After the banking crash, their “pots-and-pans” revolution brought hopes of political change. Yet that enlivened citizenry faded. The ancien regime returned. And today, alongside the great majority of nations on earth linked to this scandal, the question is what next?

Already a Reykjavik protestor has thrown a pot of yoghurt at the parliament. A Parisian journalist, naturally an expert in rebellion, responded: “La révolution du yaourt a commencé.” Now there’s something to add to your next shopping list.

Michael Gray @GrayInGlasgow is a journalist with