Little Charlie Gard will die. That is now accepted by his parents, though they still seem to be convinced that treatment in the US would have saved him. UK medical experts strongly believe that recovery was never a possibility.

Hope, even hopeless hope, can carry people through the worst of times. I feel for Connie Yates and Chris Gard. As do countless others around the world. But seeing this tragedy floodlit and played out everyday is now creating widespread unease. Some of the early goodwill has started to turn sour.

Who has been advising Connie Yates and Chris Gard? Did no one tell them that too much exposure would make them vulnerable to people trying to exploit the tragedy? I have heard people on busses and in cafes making cruel judgements about the case. Maybe one can never stop such heartless talk or indeed internet invective, but this situation should not have been allowed to spiral out of control.

Their poor baby has become a mascot for some of the most politically regressive people and causes.

Raheem Kassam, a close ally of Nigel Farage and now UK editor of the hard-right Breitbart, spoke about Charlie Gard during a phone-in on an American television show he was presenting.

"This story is relevant, ladies and gentlemen, because if the Democrats had their way, you would have socialised single-payer healthcare like the National Health Service," Kassam said. "That's why we had to bring you this story, in addition to it being such an emotional and important thing that Charlie gets to live."

Like other right-wingers, Kassam is using this crisis to attack one of the best children's hospitals in the world and, by extension, the NHS, recently judged to be the best health service in the developed world by Washington's Commonwealth Fund thinktank. (The US, which spends more than any other nation on healthcare, came bottom).

American conservatives have also fired volleys at Great Ormond Street Hospital (Gosh) and British health provision. US companies have already sneaked into NHS hospitals where they provide care for private patients. They see the NHS as a gold mine waiting to be mined. President Trump, who was so keen to help, must have been counting the dollars already

Doctors, nurses and specialists at Gosh have been trying to provide appropriate and sensitive care to Charlie. It has not been easy for them. At times relationships were strained between them and the parents. Some of our tabloids and online crazies picked up this scent and went wild.

charlie gard
Chris Gard and Connie Yates speak to the media following their decision to end their legal challenge to take their baby son, Charlie, to the US for experimental treatment Getty

The Gosh staff were cast as occultists in hospital sacrificing a tiny baby. Death threats inevitably followed and Charlie's parents came out to defend the hospital staff. One young nurse who works there told me: "We felt hated, frightened. We do our best, you know. We really care. How could we do the job if we didn't care about the little, hurting patients?"

The judge had a hard time too. Here was a wise man who was trying to come up with the right legal decisions in what must have been some of the most complicated of court hearings. That was not good enough. Each time he gave his judgement, populist rage flared up.

Charlie's mum and dad were lured into thinking there was a cure for him in the US. We now know that Michio Hirano, a respected neurologist who was to be Charlie's miracle provider, had not seen the baby's most recent medical records, and was accused by Gosh of having a financial interest in the treatment he was proposing, though he denies this.

So strong was their will to keep Charlie alive, they were willing to try anything. Parenting, we know, brings forth compulsive, intense, uncontrollable love. The two of them should have been safeguarded from false promises.

Let's come now to Christian fundamentalists for whom Charlie is almost a divine gift, a modern day icon. They have used him to push their pro-life message. A child or adult, however severely impaired, must be kept alive. (They seem not to care this much about kids who are starving, wounded, or killed in wars).

The Pope has stepped in. The image of the poor boy lying there, eyes closed, with tubes to feed and ventilate his little body, is now as evocative as baby Christ, come down to save the world. They stand outside the courts, shout, weep, and pray. I saw this with my own eyes. It was bizarre and highly disturbing. I asked a woman with a rosary what she wanted. She wanted Charlie "not to be killed".

Have we come to this? What happened to rationality? Other parents had terminally ill children in Gosh. I wonder how they have felt as time went on and matters remained unresolved.

As I write this, further disputes are being settled in private sessions in court. This story now needs closure, a dignified end. All those involved have done their best and gone through various agonies. I hope now the grieving parents can say goodbye to their beloved child and let go.