Call me mad if you will, (You’re mad: Ed.) but I have this half-baked theory that, due to some aspect of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, each of us regularly slips into a different alternate universe that is completely identical to the one we left, but for a tiny, almost unnoticeable but very real, difference.

That’s the only explanation I can think of for yesterday morning’s newspapers. I went to bed in a universe in which Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership was damaged, but not terminal, and awoke in one in which he was about to be deposed by “senior Liberals”, “within days”.

In the universe I left, Turnbull had erred badly last week, faced questions about his judgement, and had an uphill task to regain the position he held prior to the affair of the faked email. In this one he was dead meat, as though Kevin Rudd had been made God and was making up whatever reality he liked.

And in the universe I left, Tony Abbott had no credibility. In that universe, Abbott had spent 18 months sooking about not getting a portfolio more suited to his genius than Family, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, and shooting his mouth off about whatever entered his head, earning him a “rentaquote” reputation with his senior colleagues.

But he does a week’s interviews in place of Christopher Pyne and suddenly that’s forgotten?

At least Abbott has plenty of gall, claiming his leader had been subject to a “firestorm of smear” when it was the Coalition that alleged the Prime Minister, Treasurer and upper echelons of the Public Service were corrupt or lying.

But perhaps you can see why I think I’m in a bad episode of Star Trek. Because it suddenly happened again overnight. This morning I had shifted again, this time to a universe where Turnbull was not about to be deposed at all, but was perfectly secure for the time being and considering a reshuffle.

Spooky stuff.

Then again there may be more rational explanations for this than my Heisenberg theory. The Australian, periodically, and via Dennis Shanahan, appears to have it in for Malcolm Turnbull. Last year it was the Peter Costello boomlet. This week it was Turnbull’s imminent demise because of poor polling. Even today, after Turnbull had made a Jeff Goldblum-style recovery in the pages of the national broadsheet, its editorial was slamming him.

Interestingly, it has only come since Shanahan returned to work last week.

It doesn’t entirely make sense, admittedly. Turnbull led the republican cause, and if there is one cause which The Oz embraced more than John Howard’s Government, it was — ironically — the republic. But Turnbull’s moderate views in other areas are the problem, one suspects, and in particular his outlandish belief that human activity is responsible for global warming — a phenomenon that News Ltd newspapers are once again disputing, in the manner of flat earthers who keep pointing to the horizon and noting it is a straight line.

Turnbull is going nowhere, for the simple reason that whoever replaces him will be demonstrably inferior and will be for some time to come. The harsh logic that you can’t get rid of a leader unless you have a better or equal one to put in their stead is not lost on Liberal MPs. If anything, their predicament should accelerate the process of removing the party’s dead wood, freeing up the seats of Mackellar, Berowra, whatever Macarthur becomes, Canning, Fisher, O’Connor and Hughes to bring in a new generation of talent. Dumping Turnbull will only continue this destructive delusion that they have a serious chance of making Rudd a one-term Prime Minister, when they should be planning for the long-term and aiming not to lose seats in 2010, an outcome that will doom them to at least three terms on the Opposition benches.

The only reason Turnbull will stop being leader is if the AFP discovers he had a role in the faked email, and that is out of anyone’s hands except the coppers’.

Without leadership speculation, thus, we’ll have to make do with reshuffle speculation, brought about by the presumably critical loss of Chris Pearce. But quite why Turnbull should reshuffle now is a puzzle. Reshuffles create winners and losers, and the last thing this leader needs right now are more divisions in his ranks. Turnbull could do worse than listen to Christopher Pyne, who fortuitously was away last week, and let things settle for a bit.