Across the pond in England, the name changers are attractive mothers who raise nearly $6,000 for the charity Children in Need. At least there is one similarity with the case of Nazi-sympathizers: ridiculous government interference.
Eileen De Bont legally changed her name to "Pudsey Bear," the mascot for Children in Need (picture → →). The U.K.'s Identity and Passport Service (IPS), however, denied Pudsey a new passport, saying in a letter:
[Pudsey Bear] is deemed to be a frivolous change of name, which would bring IPS into disrepute...IPS is not... prepared to issue a passport in a frivolous name which could compromise our mission statement 'safeguarding your identity'.
When it comes to safeguarding Britons' identities, the government may be overzealous. It did, for instance, consider creating a database to store all Internet and phone traffic. Of course, that doesn't mean your identity is particularly safe: identity and personal information have recently vanished, been misplaced, gone missing, or been lost.
The British passport authority's worries about its reputation could cause Mrs. Bear a lot of trouble:
They say they will only issue me with one in the name of Eileen De Bont, but that is not my name. I do not have any documents with that name on now...If I get a passport in the name of Eileen I am going to have trouble checking into hotels, hiring cars and even changing money.
Sez the Daily Telegraph:
Her bank card now reads ‘Mrs P Bear', and her driving licence ‘Mrs Pudsey Bear'. She is addressed as ‘Ms Pudsey Bear' on her council tax statements, and the Inland Revenue lists her as ‘Mrs Pudsey Bear'.
In a final bit of irony: The Children in Need charity is run by the BBC, a public station funded by the same government that won't acknowledge Mrs. Bear's name change.