A Pudsey Bear Trap


Pudsy Bear

In America, it seems there are two types of people that want odd, legally-recognized names: convicts and Nazi-sympathizers.

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.

Senior Editor Jacob Sullum has more on little Hitler's situation. The child's parents, Heath and Debra Campbell, met with a judge to try and regain custody of their own children last month.