AND they’re off. We’re still eight months out from next year’s Holyrood elections, but the SNP have already launched their campaign, with messages of hope, words of caution and an emphatic warning to David Cameron.

Nicola Sturgeon spoke of what had already been achieved – lower crime rates, free prescriptions and higher employment – as she made it clear her sights are set on another SNP majority.

Most polls indicate a decisive victory, but the First Minister is taking nothing for granted. She has assembled a strong campaign team, directed by her deputy John Swinney, and with Stewart Hosie, the deputy party leader, responsible for overseeing development of the manifesto.

This is the first time that teenagers aged 16 and 17 will be able to vote in a parliamentary election and, recognising this group’s importance, Sturgeon has put Mhairi Black – the UK’s youngest MP – in charge of mobilising the teenagers. Not that they will need much encouragement if their response to the referendum is anything to go by.

But, as we said, Sturgeon is taking nothing for granted, and she is wise to make sure that her line-up is as strong as it can be.

At the same time, she reminded her party that there are no shortcuts to independence – and that they were yet to convince a majority of Scots it was in Scotland’s best interests. This was aimed at those new members of her party whose thirst for change might demand an immediate re-run of last year’s vote.

But understanding why people voted No last year is vital if we – and this newspaper tries to do its part – are to persuade them that what Better Together told them last year was just scare stories and lies.

And we have no doubt that the Unionist side will come up with even more untruths when we go again.

Sturgeon was right to tell Cameron yesterday that he is living on borrowed time.

The clock is ticking – by the time he realises Scotland wants more, it may already be too late.

Sturgeon tells MPs and MSPs: We have delivered – now make it clear to voters

Interview: Saltire-waving sisters believe the time is right for indyref2

Letters to The National, September 19: Making sure hope has a solid basis

Creating art out of the indyref

Thousands set to join independence rally a year since indyref1