"I don't accept that the Tory brand has been detoxified at all. It is a media thing", says Campbell.
"So what is the reason for their advantage in the polls then", interjects Ben Brandzel.
"Given how long we have been in power, given the state of the economy, I would not be that cocky if I was 10 to 12 points ahead in the poll", says Campbell. "I would want to be a lot further ahead than that".
"What has happened is that they have successfully presented a communications strategy that, because our media is so bovine and supine, and want to give them a fair shot, it is being taken up in the media as equivalent to the modernisation we undertook in the 1990s. And it is nothing like that".
The Conservative Party will struggle when the campaigning heat is on, because it simply has not decided what its instincts and messages are going to be, he said, saying that the taxation row was symptomatic of this.
"I think what happened today is that I don't think Ken Clarke just didn't know where their instincts are meant to be at the moment. Put under real pressure, they will make real mistakes because they do not know what they are meant to say and think at the moment".
"People always always say they don't like negative campaigning, blah, blah, blah. But you have got to give an account of your opponent's weaknesses", says Campbell.
Will Straw agrees with this: "You have to remember that Obama spent more money on negative campaigning than any candidate in US political history. He also did more positive campaigning than that. But you have to define your opponents", citing Obama's definition of McCain over Iraq and the economy.
Brandzel: "From a mobilisation point of view, being on the attack is incredibly important. I would also say that you don't only have to be against the other party. It can be about taking down the opponents of the general welfare, which is what governments should be for".
Lammy: "I think that is what we call the forces of conservatism".
"A very fine speech", says Campbell.